Many people are under the impression that The Rialto (and community arts centers like it) put on a musical every couple of months and that’s all we do. While, sure, we do put on musicals—and for good reason: turns out people like them and enjoy coming to see them—there is often much more going on behind those doors.

I cannot speak for all community arts centers, because obviously there is nothing regulating them or the use of the name. Your experience with your own community arts center is going to vary. For example, here at The Rialto, we often hosta myriad of additional events geared toward the community as a whole. Our facility is perfect for hosting large-scale events when space is an issue. We—like many other community arts centers—have been the home to comedy nights, concerts featuring various artists across all genres of music, plays, and recitals. There are so many great events you are probably missing out on. The best way to find out about things going on at the community center near you is to check their events calendar. It may be posted on their website or social media accounts. If that doesn’t work, you can always stop by! We have a calendar posted out front all the time, and your local center may do the same.

In addition to theater and events, community arts centers also usually have art programs. We teach kids how to use everything from watercolors and oils, crayons and pastels, collage and papier-mâché. It can be a great way for budding artists to go beyond what is taught in school. We also like to teach adult classes as an enrichment course. Sometimes we’ll even do those popular “wine and paint” nights. We’re constantly trying to find things that people in the neighborhood want to see and do.

Another thing I can tell you is that there is at least one thing community arts centers do that is often overlooked—we rent facility space. A community arts center can be a great place to host an event or a party. For one, you can’t beat the atmosphere. Typically, we’ll have a stage available, spotlights and sound boards, art supplies, projection screens, seating, and tables. All the things you’d typically have to rent for an event. We are often able to give you a pretty good rate, too!

Community arts centers are there for you as a member of a community. Even if you can’t sing a note or draw a stick figure, you will be able to find something of interest to you. It is our job to provide access to a diverse fine arts program suitable for anyone who wants to indulge in the arts as a hobby or to pursue an artistic passion. So check out the center near you, either online or in person. We’re here for you!