For Immediate Release:

(Santa Barbara, October 22, 2014) – The Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN) and the City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department have announced a new partnership that will bring a high-quality youth music program to the Westside of town.  This is a new and exciting opportunity for iCAN to expand beyond its primary partnership with the Santa Barbara Unified School District and work with other sectors of the community in order to provide more children with access to high-quality arts programs.

iCAN and the Parks and Recreation Department co-hosted an event at the Westside Neighborhood Center last week to celebrate their new partnership and provide the community with a glimpse of the beginning stages of this creative student work. The event included live performances by the children, artwork displays, food and congratulatory words from Mayor Helene Schneider and First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal.

“The iCAN music program at the Westside Neighborhood Center is the best music education opportunity for students living in and around the Westside community,” says Parks & Recreation Neighborhood and Outreach Services Senior Supervisor, Mark Alvarado. It is my hope that the City will continue to see the value in its partnership with iCAN and help to sustain further efforts to serve the youth of Santa Barbara.”

Since 2005, iCAN has worked closely with the Santa Barbara Unified School District to provide Visual Arts programming to nearly 3,000 students across eight Title I elementary schools.

Starting in 2011, the iCAN Music Program now serves over 120 1st – 6th grade students at Franklin Elementary School, which is located on the Eastside of Santa Barbara.

Through this special collaboration with the City, iCAN is now able to provide free after school music instruction at a second site. This important partnership provides the opportunity for students from Adams, Monroe, and Harding Elementary schools and beyond to receive intensive high-quality musical instruction, at no cost to families.

The iCAN music program was inspired by “El Sistema,” Venezuela’s model for music education. iCAN uses orchestra as a model for community. Working together is important in order for our students to be successful in school and in life. Xóchitl Tafoya, the Director of iCAN’s Music Program says, “I believe that through group lessons and ensemble playing, musicians young and old create a sense of pride as a team. Though the art and process of playing music together, everyone is working towards a beautiful experience that is bigger than ourselves. This partnership with the City of Santa Barbara at the Westside Neighborhood Center as well as Franklin Elementary School strengthens this bond of togetherness for our own communities we serve and come from.”

The iCAN Music Program at the Westside Neighborhood Center operates Monday through Friday after school.  Special music classes offered include orchestra, group lessons, choir, and musicianship.

The mission of iCAN is to bring high quality arts programs to children in Santa Barbara County, particularly those least likely to receive them. Through sustained creative learning opportunities that emphasize both artistic excellence and access, iCAN seeks to affect positive social change in the communities it serves.

For more information on iCAN visit


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