Community Partner Spotlight: Michele Seville

If you're a fan of RYSE's colorful personality and dedication to the arts, you'll love this interview with one of our wonderful community partners.


Name and Title:

Michele Seville, Arts & Culture Manager, City of Richmond

How did you first hear about RYSE?

I heard about RYSE when [Contra Costa] County Supervisor, John Gioia first announced that the County was going to open a youth center in Richmond. I was very glad to hear the news; this was going to fill a huge need in our community.

Why did you decide to support RYSE?

The City of Richmond Arts & Culture Commission has supported RYSE from the very beginning. Since the commission represents arts and culture in the City of Richmond, connecting with youth has always been an obvious alignment. In 2013 RYSE received its first Neighborhood Public Art mini-grant to paint a mural on the Macdonald exterior wall of the RYSE building. The mural was called Youth Voice & Community Empowerment. Youth from 13-21 participated in an urban arts class focused on large-scale murals. More than 25 youth collaborated on the mural (following the Zimmerman verdict) in an effort to represent the power of youth voices, and to reflect RYSE’s values and vision for a positive, healthy, transformed community.

What has been the biggest impact of your partnership with RYSE?

The biggest impact of the Arts & Culture Commission’s mini-grants to RYSE has been in watching the development of youth talent and skills in theater and mural-painting. Each grant project has included workshops where youth with experience helped train those who were entry-level learners…thus expanding the base of talented emerging artists in Richmond. The quality of RYSE’s theater productions is outstanding, and has received high praise from many sources.

What would you say to others who are thinking about partnering with RYSE?

If you are thinking about partnering with RYSE, you are making a good choice. Not only will your partnership be handled with professionalism and integrity by RYSE staff and members, but you will be giving RYSE youth the opportunity to gain experience and benefit from what your organization brings to the partnership as well.

What do you hope for the future of RYSE?

My hope for RYSE is that they will expand not only their physical location, but that they will continue to be a shining example to the Richmond community, the county, and beyond of what an organization based on integrity, diversity, and humanity looks like. With today’s mounting challenges, we need strong examples of coexistence and respect. RYSE embodies both. 

To find out how you can support RYSE, click here.