Director, Music Program, Incredible Children's Art Network

Santa Barbara, California


Founded in 2005, the Incredible Children's Art Network (iCAN) brings high quality arts programs to children in Santa Barbara County, particularly those least likely to receive them. Through sustained creative learning opportunities that emphasize both artistic excellence and access, iCAN seeks to affect positive change in the communities it serves. iCAN currently has both an El Sistema-inspired music program as well as a visual arts program; the music program began as a pilot in 2011. 

Xochitl began working for iCAN in 2011 as a Strings Teaching Artist, and returned as the Associate Director of Music Program following her year as a Sistema Fellow. In 2014, Xochitl became Program Director of the music program. Under her leadership, iCAN now serves 160 students in the music program, providing 12 hours of instruction per week including a string instrument, choir, instrumental sectionals, musicianship, theory and solfege. All classes are designed to strengthen musicality and provide an opportunity for children to study a diverse and global repertoire. iCAN employs ten music teaching artists, and is supported by eight volunteers through a mentorship program. In 2014, iCAN created a joint summer camp called Youth Arts Collective where students created their own art projects and music compositions for a summer solstice festival. 

iCAN is also active in collaborations with other El Sistema-inspired program in the Southern California region. In May 2014, Xochitl helped to coordinate a seminario with New West Symphony Harmony Project (led by Andrea Landin ’13), bringing together students from Ventura and Santa Barbara through improvisation. They look forward to supporting future seminarios with other El Sistema-inspired programs in Southern California.