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New Village Arts Center in Carlsbad gets new name

Sledgehammers broke into the walls of the New Village Arts Center (NVA) in Carlsbad on Thursday. It was a groundbreaking — or wall-breaking — event celebrating the renovation of the center.

Kristianne Kurner, the founder and executive artistic director for NVA, said the center would turn into a cultural gathering space for North County.

“I wanted to create a new village for our community, a place where community members could come together and experience adventurous art," she said.

The transformation will create an open lobby space with a stage area for community events, galleries and performances. There will also be an arts classroom for all ages.

Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall said the renovated center would be a focal point in the Carlsbad Village. “Just imagine no walls, just one open area," he said. "This in the future will literally become the center of the village.”

Along with the renovation of the building comes a new name.

“When the Dea Hurston New Village Arts Center reopens in December of this year, this will be a place where all members of the community are welcome to experience that adventurous art," Kurner said.

Dea Hurston has been a leader in the theater community and created opportunities for people of color. NVA leadership said this will be the first arts center in the country to be named after a Black woman in the past 50 years.

Bruce Mayberry, with the San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce, celebrated the move. “You guys have set the bar. By naming this art venue after Dea, its to say you appreciate excellence. Excellence doesn't have a color or gender, just excellence. Thank you for setting the bar high," he said.

Hurston said she owed the honor to all of the volunteer work she has given over time. “Not my career as a teacher or all the other million jobs that I've had. This is about my volunteerism in this community.”

During the renovation, NVA will continue to hold performances at the Carlsbad Flower Fields. Visitors can enjoy Leonard Bernstein’s "New York" at the Flower Fields through July 31.