REQUEST. Funds will be used to pay for youth and family participation and preparation in the annual Neighborhood Tour.
BACKGROUND & PROGRAMS. Founded in 1990, Fern Street Circus (FSC) through its parent 501 (c)(3) for-purpose organization, Fern Street Community Arts (FSCA), has been serving needy children, teens, and families across San Diego County. Fern Street Circus believes that artists must be paid and supported in order to facilitate the most effective circus performance and teaching.
FSC's core programs include:
1) the year-round, twice weekly After-School Circus Program, offered free-of-charge at Mid-City Gym in City Heights. The program for youth ages 6-17 is taught by professional, paid circus artists from around the world. Students can learn tumbling, clowning, juggling & hoops, unicycle, tightwire, and contortion. To be added in summer 2018: trapeze and trampoline.
The organization was one of 8 nationally to participate in a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) study by the renowned Weikart Center for Quality Youth Program. The Weikart report, published in January 2018, is the first comprehensive SEL study on circus education, and showed that uniformly, the circus arts programs meet or exceed Weikart standards for model after-school programs, and have a positive, life-long impact on student learning.
2) The Annual Neighborhood Tour. The anchor of FSC's production year each October, the Tour brings high quality professional circus performance to parks in low income neighborhoods. The show features a bilingual (English/Spanish) ringmaster, live band, and San Diego's finest circus artists playing in a set created by prominent local visual artists. The show also integrates After-School Program students performing alongside their coaches in a multi-generational circus show. Performers come from Guinea, Colombia, Canada, the U.K., and the United States.
Local social service agencies create concurrent events, so that they may take advantage of FSC performance to attract people to their own service celebrations. The Tour is supported entirely through grant funding and is free to families in neighborhoods.
3) Year-round education and performance projects include in-school residencies in Title I schools in the Diamond neighborhoods and fee-for-service performance in neighborhoods and for special events.