For ten years now, kids in the Española Valley have been traveling after school up to fifty miles roundtrip for the opportunity to study dance, drama, music and visual arts. The non-profit Moving Arts Española offers classes to kids ages 3 to 18. Two years ago, the school took over its neighbor, the former Ohkay Owingeh Casino, to create a 6,000 sq. ft. performing arts space.
"In our region, students, between the hours of 3:00 and 7:00, that's a very vulnerable time for them," says Artistic Director Roger Montoya, who co-founded Moving Arts Española with Salvador Ruiz-Esquivel. "This center serves as a safe haven for them. Also, we're serving a region that's very beautiful, but sparsely populated and very rural, so kids have virtually no options for arts education. It's just been remarkable to see the outpouring." Spring Semester classes began on January 16.
In this longer version of the interview, Roger talks about the school's Healthy Meals Program, which every day provides free farm-to-table suppers to students and their family members.