Renaissance Center opens on The BLVD

(L to R) Renaissance Center co-owners Nicolle and John Irving accept a Certificate of Congratulations from the City of Lancaster, presented by Council Member Sandra Johnson.

LANCASTER – Local musicians, actors, painters and poets now have a place to hone and showcase their talents – right on The BLVD! Wednesday marked the grand opening of The BLVD’s Renaissance Center. Dubbed “AV’s Art Hub on the BLVD,” the center offers a variety of visual and performing arts classes for all ages.

Gospel Hip Hop Artist YB performs at the grand opening of the Renaissance Center.

“The Renaissance Center is an aspiring artist’s paradise,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris in a city news release. “They offer workshops and classes, while providing a venue for artists to showcase their skills.”

The founders, John and Nicolle Irving, began by hosting a small group of poets, actors, singers and dancers in their home. Over time, the group’s performing art rehearsals became community performances, and they were inspired to open a venue on The Blvd.

“People can expect new works, local artists coming together to put on shows, good classes and instruction,” said Nicolle Irving, a singer and painter.  “They can expect to be trained in a range of art, everything from vocal to painting and acting.”

City officials enjoy local performances at the Renaissance Center's grand opening.

“It’s a place where I can inspire artists and be inspired by artists, a place where art and creativity can take place in Lancaster,” said John Irving, an actor and pastor.

John Irving taught Special Education at Challenger Probation Camp for seven years, educating at-risk youth. He said the experience helped inspire him to create the new venue.

“One thing about inner city youth that are incarcerated is that there is a lot of talent,” said John Irving. “I began a lot of programs in probation camps to hone their talents and get their minds off doing negative things. That experience inspired me to create something where youths could hone their skills and express themselves in a positive way.”

The center features a "Visual Hall" where local artists can showcase their works.

The Renaissance Center will feature creative arts classes, live theater, live poetry, improv workshops, an art gallery, a performance hall, apparel and accessories, a recording studio, and rental space for art events.

At Wednesday’s grand opening, Council Member Sandra Johnson, City Manager Mark Bozigian and several other city officials toured the new facility.

“It’s something that the community has needed and I am so excited that it’s on The BLVD,” said Johnson. “What I really appreciate is that it’s a husband and wife, and you can see their passion… both of them have a passion for arts.”

Johnson, who co-owns the University of Antelope Valley with her husband, Marco Johnson, said she is looking forward to establishing a relationship with the Renaissance Center.

“I’m really excited about promoting it at the university,” Johnson said. “There are so many kids over there that are passionate about the arts, and they could come over here to be fulfilled and to think about starting their own company. It’s just very exciting and very rewarding.”

“The City of Lancaster and the SBDC [Small Business Development Center] have been very instrumental in our development,” said John Irving. “We are especially grateful to Scott Ehrlich for believing in our vision and providing an opportunity for us to bring it to fruition. Nicolle and I feel extremely blessed to be young entrepreneurs in Lancaster, and hope to demonstrate to our community’s youth that dreams can become reality.”

Classes at the Renaissance Center start on June 2.

The Renaissance Center will host its opening show at 8 p.m., this Friday, May 25. The show will feature a performance by local improvisational comedy troupe The Imps. The following week will mark the center’s first “Friday KNIGHT Live!” on June 1. This open mic event will be held every Friday from 8 to 10 p.m.

Starting June 2, Renaissance Center will offer several classes, including a vocal boot camp, piano lessons, and improvisational acting.

The center is located at 647 West Lancaster Blvd, and will be open from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday – Saturday. Hours may be subject to change during special events. For more information or to enroll in classes, call 661-942-8900 or visit

  13 comments for “Renaissance Center opens on The BLVD

  1. Jordan Avery
    February 22, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I heard a while ago from a friend that you guys were looking for guitar teachers. I wish I didn’t wait this long to contact you guys, but if you still need guitar teachers or are hiring, I am interested in applying. So if you could let me know that would be great. Thanks!

  2. May 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I’m very happy to see more art-related businesses on the BLVD! We, at the Graphic Experience, have been serving the art community here for nearly 35 years now! It’s nice to have all this company, from the Academy of Style, A.V. Art Studio, to the fantastic MOAH (Museum of Art and History) right here. Finally!! I wish nothing but the best for The Renaissance Center and all who walk through your doors. I’ll be paying a welcome visit soon and I hope Nicolle and John will visit our gallery too!

  3. Abdul Majeed Askia
    May 24, 2012 at 10:42 am

    This post is about inspiring and being inspiried. This post is about
    working with the youth and those that are incarcerated. Are we all
    paying attention ? Amazingly six attacks and the post just opened !!!
    Are these the people calling in on my lengthy subject matter that always
    have something insightful or positive to benefit from ! Remember, the
    monarch is crafty, these guys start businesses, they create art, the
    business is the business of satan, and the art is the art of deception !
    Solets stay on point and talk about encouraging our youth to reach
    for the stars, to reach within themselves and manifest heir God given

  4. Abdul Majeed Askia
    May 24, 2012 at 8:21 am

    I commend anyone that does well.However,I’m certain now that after posting
    on this web misguided lawenforcement and vehement racist have targeted
    me for years with car crashes, social harassment and other illegal actions
    within the system. If the last post had not been removed all would have
    noticed social security and other personal matters that only someone within
    the department would have known ! I believe in anyone being creative
    and inspirational living out their dreams and touching the lives of others ! I too had my own business unti I was slammed head-on and my neck
    was broken and even then I was mistreated!I am watching very closely
    the string of events and insults Ace.and the host of attackers which will
    eventually reveal the net

    • Adam Chant
      May 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

      This is about Nicolle and John Irving opening up a business. Yet you hijack the word business to somehow be about you.. interesting.

      People get broken necks every day.. bones heal and life goes on. That doesn’t mean the man is out to get anyone and if your business was well planned out that would have not been the cause of its failure. TRUST me I know from first hand experience.

      This is another example of a business idea that was able to be implemented because of the unique opportunities available in that downtown district. Not specifically because of Rex or Scott or Steve, but because people who live and work in the downtown are a community. They care about what happens here and want to be a part of something that is bringing the community together. You may not get hip-hop or the scene they promote at Renaissance Center, but get this; The people who participate in the Arts have goals and ambitions. These goals are much better than robbing, steeling and general mischief. I commend and welcome Nicolle and John Irving to the BLVD because the actions they have taken speak volumes more than any negative words spoken ever could.

      • Abdul Majeed Askia
        May 24, 2012 at 10:31 am

        Business. Staying busy.Idleness is the devils workshop.Satan
        is coming at me nine thousand,thats how you know when you
        are making a difference. My enemies are mounting.….National spublic speaker

      • Adam Chant
        May 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm

        If you are implying that I cater to a hip-hop clientele you would be incorrect. If you are honestly curious then you can find out through the ‘Internets’. I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to go promoting my business when it’s not the intended topic of discussion. I’m not trying to be coy with you, but I have a pet peeve with people sneaking in veiled promotions as signatures or comments to blogs.

        Adam Chant – World Vintage Aficionado

      • May 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm

        Because you asked I own a vintage clothing store. (Vintage Styles Now) We specialize in stylish vintage apparel for men and women along with new vintage reproduction apparel for the pin-up and rockabilly scene. All of the new apparel we retail is manufactured in the U.S.A. and that is a core component of our business philosophy. My wife and I own the business exclusively as a LLC and can easily be traced directly to us. We’re not affiliated with any power players and just making an honest go at it on our own. We have been low key for over a year now with little to no exposure other than word of mouth and foot traffic, but have been able to cover our costs and increase our section of products.

        I get frustrated with all of the talk of the anchor stores of the BLVD just like everyone else, but know that there are 175+ other stores that have been on and around the BLVD for as long as 37 years. These are the unsung heroes of the BLVD and still want and deserve the patronage of the community. These are the businesses I speak for first and foremost, but respect what has been done with The BLVD to help us all be successful in what we do today.

    • Yo Mama
      May 24, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Abdul The Fool, still at it….Love, Yo Mama!!

    • .
      May 24, 2012 at 9:48 am

      Oh boo-hoo again Abdul! So much for Abdul’s “let’s stay on topic” mantra, but at least he’s still hanging on to his “poor black me against all those racists” arguments.

      I’m now convinced that Adbul is really Nicole Parsons. Who else could continually write pages and pages of words strung together in such an incoherent manner.

  5. S. Parker
    May 23, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    See Abdul…
    These two young people are setting an example for your community, not just with a bunch of puffed up talk, but with action!
    Take note Adbul Majeed Askia. These are the kinds of positive contributions our community needs, not just from people of color, but from everyone.

    • Abdul Majeed Askia
      May 24, 2012 at 8:27 am

      Everyone should do their part in making a difference and I am paying
      attention to the hidden hand.

      • Yo Mama
        May 24, 2012 at 10:04 am

        I’m forced to question if you even have the capability to find a hidden anything. There’s nothing hidden when folks address you. It’s all straight up. Just read it, don’t reinvent the cotton mill. Christ almighty…

Comments are closed.