Skip to main content
where academic investigation +
christian faith +
service to others unite
12/23/2013 | Created by Darla Martin Tucker

While many colleges and universities around Southern California offer various arts degrees, there are few non-degree programs that provide community arts instruction, and fewer still that offer classes within more than one discipline.

A La Sierra University student makes pottery in the Visual Arts Center where arts academy pottery classes will be held.
La Sierra University adjunct guitar professor Lee Zimmer will teach in the new arts academy. Here he gives instruction to young students during a 2012 summer music camp at La Sierra.
Martin Glicklich, La Sierra University adjunct music professor and director of the new Academy of Visual and Performing Arts.

On Jan. 13, the region's arts offerings will significantly expand with the opening of the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts at La Sierra University, a community arts program for children and adults. Backed by 15 La Sierra University adjunct and full-time faculty, the academy will roll out 12 classes in guitar, ukulele, GarageBand music creation application, music theory, keyboard, pottery, photography, dramatic improvisation, and introduction to drama. A hand bell choir will teach the art of hand bell ringing as well as other aspects of music reading and interpretation while instilling synchronized teamwork skills.

The La Sierra Youth Orchestra led by Artistic Director and Conductor John Carter, will launch as a division of the academy, with its inaugural season commencing in February. Orchestra auditions will be held Feb. 9, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. in La Sierra's Hole Memorial Auditorium. The orchestra is open to ages 13 - 20.

AVPA classes will be held in the music department at Hole Memorial Auditorium, at La Sierra's Visual Arts Center and at Matheson Hall. Private lessons for a variety of instruments are also available.

One of the academy's more unique classes is designed for those who may wish to become more knowledgeable about classical music. The course, taught by Carter and titled, "How to Listen to Classical Music," will explore icons of Western classical music and allow participants to develop the skills necessary to listen more actively and to understand more deeply.

Academy Director Martin Glicklich, a member of the La Sierra University music faculty, directs the flute ensemble, teaches private lessons, and directs the music department's summer music programs. Glicklich said that while community music and arts programs exist, it is rare to combine the arts, music and drama within one institution for non-degree instruction. "It's very exciting for me because I feel we are offering such a unique and valuable artistic environment for our community, for people of all ages. We are well aware that there has been a decline in the arts education in both private and public schools and we hope to make a difference," he said.

The academy's registration fees range from $25 to $50, class tuition ranges from $125 to $325, and courses vary from five to 10 weeks. Most classes are held in the late afternoon and early evening during the week. Private music lessons vary from 30 minutes for $25, to 60 minutes for $75.

Registration and information is available at, by emailing, or by calling 951-785-2357. For further information about the youth orchestra contact John Carter at, or register online for auditions at

"The La Sierra University Department of Music is looking to develop more ways for our community to become active participants in the cultural growth of the region as a whole. The AVPA is an important piece as is the youth orchestra," said Elvin Rodriguez, music department chair. "We hope to start small youth orchestras in churches and schools with the goal of creating opportunities for students of all walks of life to participate and to be mentored by the advanced youth orchestra. This also means we will be looking to partner with already established community arts programs to help and support their work."

"The music department is invested in developing and transforming our culture in positive ways. We believe one of the ways we can do this is through non-degree course offerings for the community," said Rodriguez. "We also believe that one of the best ways to develop cultural growth in a community is by investing in young people who will be exposed to the arts from an early age. We have tried to create entry-level and affordable options to reach those who want to take advantage of this opportunity."