This article was published in the Valley Business Journal in February 2020

Art is more than just beauty. It is an experience that is essential to cognitive functioning and expressing oneself. No matter the form or medium, art inspires and enhances education, which is exactly what Diane and Scott Strand had in mind when they founded JDS Creative Academy back in 2014. As visionaries from the Hollywood scene, and successful entrepreneurs, they realized the lack of creative opportunities here in Riverside County. Since then, it has been their mission to fill that void in the community.

JDS Creative Academy is a non-profit organization, situated in Temecula, that is committed to advancing education in the performing arts, theatre, music, acting, creative writing, fine art and digital production. The organization serves a large, very diverse population that includes youth, teens, adults, at-risk youth and those with special needs and developmental disabilities. JDS Creative Academy aims to bring awareness to those with Autism, Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy and those with learning disabilities. Their mission is to provide a creative, safe and collective environment for all ages and abilities to excel in and find an opportunity for a career pathway.

The creative academy uses the STEAM model of education and demonstrates the value of the Arts through their successful job training programs. In partnership with Inland Regional Center, Mt. San Jacinto College and the state of California, JDS Creative Academy offers a mainstream apprenticeship program with ten digital media professional job codes and a video production day training program, servicing up to 30 adults with developmental disabilities. Through these programs, JDSCA uniquely produces and broadcasts a weekly news show The SOI Update, a monthly magazine-style news and information TV program, Spectrum of Innovation, and weekly radio segments for the Vine Radio Station, 102.5, JDS Creative Academy Sweet Spot News, making their programs community interactive

Temecula’s Unified School District CTE Program recognizes the value in JDS Creative Academy as their production programs from all three high schools’ partner with the non-profit to provide hands-on learning and internship opportunities to their Capstone CTE high school population.

“The arts are collaborative, inclusive and have a way to level the playing field. An education not enhanced by the arts is empty knowledge. In today’s advancing innovative world, arts and digital multimedia is the future in career pathways.” – Founder Diane Strand

JDS Creative Academy is involved in the community in several ways and hosts an array of different classes, events, camps and productions. In support of their goal to provide an adaptable learning environment for the ever-changing technical world, classes for Adults, Teens and Youth are open to the community, home school and traditional school students. Classes include Acting, Musical Theater, Backstage & Set Design, Fashion & Costume Design, Digital Media Writing and Photography.

Each year, JDS Creative Academy hosts a digital festival, known as Digifest® Temecula. Student, amateur and professional content creators are called to submit their work for the community to exhibit and screen. This immersive multimedia festival is a fun filled three-day experience. For 2020, the annual festival will take place on the weekend of April 17-19, 2020 and will feature professional industry speakers and panels, entertainment, festival film and video screenings, workshops, awards and more.

Art is an opportunity to be involved in a culture and express one’s gifts and talents. JDS Creative Academy provides education, knowledge, hands-on training and skills to the community to advance and prosper in a competitive marketplace.