The beginning of Point Loma Arts Academy traces to the late 1970s after state budget tightening from Proposition 13 caused various school arts programs to be cut. This led to the All Souls’ Church to start offering after-school arts programs.
In 1980, the former All Souls’ rector, The Rev. Ralph Carskadden, saw a need for an Arts Academy, which then grew under the auspices of the church and with the leadership of several parishioners. They developed an integrated approach to the arts -- visual arts, music, dance, and dramatic story-telling. Children and teens were immersed in a full spectrum of artistic activities inspired by story-telling and an annual theme. In 1999, the Arts Academy incorporated as a separate California nonprofit organization.
All Souls’ current rector, The Rev. Joseph Dirbas, said he is delighted the All Souls’ church can continue to host “this fantastic program.”
The Program Grows
Within the first ten years, the program grew from twenty-five children with three teachers to seventy-five children, five teachers, and 10 teenaged assistants. Today, PLAA serves over one-hundred children each summer and has a well-established staff of teachers, TAs and administrators. Many of our children have continued their involvement and become teenage assistants and some are now artist-teachers in the program. Others have gone on to major in the arts in college.
Located on the expansive grounds of All Souls Church, projects have taken place indoors and outdoors, at a table, easel, and under a tree, always with the freedom to be messy and hands-on. Children have had the opportunity to follow their imaginations beyond the usual physical confines of a school classroom.
Each year has had a unique theme. Some of the older themes have been Come to the Faire, This Land is Your Land, Earth Home, Full Circle, and Odyssey. In recent years we have had Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Travel the Bright, Beautiful World, Tails From the Sea, Wild Things and Jungle Kings, and Magical and Mystery Tour. In the mid-nineties, the program and staff continued to grow and an afternoon theater program was added, premiering an original short children's opera, The Tailor's Apprentice.
PLAA In The Community
As we grew, it became clear that Point Loma Arts Academy needed to incorporate, and in 1999 we officially and legally became a not-for-profit corporation. As a not-for-profit corporation, we have participated in the Sony Art Walk, the Peninsula Cultural Faire, and received a grant from the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, as well as an art exchange with children in war-torn Northern Ireland at Coreymela, a center for reconciliation between Catholics and Protestants.
We have received press coverage by both our local paper, The Beacon, and by Ozzie Roberts of the San Diego Union-Tribune.