Walking through the doors of Sacramento’s new hot spot, Sol Collective, on a weekend night might feel like entering a house party full of old friends. That is, of course, if your old friends are all artistic and the house is an open gallery space, but nonetheless, the vibe is welcoming and relaxed. The lights are low, the crowd is diverse and the entertainment is exemplary. Before you know it, you’ve had an amazing night and are destined to return to the venue.
But Sol Collective is not merely a venue. The term represents not just the physical space, but also the collaboration of people making it all happen. The project is a branch of the nonprofit organization Freedom Bound Center, which focuses on empowering youth and promoting social justice. The program supports anything and everything creative. From live musical performances to salsa dance, holistic healing lessons to spoken word, the collective offers entertainment and education to a community that is anxious to participate.
"We are filling a hole no one knew was there," said Executive Director and founder Estella Sanchez about the community’s response to the program.
Although the doors have been open just a little more than two months, the history of Sol Collective goes back much further. The program’s original location on Del Paso Blvd. was destroyed in a fire in March 2008, and progress was forcibly put on hold. In late February, the group was able to reopen in a new location near the corner of 21st and Broadway. The 3,200-square-foot space includes a recording studio and is easily accessible for students, as it is situated just north of Sacramento City College and McClatchy High School.
With the two years to prepare for the reopening, the program was able to perfect its dream team of people behind the scenes. The team consists of three different boards — executive, advisory and youth — that work together to provide a creative and efficient collaboration.
Board Member Jasmin Aleman credits the success to hard work and dedication from all members of the collective.
"(The program) is not something born overnight," Alman said. The majority of the board members are also sponsors, donating money along with their time to help with the evolution of the program.
"It excites me to be a part of something that has such a good impact on people," she said. "We support positive programs and are supported in return."
With the rapid support of the community, Sol Collective’s calendar is already booked through July and has dates set aside into next year. Media Director Dominick Porras said the team happily accepts the busy tasks ahead.
"It’s like our baby grew up overnight," he said with a grin. "I think with the growth we’ve been able to acquire, we’ve been a dream come true. And we’re still dreaming."
Sol Collective invites all members of the community to check out its space at 2574 21st St. and welcomes ideas for new events. For more information, visit solcollective.org.