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Arts & Culture

Cultural arts are offered in the South Bay, but is there support?

The lighted sign above the entrance to OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista in this undated photo.
Beth Accomando
The lighted sign above the entrance to OnStage Playhouse in Chula Vista in this undated photo.

KPBS would like to hear from you about your awareness and participation in cultural arts in the South Bay, what its value and impact is in your life and how cities should prioritize funding cultural arts.

The South Bay offers several venues with cultural arts programming; Chula Vista’s OnStage Playhouse, National City’s PASACAT Philippine Performing Arts Company, San Ysidro’s community art gallery and event space, the Front Arte & Cultura, among other visual and performing arts organizations.

Studies suggest a number of benefits from the arts including a positive impact on one’s health. The national organization, Americans for the Arts believes the arts used as a strategy to revitalize cities can, “beautify and animate cities, expand the tax base, provide employment, and contribute to a creative, innovative environment.”


Yet the arts constantly compete with dozens of government funding priorities. And outside of the finances, the arts are in competition with other options for personal enrichment.

OnStage Playhouse recently had to cancel the rest of their season, citing an over 200% increase in rent and the fact that audiences are still just 40%-50% of pre-pandemic levels. The company is now focusing on fundraising to avoid losing their space. OnStage Playhouse is also one of just a few performance spaces/theater companies in the South Bay offering theatrical programming that reflects the issues and diversity of the surrounding communities.

OnStage Playhouse Artistic Director James P. Darvas recently told KPBS his view of the theater’s role: “It’s my belief that as a nonprofit, our job is to give to the community.”