Welcome to the Community Center for the Arts & Technology " A Unique and Remarkable community-based center "
MISSION STATEMENT The Community Center for the Arts & Technology's (CCAT) mission is to promote the empowerment and enrichment of Fresno's culturally diverse youth through innovative, technology-based and performance arts approaches. CCAT foster learning and strengthens fundamental character traits, enabling young people to flourish and prepare for the future ahead.
DESCRIPTION Community Center for the Arts & Technology (CCAT) opened its doors in January 2012 for the sole purpose of providing a place to explore artistic talents, to cultivate character and leadership traits and to strengthen family values for youth and adults alike. This learning center offers classes in performing arts and digital media arts; such as Television and Radio Production/Broadcasting, Sound Engineering, Lighting, Digital Photography, Graphic Design, Web Development, Folkloric dance, Hip Hop, Theater, Music, and many more. These classes are provided FREE of charge to children 4 to 15 yrs. old, especially, for kids from underserved communities. We also provide internships to students from Big Picture Charter School, Fresno State University's migrant program, Men and Women's Alliance,(Fresno Unified School District project) and Fresno Street Saint's POPPS program. This program is supported by individual and community-based organizations.
HISTORY Although Community Center for the Arts & Technology (CCAT) is new, the project was founded by Armando Valdez in 1998. Mr. Valdez grew up in central Fresno (Lowell neighborhood), an area known for its poverty and high crime rates. After receiving a Bachelor's of Science degree in Telecommunication from California State University Long Beach, he returned to Fresno and began recruiting kids from Central and East areas of Fresno, and provided Free classes in Television production and news reporting in the backyard of his parents home.
The first group of twenty kids became the core of the program, naming themselves MANITAS, spanish word for little hands. The word MANITAS was originally an acronym that stood for Mexican American Niños in the Arts, because of our growing diverse community the meaning behind the name changed to simply MANITAS (Little hands) which became the official name of the group.
By early 1999, MANITAS started to expand, an additional 70 Kids signed up for the program. As the group grew the limitations of space became difficult, but in 1999 Arte Americas, the Mexican American Cultural Center, provided their facility to continue the program. Over one hundred kids became members of MANITAS during that year. For their first recognizable project, MANITAS produced a public service announcement for the 2000 CENSUS, which aired on several Spanish Television stations and MANITAS group was recognized by the CENSUS Bureau for their efforts. The biggest accomplishment was later that year when MANITAS became the first children's group ever to produce a bilingual television news show in the valley for, by, and about kids. The television show aired in Fresno and Los Angeles Spanish Television stations. (please watch our videos: go to top of website menu bar and go to more...under CCAT Videos.)
In 2004, MANITAS youth Group won a national award for a short story documentary on the struggles and risks immigrant children are put through when coming into the United States. Since then, MANITAS has won several other awards in videography, TV/Radio children's programming, PSA's production, editing, and sound mixing.
As of today, more than 11,000 kids have been part of MANITAS and numbers continue to increase. In addition to our center in Fresno, we have expanded to the city of Bakersfield where more than 300 kids have registered for FREE Classes in piano, folklorico dance, singing, guitar, ukulele, hula dance and media classes. All the instructors are community volunteers.
Many of the original MANITAS members have graduated from various colleges and universities and have returned to provide support to our kids.
Please visit our facility, and see all the wonderful and amazing things our kids are doing.