Dance teacher Catherine Willis is organizing the dance offerings at this weekend's grand opening celebration. (Chip Scheuer)
Catherine Willis’ eyes light up when she talks about the dance performances she has planned for the June 1 grand opening of the Tannery Arts Center’s Digital Media and Creative Arts Center on River Street.
“We’ll have Haitian dance, Mexican folkloric dance, Bollywood dance, contemporary, even tango,” says Willis, the co-founder of the nonprofit Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center and a longtime dance teacher who joined the Tannery in February.
Dancers won’t be the only artists on display at the two-day celebration, says Rachel Goodman, the Tannery’s new executive director. Twenty-six visual artists will open their studios, which are part of the new center, to the public, discussing their work, demonstrating their techniques and even helping kids complete a scavenger hunt that will end in the creation of a massive mosaic.
And, of course, there will be a giant party starting on First Friday and continuing Saturday, with live music by bands including the Juncos, Tether Horse and the Santa Cruz Youth Symphony Quartet, plus libations and a performing arts showcase.
“The feeling of excitement is palpable,” Goodman says. For good reason: The opening is a milestone for the Tannery, the realization of “Phase 2” of its vision to create a campus where artists can live and work and share their work with the public. (Phase 1, which focused on building and renting 100 on-site affordable housing units for artists and their families, was completed in 2009.)