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Best Arts Gem Hidden in Plain Sight (2012)
First Night Monterey
542 Archer Park, Monterey
On New Year’s Eve it’s hard to miss First Night Monterey. For the past 19 years they have hosted an elaborate alcohol-free party stretching 10 blocks of downtown Monterey featuring parades, performers on seven stages and visual artists in multiple gallery spaces. The other 364 days of the year, however, First Night Monterey continues to do the heavy lifting—albeit on the down low—that makes our world a better place. FNM provides arts classes to migrant students in South County in a project dubbed Art is the Next Peace; conducts art camps for kids at their Monterey headquarters in the summer; hosts multiple arts workshops at the teen centers in Marina and Soledad; leads poetry workshops and dance programs in Monterey and Big Sur; routinely works with the Sheriff’s office to place folks as an alternative to jail time; and even puts on gallery shows at the Hartnell College Library and the Monterey Conference Center for aspiring young artists from throughout the county.