Monarch School Celebrates Opening of ‘The Chrysalis: Monarch School’s Center for the Arts’ with Metamorphosis Art Exhibition

SAN DIEGO, CA – Leaders at the Monarch School in Barrio Logan are finalizing the festivities of the Monarch Metamorphosis Art Exhibition, to be held May 11, 12, and 13, 2022, which signals the grand opening of their long-awaited new center for the arts, The Chrysalis: Monarch School’s Center for the Arts. This center, just a few blocks from the main campus, is a unique community space and will support Monarch School’s innovative Creative Youth Development (CYD) programs specifically designed for Monarch School students. The exhibition will be open to the public on Wednesday, May 11, and Thursday, May 12, along with a ticketed cocktail reception on Friday, May 13, and will feature works of art from local artists and Monarch students.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Monarch School families and the wider community to the opening of The Chrysalis,” says Afira DeVries, president, and chief executive officer, of Monarch School Project. “We are thrilled to offer this special space as part of our Creative Youth Development program to the students we serve to nurture their creative development and empower them to share their lived experiences in new ways.”

Monarch School is a K-12 public community school in San Diego developed specifically to serve youth and their families experiencing homelessness. In addition to education, Monarch School provides wraparound services encompassing emotional, social, and life skills learning for students. It is the only school of its kind in the U.S., providing students with a safe, stable learning environment where they can persevere through the trauma of experiencing homelessness.

Conceptualized during the pandemic, The Chrysalis continues the evolution of Monarch School Project’s arts program, creating a visual and performing arts department that follows a CYD model, a holistic approach to deeply engaging young people through the arts and creativity to promote personal well-being to support students in reaching their full potential.

Located at 1805 Main Street in the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego, the 6,000 sq. ft. building features a hand-painted mural by local artist Araceli Carerra on the outside, encouraging a high-spirited and welcoming atmosphere for all.

“The Chrysalis will become a vibrant and versatile space where our K-12 students and families can explore the visual and performing arts in a multiplicity of ways,” says Erika Malone, REAT, who serves as the arts department manager, Monarch School Project. “These may include in-school residencies in music, theatre, visual art, dance, poetry, and spoken word, and media arts. Potential programs include arts programming for youth ages 0 to 5 and their caregivers, internships and apprenticeships, paid work opportunities, local professional productions, and CYD after-school programs that amplify and elevate the voice and creative vision of our students.” 

Additionally, Monarch School Project intends to invite community arts partners and organizations to rent out the space for their own community programming, expanding their network and creating mutually beneficial partnerships that serve the community. The Center includes a theater with seating for 99, a dance studio, two visual arts spaces for art creation, and a gallery space for displaying art. For more information on leasing and rentals, please contact KishaLynn Elliott at [email protected].

The Metamorphosis Art Exhibition is curated with art created by Monarch School students, collaborations between students and local artists, and artworks by San Diego regional artists, all inspired by themes of growth, resilience, and change. Local artists, including Carerra, are leading workshops with the students to create the art that will be on display in May 2022. All art will be available on-site during the Friday, May 13 cocktail reception and an art auction-drawing, which will fund Monarch School’s CYD programs.

Three days of grand opening events at The Chrysalis are planned and will take place at their location at 1805 Main Street, San Diego, CA 92113. These include:

  • Flutter Fest Community Event - Wednesday, May 11 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The family-friendly Flutter Fest opening day celebration is free and open to the community. Guests will enjoy Monarch School student performances, the art exhibition, artist talks, art-making, food, and more.
  • Metamorphosis Art Exhibition - Thursday, May 12 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Metamorphosis Art Exhibition will feature works by Monarch School students and community artists. This event is open to the public and admission is
  • Metamorphosis Art Exhibition - Cocktail Reception & Drawing -  Friday, May 13, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. At the cocktail reception, guests will enjoy fine food and fare provided by local chefs and restaurants, an art exhibition tour, performances by Monarch School students, an art auction of take-home selections and more. RSVP is required; tickets are available online. Questions regarding the Metamorphosis Exhibition and opening festivities can be directed to Elizabeth Pennington, VP, Philanthropy at [email protected]


The mission of the Monarch School Project is to nurture resilience in unhoused youth and their families. We empower students to influence their own growth in the areas of academic success and social-emotional learning. We reinforce the existing strength of families so that students can thrive in school and in life.

Important: In our effort to mitigate the stigma often associated with the label “homeless,” we consistently refer to people experiencing homelessness as “unhoused.” In this way, we communicate that homelessness is neither a permanent condition nor a personal characteristic. En español, decimos estudiantes en situación sin vivienda.

Monarch School has served San Diego County for 30 years, beginning as a one-room education center in 1987 and evolving into a K-12 school offering a comprehensive program designed to educate youth experiencing homelessness.

Monarch School Project accomplishes its mission by providing student services to support learning in academics, social and emotional growth, and life skills.

Monarch School is a public-private partnership between the San Diego County Office of Education and the nonprofit Monarch School Project.

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