SPACE Performing Arts

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About Us

Our Mission

SPACE's mission is to empower our youth to discover and trust in their innate ability to be creative, responsible and compassionate individuals through effective training in dance, theater, music and cultural education.

Our program emphasizes diversity, youth leadership, cross-cultual arts, social issues, and exemplary training in the arts. The curriculum may address issues of social, environmental and cultural awareness and activism such as distribution of resources, unlearning racism, gender stereotyping and/or sexual orientation.

After collaborating for ten years directing Performing Arts Summer Camp and other projects, Laurel Near & Paulette Arnold founded Near & Arnold's School of Performing Arts & Cultural Education in 1995. Both women have been teaching young people since 1981.

All our staff are experienced performing arts educators or practicing artists. They are selected for their special ability to relate to young people's training, social and developmental needs. We are also proud of our "Teacher Training & Youth Leadership Program" which nurtures young people who have the skills and interest to become teachers.

Near & Arnold’s School of Performing Arts & Cultural Education (SPACE) is an acclaimed afterschool performing arts program serving youth ages infant through 18. SPACE, located near downtown Ukiah at 508 West Perkins, offers an innovative year-round program that has become a vital beacon for hundreds of children and their families.

A priority of SPACE is the Scholarship Program, which provides access for all interested youth. The community, through fundraising events, donations, and grants, supports the program. Forty percent of families receive some financial assistance for tuition. SPACE functions as a safe space for youth to explore, express and reshape daily challenges through physical, vocal, and emotional creative growth. SPACE has been awarded and recognized by statewide foundations and is a living example of the power of art to affect individuals and change the consciousness and landscape of Mendocino County.
For information about SPACE classes call, 707-462-9370.  We invite you to “Like” SPACE on Facebook!

SPACE's Co-Founders

Laurel Near is a performer, director and playwright. She was an original co-founder of Wallflower Order Dance Collective. She has studied modern dance and theater extensively, and creates multi-cultural dance and theater projects. She believes that in order to work successfully with children the families that raise the children and the community that harbors them must be included in the process.
If you need to contact Laurel please e-mail her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Paulette Arnold is a director, playwright, and performer. An instructor at Mendocino College, she has a B.A. from Duke University and was a California Artist-in-Residence for 3 years. She is committed to using the performing arts to interrupt discrimination and harassment and reinforce respect and cooperation. Giving young people the opportunity to express feelings, experiences and ideas in their own words is a major focus of her teaching style.
If you need to contact Paulette please e-mail her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Co-Artistic Directors:
Laurel Near & Paulette Arnold
Business & Marketing Manager:
Kristen McCallum
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Latino Program Director:
Ignacio Ayala
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Office Support: Lucia Bianchi and Audrey Gramke
Bookkeeper: Price Waterman
Theater Technician:
Steve Wilson
Construction Manager:
John Moon

Last Updated on Monday, 07 April 2014 10:39
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SPACE relies on the generous support of community members like you. Please donate today.

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2014 Major Sponsors

  • Kathleen Kohn Fetzer Family Foundation
  • Frey Vineyards
  • K-WINE & Max
  • KZYX
  • Price Waterman
  • In Memory of Robert & Caroline Gerber
  • El Sol Bilingue
  • Al Punto, Spanish Language Newspaper
  • Phyllis Curtis