Construction is over: A tour of the brand new Mozilo Family Center for the Arts

After 16 months of construction, the Mozilo Family Center for the Arts renovation was completed in October of 2020. The renovation added on to the existing Mozilo Family Theatre, which was finished in 2016 during the first phase of the arts center project.

In addition to the theater, lobby, backstage area and 3-D art studio that were already there, the remodeled building now includes a music room, dance studio, theater classroom, stagecraft room, 2-D art studio and an expanded 3-D art studio. With this renovation finished, the entire arts department will now operate out of the same building, unlike in the past when music and 2-D art were in the administration building; dance was by the gym; and theater, stagecraft and 3-D art were in the Mozilo Family Theatre.

Due to the pandemic, many students have not yet seen the finished arts building. Some teachers, however, have been on campus and have spent a bit of time in their new classrooms. Mrs. Heather Kent, the 3-D art teacher, is one of the teachers who will be using this updated space. 

Kent is thrilled for when her students can see the building. To satiate people’s curiosity until then, Kent has given the Shield a tour of the building. 

“We enter through the main doors, and then you’re going to come into the lobby, where we have some art display areas. From the lobby, you enter the theater. Above the theater is the tech booth. Those were completed in phase one, that hasn’t changed,” Kent said.

The 3-D art studio is where Kent holds her classes. The 2-D art studio, which was previously located in the administration building, is where art will be taught by Ms. Christine Orihuela.

“Once you’re in the lobby, if you move past the artwork, you’ll see there is a 3-D studio where ceramics and sculpture are. The first part of that room was done during the first phase, and then we added an extension onto that room in phase two construction. Across from the 3-D studio is our 2-D studio, which has an amazing view over the San Gabriel valley, ” Kent said.

The front of the building has been extended, eliminating what were previously parking spaces in order to accommodate the performing arts classrooms. 

“If we head back towards the front of the building, facing the parking lot, that is where our performing arts department lives. We have an internal hallway that leads to the classrooms. During productions, these classrooms will also function as our backstage and dressing rooms,” Kent said.

A lot of planning has gone into the new rooms, and many of the teachers in the art department are excited to move into their new spaces. 

“[The new dance studio] is the same exact size as our stage, which helps us a lot because we used to go from a smaller space into a bigger space. It was an extra set of problems to solve, and we had to figure out our spacing again when we practiced on the stage. But now, we’ll be able to use our same spacing,” dance teacher Ms. Jessie Ryan said. 

With the new extra space, theater and dance productions will be done a bit differently. 

“In the past, we’ve always had to rent a big party tent for the girls to change in, so we won’t have to do that anymore. We can now use our personal classroom as the changing room,” theatre teacher Ms. Jane McEneaney said.

One of the things that excites the arts department the most is that they will all be in the same building together. Previously, the locations of the arts department were quite scattered. Being all together in one building allows for more opportunities for creative collaboration and inspiration among teachers and students. 

“The thing I’m most looking forward to is being near all the arts, all the time, so we can see what other people are doing and just pop into the classrooms,” McEneaney said.