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One more CalPERS retirement workshop will be available this summer on campus in the Barrett Athletic Center second floor conference room.

The final of the three summertime workshops will be held Tuesday, Aug. 5, from 1:30-4 p.m.

All CalPERS members are welcome to attend and the workshop is highly recommended for employees who have at least five years of CalPERS service credit and are age 50-plus.

Presented by a CalPERS retirement specialist, the workshop will cover the retirement process, retirement calculation, service credit, survivor continuance and the application process.

Due to limited seating, this workshop is offered to university employees with a minimum of five years of CalPERS service credit.

To attend the workshop, contact Benefits Services at benefits@csulb.edu or 562/985-2381.

Begin the new academic year with colleagues from campus at the 2014 Annual Convocation on Friday, Aug. 22, at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center.

All faculty and staff are invited to the breakfast reception in the Dance Courtyard from 8 to 8:45 a.m. with the program beginning at 9 a.m. Immediately following convocation, there will be a reception for new CSULB President Jane Close Conoley on the Carpenter Center Terrace.

If you require special accommodations, please contact Disabled Student Services at 562/985-5401.

Chi-Ah Chun, Psychology, has been named the director of the CSU Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program. Chun will split her time between psychology department on campus and the Chancellor’s office.

Kirstyn Chun, Counseling and Psychological Services, chaired a symposium presentation titled “The Intersection of Multiple Identities and Mental Illness on Campus: Race, Culture, Religion and Sexual Orientation as Compounding Sources of Stigma” and participated in a symposium presentation titled “Even Kansas isn’t Kansas Anymore: Cultural Competence in the Assessment and Treatment of Campus Mental Illness” at the USC Gould School of Law and Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy and Ethics, March 12-13.

Martin Fiebert, Psychology was the keynote speaker at the first Toronto Domestic Violence Symposium in Canada, June 6-7. His presentation was titled “Men as Victims: The History, The Science, The Heroes and the Future.”

Ingrid Martin, Marketing, presented her research titled “Moving from Consumption to Addiction: A Theoretical Perspective on the Impact of Marketing Cues” co-authored with Michael Kamins and Dante Pirouz. This research was presented at the Marketing and Public Policy Conference in Boston on June 6. Martin also presented a second paper titled “The Role of New Information Sources during the Disaster Cycle” co-authored with Wade E. Martin and David W. Horne at the same conference. Martin and Carina Sass, Center for Community Engagement, were invited by the Chancellor’s Office and Vice Chancellor San Juan to present to the Board of Trustees and Lt. Governor Newsom on May 20, where they discussed the impact that the SMBA’s focus on sustainability has had on community partners. The Board of Trustees passed an amendment to the Initiative on Sustainability to support the integration of sustainability throughout the curriculum in the CSU system.

Terry Witkowski, Marketing, presented “Mythical Moments in Remington Brand History” at the Myth and the Market Conference held in Carlingford, Ireland, June 19-21. He then presented “Consumer Culture Historiography: Lessons from the Work of Russell W. Belk” at the Consumer Culture Theory Conference held at Aalto University, Helsinki, June 26-29. While in Finland, he presented “The Macromarketing Field and Its Journal” at the Hanken School of Economics. Versions of this last presentation were also given at Saitama University, Tokyo Station Campus, May 24, and Meiji University, Surugadai Campus, May 26.

Caring Across Generations: The Linked Lives of Korean-American Families

Barbara Kim, Professor, Asian and Asian American Studies

Published this year by New York University Press, the 256-page Caring Across Generations by Kim and co-author Grace Yoo of San Francisco State University explores how earlier experiences helping immigrant parents navigate American society have prepared Korean-American adult children for negotiating cultural practices their parents may expect them to adhere to. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 137 second- and 1.5-generation Korean Americans who have come of age in the U.S., Kim studied their childhood experiences and their provision of care for ill and aging parents. A study of the intersection between immigration and aging, Caring Across Generations provides a new look at the linked lives of immigrant families at a life stage underexplored in the literature. “We were interested in how the Asian American community deals with aging as the first cohorts of those who arrived in large numbers after 1965 are entering old age,” explained Kim, a member of the university since 2001. “Even as millions of baby boomers turn 65, there has been little attention paid to baby boomer immigrants. What happens to the children’s desire or expectations to take care of parents? What types of institutional support are available for them if Asian Americans and the broader American society believe that Asian-American families ‘take care of their own’? Our goal was to study the intersection of race, immigration, culture and aging.” Yoo and Kim open the book with a discussion of the participants’ relationship with their parents growing up and the different types of work, such as cultural and language brokering, than they did as children of immigrants. The authors look at the different ways children of immigrants try to give back to their parents. “When they see their parents struggle economically and socially, they realize this is how they can replay them,” said Kim. “It is a form of tangible and emotional labor.” The study also explores how the second generation re-thinks cultural practices in middle adulthood. “When they are in adolescence and young adulthood, many go through a stage where they and their parents ignore cultural celebrations because they are too busy,” she said of the caretaker generation. “But as the first generation ages and the third generation is born, they revitalize some of those celebrations, such as holidays and milestone birthdays. For example, they plan their 60th and 70th birthdays for their parents. When they have children, they celebrate first birthday parties. We look at how the second generation transmits and redefines cultural life for the third generation, paying attention to the intersections of gender, class and the transnational South Korean influence on the Korean-American community, especially in Los Angeles.” The heart of the study discusses how Korean-American adult children care for their parents, and the ways in which actual caring practices contradict “Korean” values that the respondents were taught about filial obligations and

Author of the Month-Neil Hultgren

culture. For example, most respondents grew up hearing from their parents that it was the eldest son (and the eldest daughter-in-law)’s responsibility to take care of parents in old age. However, in middle adulthood, the daughters tended to provide care coordination and care giving for both in-laws (for married respondents) and parents, and provided greater help for their own parents. The book concludes with a discussion of how daughters and sons deal with illness and passing of their parents. “They find themselves advocating for their parents in the larger health care system,” she said. “They had to be real advocates and sometimes from hundreds of miles away, for their non-white immigrant parents who were often limited English proficient and trying to navigate through this bureaucracy.” Kim feels Caring Across Generations defies the cultural stereotypes of Asian Americans and filial piety, as well as those of Americans who “ignore” their parents. “That is not the case,” she said. “Studies have found that in the U.S., 80 percent of senior care is given by a family member, friend or neighbor across racial and ethnic groups. However, it is the non-white, largely immigrant portion of the aging population that is growing fastest. What programs and policies are focusing on these groups? Taking care of older adults in the U.S. cannot be just a private, cultural matter. That is something we need to focus on.” Kim earned her B.A. in sociology from Pomona College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in 2001 from the University of Michigan.

The Staff Council Special Events Committee is planning a host of activities for CSULB staff during the Staff Days of Summer event, Monday-Thursday, Aug. 4-7.

Staff can take part in a scavenger hunt, staff talent show and games night at the University Student Union. Additionally, Staff Day on Aug. 6 will feature a luncheon, vendor booths, gift drawing and rummage sale at the lawn and Speaker’s Platform area in front of the University Bookstore.

For more information, e-mail Charleen Rice, or Harvey Hunt or visit the Staff Days of Summer website.

CSULB College of Engineering Dean Forouzan Golshani was appointed recently to advise the Assembly Select Committee on Aerospace chaired by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance).

“I am pleased to have Dr. Forouzan Golshani join the Aerospace Advisory Council. He brings a wealth of knowledge as Dean of the College of Engineering at California State University, Long Beach, and I look forward to working with him and the council to support California’s aerospace industry,” said Muratsuchi.

As a member of the aerospace advisory committee, Goshani said he hopes he can help to bridge the gap between academic research and the types of policies enacted by policy makers.

“It’s an honor,” said Golshani. “It’s a great opportunity to offer input into things that matter. I have been specifically cognizant of the divide between technology and policy areas. The more Californians who are aware of technology, the more who will be better able to assess things from a modern technological perspective. I’m particularly pleased to be called upon to be a part of this committee.”

Golshani also believes he can make the biggest contribution to the issue of aerospace manufacturing revival.

“Manufacturing revival has diminished during the past two decades,” he said. “That is very unfortunate because, when you look at what made Southern California what it is, and at the iconic images of Southern California, they were from aerospace. Several things that many people identify Southern California with have their roots in the aerospace sector. We have seen a rapid erosion of this industry in Southern California. Boeing has downsized and Northrop has consolidated. The ability of this state to be the powerhouse of the nation has diminished. I hope we can help maintain this state’s supplier base to the local aerospace industry. That is still a huge advantage for the state’s economy.”

The meetings usually take place in the South Bay area and the next advisory committee meeting is anticipated to be sometime this month. Other committee members represent a wide range of organizations including including well-known aerospace companies like Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.

Advising an Assembly Select Committee will be a new experience for Golshani.

“I have not participated directly to such an extent in the legislative process. Although I’ve been on multiple delegations that traveled to Washington D.C. to talk with members of Congress,” he said. “My interactions with this committee of experts will enable us to align our academic and educational objectives with the state’s highest needs. I don’t see my role as that of an advocate specifically for just the university. The advisory committee must make sound recommendations for all the region. Generally, I see this committee as an advisory committee to bridge the area of technology with the area of setting policy. That is a powerful mix. If there is an opportunity to help engineering colleges at CSUs and UCs, that is an added benefit.”

Golshani works closely with his college’s Dean’s Advisory Council–a group of more than 20 senior executives from the regional high-technology companies. “My work with our local industries has helped to inform me about the special committee’s goal,” he said. “Our advisory council comes together three times a year. We go over what matters to the industry and what affects CSULB and the College of Engineering. That is a great basis for formulating my advice to the members of the California Assembly about technology in general and specifically aerospace technology.”

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PHOTO COURTESY OF FOROUZAN GOLSHANI
Forouzan Golshani

As College of Engineering dean, Golshani has gained a clear perspective on Southern California’s aerospace industry.

“As I study the reasons for the erosion of the aerospace industry in Southern California, a number of factors come to light,” he explained. “Many of these reasons are related to Sacramento directly or indirectly. They include, for example, antiquated laws, including some environmental regulations. Too often, outdated laws remain on the books and they cause confusion and extra work for government and business because compliance becomes a much more difficult task when there is no clarity to the laws.

“In addition, many industries who leave California move to right-to-work states,” he added. “I hope to look at how to create a more level legal playing ground to help businesses stay in California. At the very least, we must work to see that outdated laws are not the reason businesses move out of the state. Another area that would be good to look at are the incentives provided to businesses extensively by other states. It is a matter of calculating dollars and cents to see what tax benefits would be lost if a business that generates employment moved out of the state. There are things I and the rest of the advisory committee can analyze on behalf of the Legislature to inform them about how we might be able to make the state of California more competitive.”

Golshani came to CSULB from London’s Imperial College, Wright State University and Arizona State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the Arya Mehr University of Technology in Iran, his Master of Science degree in engineering systems in 1979 and his Ph.D. in computer science in 1982, both from Warwick University.

Golshani believes his appointment demonstrates the seriousness with which the state considers the aerospace industry.

“The issue of aerospace manufacturing is huge,” he said. “The White House takes it seriously enough to offer a $1.3 billion federal funding to Southern California recently through a research center at USC which will benefit many partnering agencies across the region. Everything indicates this is timely and that it is important for us to be strategizing collectively how we can put this state on the right track.”

When you hear the name Jo Redmon, you automatically think fencing.

A recent gift of $125,000 from Redmon to establish The Jo A. Redmon Endowed Fund for Fencing will now forever link her name to the sport at CSULB.

“Jo Redmon’s generous gift will insure the preservation of the sport of fencing at CSULB,” said Ken Millar, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “We are grateful for Jo’s continuing to support the Department of Kinesiology.”

As a long-time professor and fencing coach at CSULB and now a valued emerita faculty member, Redmon’s love, investment and commitment to the campus’ fencing program was the driving force behind her teams’ success and helped build a firm foundation for the sport at the university for almost half a century. In addition, her tireless efforts played a substantial role in the success of the sport on the West Coast as a whole.

“I have worked at CSULB for 50 years, which has been two-thirds of my life,” said Redmon. “We used to have a terrific varsity program, but it dropped when I retired. Athletics wasn’t going to pay a fencing coach so we dropped to the two classes in the spring and I taught them for another 12 years. I loved doing it, loved the kids, loved the subject matter and loved the activity.

“With all of that in mind, I thought that it would be a good idea to keep the classes going, thus the gift,” she added. “After all this time, it would be a shame for Long Beach to not have fencing. I am blessed that I have the financial security to make the donation and that fencing will continue to be a part of our activity classes.”

The gift was made partially with cash and partially with an irrevocable bequest to achieve Redmon’s goals. The ability to guarantee her gift with assets from her estate will assure that the Department of Kinesiology can hire a qualified instructor each semester.

In recognition of her generous contribution, Redmon became a founding member of the Dean’s Circle, a select group of the College of Health and Human Services’ most generous and loyal supporters. She also will be recognized as a member of campus-wide groups, including the Carillon Society, which recognizes lifetime giving of donors, and the Legacy Society since her gift included a bequest.

After building teams at universities in Illinois and Colorado, Redmon came to CSULB in 1964 and built a fencing tradition by leading the 49ers to 14 first-place finishes at the Intercollegiate Fencing Conference of Southern California Championships. Beginning in 1979 she never failed to qualify at least one fencer for the NCAA National Championships and coached eight All-Americans. In 1984 the 49ers placed 15th and in 1986 placed 9th overall at the NCAA Championships.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES
Jo Redmon

That hard-fought success earned Redmon wide respect and she served for five years on the National NCAA Men’s and Women’s Fencing Committee. She also served as chair in 1981 of the first Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women National Championship Committee. In 1993 the United States Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA) named Redmon Coach of the Year and in 2000 the USFCA honored her with the Lifetime Commitment to the Sport of Fencing Award.

In 2002 the university bestowed its highest athletic honor as Redmon was inducted into the Long Beach State Athletic Hall of Fame in recognition of her successful competitive fencing heritage in the field of intercollegiate athletics. Today, still lecturing on and promoting the sport of fencing, she remains a beloved and respected emerita faculty member who has brought unrivaled accolade to the university for her contributions to the sport.

A new temporary addition to CSULB’s campus commitment to sculpture across the 320-acre campus was celebrated on July 10 near the Walter Pyramid.

MatterApp: Pyramidial (MA:P) is a crowd-sourced space-frame sculpture inspired by the Walter Pyramid and created through a collaboration between the University Art Museum (UAM), the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Materials and Applications and the students in CSULB Design faculty member Heather Barker’s “Environmental Communication Design” course.

“My students gave me extraordinary feedback,” said Barker, a member of the Design Department since 2012. “They wished every class was like that. They began to appreciate the challenges of working with other students in other disciplines. They saw the differences in execution from a painter’s sense or from an industrial designer. They learned it is not as easy to realize a project as they may have thought. They also found the experience of assembling the sculpture to be extremely valuable. The idea of research became more relevant to them. They learned to execute.”

Funded by a National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Design grant, MatterApp: Pyramidial culminated the Spring UAM exhibition, Materials and Applications: Building Something (Beyond) Beautiful, Projects 2002-2012, a capstone to more than 10 years of effort at the Los Angeles-based experimental architecture and design organization to advance new and underused ideas in art, architecture and landscape.

Kristina Newhouse, curator of exhibitions for the University Art Museum, feels the new sculpture represented a commitment to CSULB’s students. She explained, “More than 50 percent of the people who visit this exhibition space are students. If we can get people in their undergraduate experience to partake in the arts, they will take it with them out of the school. They will form a lifelong commitment to the arts. That is one of my goals.”

Newhouse credited cooperation as the key to the crowd-sourced MA:P project, from the students, to the fabrication team, Gossamer Space Frame of Huntington Beach; to input from engineer Mic Patterson, who helped to devise the original space frame for the Walter Pyramid; to the German company, Krinner Ground Screws that provided the sculpture’s anchors free of charge; and to the team from Sacramento-based Eco Foundation Systems who donated their labor to secure the work to the ground using the latest, most innovative and efficient anchoring technology.

The MA:P structure itself is made of mild steel pipe. “Because it is raw steel, it oxidizes,” said Newhouse. “That is the fancy word for ‘rust.’ In the art world, we call that ‘patina.’ It is not a bad thing. It is beautiful. It is a lovely orange brown and looks fantastic.”

The design students’ original goal to clad the structure had to be scrapped due to wind issues. For this reason, the popular street art technique of “yarnbombing” provided a means to temporarily “skin” the piece to both celebrate it and to bring a new audience to it, Newhouse explained. Yarnbombing is a kind of urban graffiti that makes use of crochet and knitting instead of paint. It represents a quiet, little “hands-on” rebellion in the world of graffiti art. The UAM invited the fiber art collective Yarnbombing Los Angeles and the Long Beach Depot for Creative ReUse to join CSULB students and alumni from the Design and Fiber program to transform MA:P into a giant loom, ready for yarnbombing.

“We saw that knitting would take too much time,” she laughed. “It’s actually going to be quite beautiful—woven from reclaimed T-shirt fabric, VHS tape, and glow-in-the-dark nylon parachute cord, among other things. I think everyone is excited.”

The yarnbombed skin of MA:P will have a brief lifespan. Newhouse explains, “It is out there exposed to the elements, so it will only last a few weeks.” The sculpture MatterApp:Pyramidial itself is slated to remain onsite through early Fall, so CSULB students can see it when they return to campus.

Newhouse feels the success of this project will enable students to think about DIY (do-it-yourself) culture.

“We want to nurture a passion for the arts among the people on campus,” she said, noting that among students from the millennial generation, there is a desire to be hands-on and engage in communal activities. In this respect, Newhouse feels this project is about the “now.”

Shefali Mistry, public relations and marketing coordinator for the UAM, sees education at the heart of what the museum does.

“We are called an art museum but I see us as more of an interdisciplinary outfit,” she said. “Education is central to our purpose. Our primary audience is students. Finding out what it takes to engage them means thinking outside the box.”

The next hands-on project for the UAM arrives in January with “Jessica Rath: A Better Nectar.” Rath’s multimedia installation is an exploration of native bumblebees. The exhibition will include sculpture, light, sound, a native species “Research Station” and garden boxes on the new UAM Plaza.

“We are partnering with biological sciences, the Cole Conservatory of Music and the Art Department,” said Mistry. The UAM will collaborate with its longtime partner, the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD), on educational programming. In the spring, all fourth graders in LBUSD study pollination to meet new California Core Curriculum standards for the sciences and environmental literacy. Another partner on the UAM exhibition, the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants, will be key to the development of educational programming about California native plants and the natural world for K-12 visitors.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF CARLOS SILVEIRA
Art’s Carlos Silveira (wearing red hat) with CSULB students and Cambodian children on a recent trip.

“Art and Social Action in Cambodia,” a class that marked its 10th anniversary this summer and overseen by Art’s Carlos Silveira, saw 15 CSULB students visit Cambodia from June to July.

“We offer a program that sees CSULB students in Cambodia implementing art projects among children living in extreme poverty,” explained Silveira, who combines a career as a painter with community service. “The main goal of `Art and Social Action in Cambodia’ is to utilize art as a healing instrument among underserved children.”

Silveira, a Brazilian native who won CSULB’s Faculty Community Service Award in 2004, first arrived in Cambodia 10 years ago with the goal of establishing an international service learning component at Pannasastra University of Cambodia (PUC). “The PUC is a private university originally established in 1997, and opened in 2000,” he explained. “It provides an English-based education in all subjects and is accredited by the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.”

Silveira was on his way to a conference in Thailand when he connected with a one-week course on service learning at PUC hosted by CSU Fullerton. “I fell in love, not only with Cambodia, but with its potential role as a model for service instruction,” he said. “PUC was founded in part by Cambodians who earned their doctorates in the U.S., even at CSULB.”

The journey to Cambodia begins with a three-week preparation available online explaining how the Southeast Asian nation confronts global issues. “The goal of this course is to discover how art can be used as an instrument to deal with those issues,” said Silveira. “The key to the advance of developing countries is the creation of a critical consciousness. Education is the best way to trigger that.”

For the online preparation, students were asked to study six modules about Cambodian culture and social issues. “I was really pleased by the discussion boards,” he recalled. “Students are shy in the classroom but bold on the boards. They learn how to avoid certain behaviors that imply colonialism. We are not the big Westerners here to help poor kids. That kind of thinking elevates the students in a kind of hierarchy and that must be avoided.”

Participating students are a mix of Cambodians and non-Cambodians.” Out of the 15 students this summer, five are Cambodian-Americans,” Silveira explained. “I’m confident this program has reached close to 200 CSULB students in the 10 years it has been in existence.”

Silveira was impressed by the transformation he saw. “Even after three weeks, our students come back with a completely different frame of mind,” he said. “They come back questioning everything from friendship to capitalism.”

Silveira hopes the program has a positive impact on the Cambodian-American community. “Cambodian-American students develop a passion for their culture,” he said. “They discover what they can do from here as Cambodian-Americans. I recall a student who returned from her trip to found a Cambodian dance group. She understood the importance of trying to get in touch with her cultural background. Experiences like these can be very powerful.”

Silveira has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Brazil’s Federal University, a Master of Fine Arts in painting and drawing from Northern Illinois University and his Ph.D. in art education from Texas Tech University in 1995.

His goals for the course include sustainability.

“It is important to create courses that are sustainable in order to help Cambodian students,” he said. “CSULB students find themselves teaching students who never have touched paint in their lives. They see happiness in their eyes. How much better it would be to offer opportunities like these year-round. My goal is to see Cambodian artists teaching Cambodian kids. It is a major goal to make the project sustainable.”

He sees a bright future for the Cambodia project. “I want to expand the program to other countries but I also think that Cambodia may be the perfect place for a program like this because the people there are willing to work with us,” he said. “Through the arts, it is possible to communicate the concepts of leadership. This is my dream.”

Click here to watch “To Touch the Soul,” the award-winning documentary on Carlos Silveira’s first trip to Cambodia in 2005, produced by CSULB’s Teresa Hagen.

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PHOTO BY MARIO DE LOPEZ
Andrew Vaca leads a group of dancers at the L.A. Music Center.

Andrew Vaca loves to dance. He wants you to love it too.

One of the many ways he tries to spread his love of dance is through a pair of programs he participates in through the Los Angeles Music Center’s Active Arts program—Dance Downtown and A Taste of Dance.

“Over the years they have created two very popular programs and I serve both those programs,” said Vaca, a professor and chair in CSULB’s Department of Dance. “Dance Downtown happens in the summer and it’s an opportunity for the community come out on a Friday night and literally have a free dance party at the Music Center in the plaza area.”

Dance Downtown revolves around a theme, for example, 60’s music with either a DJ or band providing era-relevant songs. When the music stops, that’s when a dance teacher goes on stage and gives a free dance lesson for all the people in attendance.

Enter Vaca, a perfect fit based on his years of experience working with large groups. In college he taught cheerleading and dance camps and more recently has worked with NBA and NFL dance teams.

“I’ve choreographed big halftime shows for the NFL and sometimes I’m using rookie dancers who have more cheer experience than dance experience. I use some of the same methods at Dance Downtown to help people quickly feel like they’re completely getting into the movement and fully dancing,” said Vaca, who noted he has kind of become the program’s resident 60s dance expert. He will also be teaching dances from the 90s on Friday, Aug. 22, from 6:30-10 p.m. at the Music Center. “It’s usually 100 to 200 people who have come to enjoy Friday night dancing.

“Recently they had a 60s night and had a band playing British 60s hits, a lot of Beatles, Rolling Stones and things like that,” he added. “When the band took a break I got up on stage with a microphone and I taught people 60s dance steps. One of the things I love about these events is that I’ll look out into the audience and there’s always someone with this look on their face as if this is something they’ve always wanted to try and never tried it before and you can tell they’re having a blast. It’s so exciting to see that.”

And no matter what era of dancing Vaca is teaching a group, his approach is exactly the same—keep it fun, keep it simple and organize the material in a way that the participants can feel like they’re really dancing.

“I think when it’s the most fun for them is when I make it feel a little bit more like a routine and I think that that’s where the real skill comes in,” said Vaca. “I usually have 40-45 minutes to teach them as much as I possibly can and keep the party rolling, keep having a good time.”

But there’s more than just a good time at stake, according to Vaca, who feels a real responsibility to give back as an artist.

“One of the things we owe to the community is to engage them in art, especially today because most students and children are not getting enough in their schooling,” said Vaca. “Here’s an opportunity to contribute to really fun events where people can come in and learn and explore and have a great time and hopefully they’ll be inspired to want to learn more whether they go take a dance lesson or they pick up an instrument or they come see a show. It’s all feeding back into the world you’re involved in as an artist.”

Through the Active Arts program, individuals can participate in a number of ways. Besides, Dance Downtown and A Taste of Dance, there are Friday Night Sing-Alongs, Drum Downtown, and Ukulele-related events, among others.

“What they’re trying to do is keep the community involved in art-making all year round by coming to the Music Center,” said Vaca. “Active Arts’ purpose is to embrace the members of the L.A. community in all forms of art through simple, often free events. It’s really a great opportunity to involve the community and you don’t have to come in with any skills or learning background, you just have to come in with a good attitude and be ready to try.”

Asked what kind of crowd shows up for the events, Vaca thought for a moment before responding.

“It’s really a melting pot and the funny thing is that every time you go up and do one of these events it’s generally a mix,” he said. “The crowd definitely looks like L.A.”