Last summer, ARTS (A Reason to Survive) packed up its paintbrushes and left its Point Loma location. The organization, which provides creative-arts programs and social services to at-risk youth, found a new home at 200 E. 12th St. in National City.

After more than a year of renovations to the new facility, ARTS is ready to celebrate with a grand unveiling from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. People can tour the facility, view (and buy) student art, watch music and dance performances and take part in arts-and-crafts projects.

"It's a really big facility, so we're able to have more programs and more classes," says spokesperson Ruben Ruiz. "We're able to have more opportunities at the space that we wouldn't have had before."

The new facility is located in the former National City Public Library, so Ruiz says contractors had to start from scratch to redesign the space. Among the renovations is the addition of a Hall of Inspiration, featuring student art, inspirational quotes and an AstroTurf floor. Students helped design the new music room.

"The music room we had before at our old facility was Sesame Street-themed," Ruiz says. "A lot of our kids, especially our music-department kids, are older. That's the reason why we allowed them to do that. It's their space, and they're there for long periods of time. It's important that they feel comfortable and really enjoy the space that they have."

Ruiz says ARTS has received much support from the city, and the organization is excited to, in turn, provide National City with community outreach and arts education for kids.

"Walking in it," he says, "it's amazing to see what the facility will be providing."

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