Ann Smith

Diamond Valley Arts Council, known by locals as DVAC, has a long and lasting history in the valley. So, the “valley” per se has not previously included Idyllwild, however, DVAC has taken advantage of many Idyllwild singer-songwriters, musicians and educators. Idyllwild and DVAC have always had a symbiotic relationship.

Fern Valley Emporium

Over the years, this nonprofit has existed in several different locations — the vision remaining the same. According to the Facebook page, “The Diamond Valley Arts Council is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Inland Valley Region by promoting awareness of and participation in arts.”

Programs under the auspices of DVAC include a Strings Program (usually held on San Jacinto Unified School District property), a Theatre Program (held at Center for Spiritual Living, also known as Church of Religious Science), Oasis After School Art Program (held between four different properties of the San Jacinto Unified School District) and the Musical Performance Program, being held at various sites.

DVAC came into existence in 2006. I first came into contact with this organization when it was located on Esplanade and Sanderson. At that time, there was an art gallery and a stage area for performances. It moved to its last location on Harvard Street and would likely have stayed there if not for COVID-19. It was an inviting and intimate venue. When COVID-19 struck, DVAC, like many others, was forced to cancel all bookings for the year.

Jason Strain is now leading DVAC. According to Strain, “The board of directors decided to return to their original way of doing things, that is, we held events in different places.”

Enter Idyllwild!

This community is well known for being artsy and creative. There are lots of singer-songwriters, not to mention internationally known musicians of impressive accomplishments.

Currently, Strain shared they are working with the Fern Valley Emporium at the Fern Valley Four Corners. Well-known local valley artist Elena Kern, who had a gallery in the Harvard location, has her gallery at the Fern Valley Emporium. Strain feels the location will be ideal for musical performances and tells us, “We want to have local performers and singer-songwriters from Idyllwild.”

There is a second location in the east area of Hemet that will be hosting events for DVAC — The Center for Spiritual Living, located at Stetson Avenue and Gilbert Street. You may recognize it for its large dome. It has a large sanctuary that provides for considerable seating and good acoustics.

DVAC is working on its calendar of events, hoping to bring in not only local performers but well-known regional and national talent, as it has in the past. Currently, there are two scheduled events, one that occurred July 10 at The Center for Spiritual Living featuring the Harvard Street Theatre Company, Comeback Cabaret, and the other to be held at the Fern Valley Emporium Saturday, July 24. Tickets may be purchased online at the DVAC website. Information will be forthcoming. As of this writing, Strain was waiting for confirmation by the artists.

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