The Dare to Dream Summer Arts program for city youth at San Francisco’s Bayview Opera House is ending with a bang Thursday evening at the historic landmark.

Students in pre-kindergarten through high school have spent the past eight weeks at the community center at 4705 Third St. learning everything from theater, still-life painting, hip-hop, capoeira and other dance as part of the summer program, said opera house spokeswoman Rebecca Gallegos.

Performances, screenings, and student artwork will be on display at the Heritage Gallery and throughout the building constructed in 1888 as the culminating summer event Thursday starting at 5:30 p.m.

Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Malia Cohen have been invited to attend the showcase, Gallegos said.

With more than 650 students enrolled in the program, “we’re busting at the seams,” Gallegos said.

Last summer 300 youth, mostly from the underserved Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhoods, partook in the summer arts activities, which are free or based on a sliding scale, Gallegos said.

The jump in participation makes for a more robust art program led by opera house staff and professional artists and teachers, many from the San Francisco Art Institute.

Gallegos highlighted the 33 teenagers who have been mastering their art skills since June this summer. Teen participants are often hard to keep interested in summer programming, she said.

The San Francisco Arts Commission provides some funding for the program, which is crucial for the community-based group, but year-round support from donations and grants keep after-school programming for youth possible well after summer has ended, Gallego said.

Bayview Opera House hopes the showcase will garner citywide attention, especially after they were dubbed the “Best Arts High Note” in the Guardian’s Best of the Bay poll this year.

Thursday night’s showcase begins at 5:30 p.m. and is open to the public, with proud parents expected to be the majority of the crowd for the official event at 6 p.m.
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Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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