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Montalvo Arts Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education


Montalvo Arts Center is an oasis of culture and nature that fulfills its mission by creating and presenting arts of all types, by nurturing artists, and by using our historic Villa, buildings and grounds in innovative ways that engage people in the creative process.

Target demographics: engage the community and nurture artists


PERFORMING ARTS: Montalvo brings diverse, world-class performers to its Garden Theatre, Carriage House Theatre, and the Villa’s Main Hall. For example, the Performing Arts Series showcases top artists representing a wide range of musical genres, including Pop/Rock, Jazz, R&B/Blues, World, as well as a Piano Masters Series. The Villa Chamber Music Series presents both established and rising talent in chamber music, such as the Saint Michael Trio and Cypress String Quartet. The New Directions Series features breakthrough performances by Lucas Artists Residency Fellows. VISUAL ARTS: The Visual Arts program includes Project Space Gallery exhibitions featuring the work of Lucas Artists Residency Fellows and guest artists and Sculpture on the Grounds, a model program that commissions distinguished artists to create site-specific works that respond to Montalvo’s natural landscape. EDUCATION AND OUREACH: The Education Program serves local school children through such offerings as the Performing Arts Series for Students (PASS), Family Performing Arts Series (FPAS), Master Class Series, and Art Camps. For instance, PASS provides students with early exposure to professional theatre, which increases their knowledge of world cultures, history, and literature, as many of the productions are based on award-winning children’s books. The Master Class Series is designed to provide students with the rare opportunity to interact with master artists and learn about their creative process, while broadening their education and worldview. And our popular Arts Camps provide a nurturing environment for children to develop their creativity, explore many art forms, and learn new skills. In addition, we present an annual “Arts in Your Classroom” conference each spring for K-8 educators to learn strategies for effective arts implementation and integration in the classroom. ARTIST RESIDENCY: Established in 1939, Montalvo’s artist residency program is the oldest on the West Coast and the third oldest in the United States. The opening of the Sally and Don Lucas Artists Residency in October 2004 took the program to new levels of international recognition as a model of curatorial practice leading to the support of new and challenging work in the field of contemporary art. The residency complex consists of ten state-of-the-art live/work studios and a commons building designed by six teams of renowned architects and artists. The boldly beautiful and innovative spaces embody the environmentally friendly principles of sustainable design and meet the practical needs of specific artistic disciplines. The residency offers a unique environment for individual practice as well as cultural and artistic exchange among diverse fellows from the United States and around the world. Our performance venues, gallery, and extensive grounds also give resident artists the invaluable opportunity for artist-audience connections.

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

I have served as President of the Montalvo Service Group, four years as an association Board Member, and volunteer docent. This organization serves the underserved students of Santa Clara County, supports artistic experiences for families, for students and for adults, provides quality concerts for the community, and celebrates the arts with the artist in residence program, where new, talented, award winning artists mingle with the public while having time to create new artistic expressions. The staff is welcoming, inclusive and experienced. This is truly fulfilling the mandate of Senator Phelan when he gifted the property to the citizens of California.

Board Member

Rating: 5

In the hills of Saratoga, Montalvo Arts Center beckons with authentic creative experiences for visitors and artists. The third oldest artist residency program in the country is opened up monthly, and you can meet high caliber creatives from around the world. Meld that with an outstanding performing arts series and a sculpture garden of note amidst a stunning Mediterranean setting and villa. I've had the pleasure of being a board member for the last six years. There is much more--arts education at the Center and in the schools, and a great staff. Montalvo is a boon to Silicon Valley. It's fascinating, fun, and is a big part of our region's cultural vitality.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I volunteered at Montalvo for over 6 years with my daughters as part of a mother/daughter volunteer organization before becoming more directly involved with the organization. First of all the place is spectacular. Some people think of Montalvo only for weddings or concerts but this should not be the case. Not only are the Villa and Gardens historic but there are 175 acres where people can picnic, hike and enjoy the calm environment. In recent years there has been a good deal of renovation and improvements due to the dedicated and motivated Executive Director and staff. In addition the center serves thousands of children and community members each year through camps and classes dealing with the arts, nature and theater on site. Montalvo is also dedicated to bringing the arts back into the classroom as reinforcement for learning in science, math, English, etc., via their Teaching Artists program. Studies have shown that children learn better when they can get their hands on during the learning process. The Lucas Artist Residency is now 10 years old and over the last 75 years Montalvo's artist residency program has brought artists from around the Bay Area, the US and around the world. Every individual on the staff is caring, knowledgable and dedicated. Yes, Montalvo still have wonderful concerts and is a terrific wedding venue, but there is so much more!!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Montalvo Arts Center is an amazing place with even more incredible programs involving every type of art for all types of interests. Montalvo excels at its mission to provide innovative artistic experiences for the public, a supportive and creative environment for artists, and education for the broader community. Montalvo is blessed with the most talented and energetic leader in Angela McConnell, along with hundreds of committed staff, volunteers and Trustees who are ensuring an even bigger and better future for Montalvo. Anyone living in the San Francisco Bay area should come to Montalvo for at least one event--I am sure they will have a great time and come back again and again. GDAD

Board Member

Rating: 5

Montalvo Arts Center is a unique organization whose mission is to provide a supportive residency for artists as well as making the arts, including the performing arts, accessible to the public through its galleries and performance venues-- all housed on the spectacular grounds of the Villa Montalvo, the legacy of Senator (and San Francisco mayor) James Phelan who bequeathed it for public use for the development of the arts.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Montalvo Arts Center is the oldest nonprofit multidisciplinary arts program west of the Mississippi. It is set on 175 acres of beautiful California hillsides, with multiple trains and vistas to sooth the soul. The historic villa hosts concerts and many special events. The Arts Residency brings 60 artists from around the world each year to collaborate and share. In addition, there are performances, summer camps and educational programs serving over 20,000 school children each year.

The wonderful staff manages to pull all this off with grace and efficiency. There is no other experience quite like being a member at Montalvo. The mission is wide ranging but effective in bringing folks together around visual arts, performing arts, music, dance, sculpture, culinary experiences and literary arts.

It is a joy to work with these folks and to watch the programs grow and prosper. Especially significant is the sensational results of the educations programs in the schools, using art and music to teach science and math. Test score improvements have been beyond expectations, the kids love it, and more classes are added each year.