At first glance the Montalvo Arts Center looks like a museum; a beautiful and historic Mediterranean-style villa features exhibitions of work by local and regional artists, and works of sculpture are displayed throughout the estate. However, the Center does much more, featuring a number of live music series (from chamber music to popular music and jazz), dance and theater performances, lectures and symposia on all artistic disciplines, and numerous festivals and special events.
Now in its eighth decade of existence, the Center has become a treasured California cultural landmark. Originally known as Villa Montalvo, the property was bequeathed to the state of California by its owner Senator James Duval Phelan (California’s first elected senator, who built the property in 1912), as a site for the advancement of the fine arts. In the early 1950s, as the Center’s future was threatened, the Montalvo Association, established by concerned community members, assumed trusteeship.
IEducation plays a central role at the Center, including an artist residency program that began in the early years of the Center. A variety of classes and workshops are available to community members of all ages, as well as arts camps, family events, presentations and more. In 2002 a professional development program was established to provide arts education resources to regional educators; the Center also partners with local schools to provide much needed arts exposure to underserved area students.
Montalvo Arts Center Information
- Public Transportation: Poor
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Approximately 70 events annually, including concerts, dance performances, and community-oriented arts events
- Ticket Prices: Varies widely (free-$275) depending on event; discounts available for some events for students and members (see below)
- Subscriptions/Membership: Subscriptions available for some concert series (discount with purchase of 3 or more concerts within a series). Individual membership is $60 ($100 family); benefits include members-only events, priority seating at Montalvo events and complimentary tours of the Center. Further benefits are available with higher levels of giving.