Must! Charities funds expansion of free after-school arts program

PASO ROBLES — Must! Charities announced its partnership with Paso Robles Youth Arts Center (Youth Arts) to enhance the center’s arts program for aspiring young filmmakers. A $10,000 contribution from Must! Charities will add updated industry-standard software and computers plus programmatic support to the existing Youth Arts video production program. The new funding also enables budding filmmakers to create films for premier at the 2024 Estreno Film Festival in Paso Robles.

Because many low-income youths do not have access to technical equipment to explore filmmaking, Youth Arts provides specialized afterschool classrooms and professional instructors for local students at no charge to families. Youth Arts bridges a gap left by public education, especially after middle school, when video production is often cut from budgets. Looking to find lasting solutions to critical community needs Must! Charities saw an opportunity.

“The $100K Out of the Box Investment Project reaffirmed what we already know about our region — that great people are doing great things in our community,” says Randy Gray, community projects manager at Must! Charities. “The shared commitment of Must! Charities and Paso Robles Youth Arts Center is to create a lasting impact. Must! is proud to support local youth through the center’s free art programs, such as their video production class, at a time when equitable access to the arts in underserved communities is lacking.”

Boomer Grace, a Youth Arts technical arts instructor and full-time middle school video production teacher, says, “There has never been a better time to have video production classes for kids. In one word: Netflix. For every actor that we see on a streaming movie or series, there may be a hundred jobs behind the scenes to help get that project going. Whether it be writing, shooting, directing, lighting, or more, our video class encourages students to pursue careers in the technical arts field. 

“In addition, the quality of YouTube videos has increased immensely. Lots of content creators are setting up their own studios, while others are hiring out to raise the quality of their productions. Whatever they’re chosen field, our video production classes are helping students get prepared to produce in the years where video content in more in demand than ever before.”

Featured Image: Individuals from Must! Charities and the Paso Robles Youth Arts Center mark the $10,000 donation for video production hardware and software. Contributed Photo