The Crocker House
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Photo by Dante Fontana
The Crocker House is a home away from home for many upcoming artists in the El Dorado Foothills. This cottage in the hills has become more than just a place that provides art classes for aspiring artists.
Jolinda Crocker decided to open the Crocker House Creative Art Center in 2004. Her decision was influenced by her frustration with the standards that were being enforced in the public school systems. She wanted to have a place devoted to quality arts education. “We want kids to learn, but in our public schools, there is no time for the arts,” she says. It provides that classes meet the California Visual and Performing Arts Standards and Framework.
Crocker was able to accomplish her goal because she too is an artist who earned a master’s degree in education with a focus that led to her current calling. Crocker’s curriculum is based on the latest brain research – studies showing how people learn and assimilate information differently in accordance to their natural style of learning. All of her staff must attend a 15-hour training course before teaching at her facility.
Besides being a teacher, Crocker is also a performing artist, author, poet and professional storyteller. She started singing professionally in 1984 with the Santa Cruz Shakespeare Company and the San Francisco City Opera. From there, Crocker moved to musical theatre and performed for eight years in San Diego. Crocker then traveled on a circuit performing stories and songs. Before opening the Crocker House, she was a visual and performing arts coordinator for the California Arts Project, in which she wrote art grants, implemented programs and instructed teachers on how to educate. Crocker is also a musician who can play the piano, guitar and cello. Growing up she had a couple mentors who touched her spirit and taught her to think outside the box, which is what she now tries to emulate. “My second grade teacher believed in me and I believed her,” she says.
During the last two weeks of June, The Crocker House holds a musical theatre summer camp for up to 72 children (kindergarten through eighth grade). Kids rotate through acting, singing, set design, costume, makeup and dance. Crocker hires a staff of 20 high school and six college students to help the kids while she oversees production. She says this is her big “hoorah” for the year and is a lot of fun for everyone involved. Crocker also offers private lessons for all ages in voice, piano, cello, recorder and guitar, as well as group classes in choir, drama, songwriting, theater arts, creative writing, and specialty classes. Classes are held throughout the year with new ones beginning each August and January; an open enrollment policy allows a student to join in a class that’s already started. Crocker encourages parents with a tight schedule to stop by and sign up in advance as wait lists are not uncommon.
For more information, visit crockerhouse.info.