This year’s inaugural Celia Center Arts Festival features the works of artists who use their creativity to express their experiences as individuals who were adopted and/or in foster care across many mediums. Entitled “Adopting Resilience, Fostering the Spirit of Creativity: The Voices of the Fostered and Adopted” the festival will feature stories and backgrounds of many, and seeks to bring together the voices that are often left out of the conversation on foster care and adoption. The Festival gives the Foster Care and Adopted a spotlight with the hopes of deepening the foster care and adoption conversation in Los Angeles and worldwide.

Art Exhibit

11:00am – 8:00pm | Adopting Resilience, Fostering the Spirit of Creativity:

The Voices of the Fostered and Adopted Art Exhibit

Admission is FREE

11am, 1pm | Singer in the Studio

11:30am | Spoken Word Artist in the Studio

Eclasia Wesley, Foster Youth Alumni will perform her personal favorites to inspire, reflect, and be healed!
Briana Spencer, Foster Youth Alumni will perform her spoken word poetry to inspire us!

Artists Panel

3:15 – 4:15pm | Artists Panel, Sharing their Vision, Transforming Pain

A panel of exhibited artists will share their journey behind their art, and the transformation the healing arts have brought to their life. Moderated by Curator, Nicole Rademacher.

Admission is FREE


Art Festival
Childrens’ Activities

10:30am – 12:30pm | Face Painting ages 3 and up

12:30pm – 2:30pmHenna Tattoo all ages

10:30 |“What is a Family”  by ARI KARPEL 

Book Giveaway to first 30 children who enter the festival!

10:30 – 11:30am |Touchstones Healing Arts Table for Children in Foster Care and/or Adoption and their Families ages 4 and up

Children will take a window of time to create a Touchstone, a glass stone they can carry as a way to support their process of healing and growth. This activity is made possible by A Window Between Worlds, a nonprofit organization dedicated to using art as a healing tool to empower and transform individuals and communities impacted by violence and trauma.

Join us in the YOFFE CLASSROOM
Admission is FREE

12 pm | Celebrity Book Reading with Cassidy Mack, Actress & Former Foster Youth-Adoptee. “I Feel Silly” by Jamie Lee Curtis

Cassidy-MackRead by Cassidy Mack : American-born film and television actress and former foster youth, will be the featured celebrity adoption advocate for Celia Center’s Arts Festival. Mack,15, was adopted from foster care when she was 6 years old. She spent more than 2,000 days in foster care before her adoption was finalized. In addition to building her acting career, Mack founded Love Gives Chances, a non-profit organization with the goal to let the world know how incredible adopting a child from foster care can be while bringing hope to more children before they age out of the system. After a chance meeting with Ryan Gosling, she decided that she wanted to be a film and television actress. Luckily for her, she was immediately signed and her journey began. Mack has appeared in commercials, short and feature films and has had several co-star roles on television, such as Make Your Mark (Disney, 2013), and Chilly Christmas (2012). Her upcoming projects include the family film co-staring Amy Smart and Grant Bowler “Zoey to the Max,” where she plays a young girl who is adopted from foster care, and she is currently filming the short film “Two Secrets.”

Join us in the THEATRE
Admission is FREE


12 – 3pm | Food Truck | Homerun Sliders (not included in event cost)

Healing Arts

12:45-2:00pm | Origin Stories | Nicole Rademacher – Admission is $10

This healing workshop is designed to give participants the tools they need to create their own origin stories as adoptees and/or foster youth/alum, first mothers/fathers and foster and/or adoptive parents. Through the use of play, imagination, telling and retelling participants create their imagined beginnings with the support of their peers. For ages 13 and up.

12074610_10153737653821742_7243659749224710213_nNicole Rademacher is a video-based artist who draws on her personal experience as a reunited multi-ethnic adoptee in her artistic practice. Nicole has created and facilitated workshops in the arts since 2004 worldwide. She received a BFA (2004) from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an MFA (2008) from Alfred University. She held an artist residency at La Cité Nationale des Arts (2010), and was a recipient of a Regional Artist Project Grant, North Carolina Arts Council (2012). Rademacher has exhibited and screened her work worldwide including Transmediale, Harvestworks, re-new Digital Art Forum, LOOP Video Art Festival, the Gallery of the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts, the Chilean Consulate (NYC), and upcoming at LAX Airport. Currently Nicole is the Director of Communications & Outreach at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, CA.

3:15-4:30pm | Exploring Identity: A Healing Journey Towards Compassion | Lesli Maul – Admission is $10

It is often reported that adoptees feel different, whether it is in their families, in their communities or within their own skin; adopted individuals learn to live with a distinct sense of separateness. Join us for this experiential workshop which will explore the concept of dissimilarity through writing, movement and sharing. For foster youth/alumni and adoptees only ages 13 and up.

IMG_0460LESLI MAUL is a licensed clinical social worker whose career spans two and a half decades. The past 12 have been in private practice where she has had the great privilege of working with many adoptees and families. Lesli was adopted as an infant through the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. She is credited with developing the workshop for adoptees, “The Daring Way™ for Adult Adoptees: Our Strength is in Our Stories”. She has also authored a chapter in the anthology, Adoption Therapy: Perspectives from Clients and Clinicians on Processing and Healing Post-Adoption Issues, entitled “Late Discovery Adoptees: The Original Victims of Identity Theft”.


2:00pm | The Ice Cream Gene | Admission is $10

As a young adult, Susan follows an obstacle-filled trail to her birth mother. When she finally meets her, she discovers that some things simply just are genetic. Susan’s one-woman show, with no set and no props, brings to life her dramatic search for the details of her origins and her emotional roller coaster ride in defining love, family and belonging. For ages 13 and up.

1375277_248936518587102_1930554647_nSUSAN ITO is a biracial Asian adoptee, teacher, and writer. She has served as the director of Pact Camp from 2004 to 2011 and is now Head of Pact’s Adult Adoptee Advisory Board. She is also a board member of Pact, and on the advisory team for the Adoption Museum Project. Her book A Ghost At Heart’s Edge is one of the few literary anthologies focused on all members of the adoption triad. Susan’s solo performance piece on adoption, The Ice Cream Gene, has been performed nationally.

5:00pm | I Know How Mona Lisa Felt Workshop | Admission is $5

“There is one thing that I learned very early: one must say ‘yes’ to Destiny, no matter what…”

Based on actual letters and journal entries between the playwright’s birthmother and the two men who might be her father, I Know How Mona Lisa Felt explores the tension between choice and destiny as an unborn soul vies for a spot on the planet. From the wilds of Bolivia to the cathedral at Chartres to a love triangle that echoes across generations, I Know How Mona Lisa Felt questions whether we choose our families, and what it might look like if we did.

Please join us for this partially staged reading of the play, currently in development for full production later this year, followed by a brief Q & A with Amy Raasch and director Che’Rae Adams. To keep up with the production, please join the mailing list at For ages 13 and up.

10410351_10153081958968824_7857818890705542090_nAMY RAASCH is a singer, songwriter, actress and activist. She is an adult adoptee who is sharing her story with the world with the hopes of inspiring others to keep going and never give up!



8:00pm | BLANK, One Man Play | Admission is $15

Award-winning, nationally acclaimed solo show explores adoption and identity. Playing 12 characters, our adopted hero embarks on a mythical quest ultimately discovering the horrific truth of his birth, an instinctive love for his birth mother and a grateful dedication to his adoptive family. For ages 13 and up. Babysitting available for $8.

BStantonBRIAN STANTON is honored to perform at the Celia Center Arts Festival. BLANK had its World Premiere in Los Angeles, CA in April of 2010. The production has since visited Off Broadway New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, D.C., Vancouver, Dallas, Kansas City, Aspen, Orlando, and San Diego garnering critical acclaim along the way including a “Best Solo Actor” award at the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City and 2 StageSceneLA awards: “Outstanding Actor in a Solo Performance” for Stanton and “Outstanding Director of a Solo Performance” for McKerrin Kelly. BLANK and Stanton have been featured on NPR, ABC News and The Kansas City Star. For more info on BLANK and Stanton visit:


5 – 8pm | Food Truck | Tender Grill Kitchen (not included in event cost)