About Us

Supporting the Arts in Our School and Community!

We are a group of community members from across Marin County that  is inter-generational and culturally diverse.  We are working to raise funds to provide resources to ensure all students attending Bayside Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy have equitable access to high quality visual and performing arts programs.

Our History

The Center for Excellence: Empowering Students through the Arts was founded in 2014 and focuses on raising awareness and support for Transitional Kindergarten – 8th grade students at Bayside Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy, a public school in Marin City, CA where at least 95% of the diverse student body is eligible for free or reduced price meals.


Upcoming Events

Watch for news on the 

Bayside MLK Back to School Night 

in early September 2019!


Contact Ellen Franz, Visual Arts Teacher,


Our Mission

The Center for Excellence is committed to inspiring and empowering students to achieve educational excellence through engagement in the visual and performing arts.

Click Here to Donate


  1. All instruments donated through an instrument drive have been tuned up or repaired at The Magic Flute Music Store in San Rafael and made available to students.
  2. For the first time, students have been able to take instruments home for individual practice is a key part of learning. Previously, students were only provided one hour of instruction on Saturdays without the ability to take instruments home. We added two adult musical instructors in the second semester of the 2017-18 school year, who have been regularly providing small group lessons, free to the children, during the Saturday SoundWaves sessions.  Previously, Ms. Jonnette Newton was out lone adult teacher, who was supported by volunteer high school music students for additional mentoring and role modeling. The added instructors have dramatically accelerated the musical growth of the students.
  3. We increased access to private lessons. In 2016-2017, we were only able to fund private lessons for 2 students. This past year, we added 10 more young musicians during the school year and over the summer. This consistency makes a huge difference in gaining skills needed to play competently and have the confidence to join local high school bands. 
  4. This summer, Ms. Newton added an exciting new program to SoundWaves, called Summer Music Academy.  The one-week session included multiple daily programs, including Ethnic Drums. Music Theory, Instrument Focus, and Choral.  Ten students participated in this first Academy, which gave existing and new students important exposure to more aspects of music.
  5. This past school year, we introduced an after school choral group for elementary students of BMLK.  Previously no vocal music program was available in the school. First through sixth grade students participated in this program and we hope to expand to all grades this school year.
  6. The visual arts after-school Open Studio program was restored to three days per week in 2017-18, after not being offered the entire previous school year.  There were 1,402 total student visits to Open Studio, with 74 of the approximately 130 Bayside MLK students choosing to participate.
  7. The Bayside MLK Museum of Art was inaugurated in a space off the multipurpose room, which students and families pass through each morning to enter the school.  Please go to to learn more!
  8. And, finally, we have used some of our donated proceeds to pilot a theater arts program, integrated into the middle school’s spring semester social studies curriculum, literally bringing history to life for the students. Without state or district funding for theater arts, this is important exposure and the pilot was a tremendous success. We hope to continue during both semesters going forward.

Earlier this year, we had the ability to host many of you at our Arts Walk to showcase the work of our students in art, theater and music.  And, in January and February artwork from Bayside MLK students will be on display and for sale at Community Congregational Church in Tiburon.Your generosity has made a significant difference and we hope you will continue to support the Center for Excellence to help the students of Bayside MLK Academy.  These programs help our students build a range of skills that will support them through high school, encourage them to pursue higher education, and ultimately improve their chances of leading successful, productive lives. On behalf of all of these students, thank you for your continued support and commitment. Together, we can make great things—and people—happen.


Help Our Cause

Your support and contributions will enable us to provide improved arts education and opportunities to the students at Bayside MLK Jr. Academy in Marin City, CA. Your generous donation will fund our mission.

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The Center for Excellence

PO Box 643 Sausalito, CA 94966, US

(415) 455-4900 (415) 272-3872