student viewing artworkThe CIPHER Hip Hop Learning Community celebrated their opening reception of their Visual Art Gallery titled “Way Back Home” at Kizler Coffee in Pacifica on Saturday, October 5. CIPHER students from the Counseling 100 and English 105 classes produced artwork that centered around their understanding of identity and intersectionality as well as illustrating their definitions of home and community.

The opening reception was a huge success as students, faculty, administrators, and community members experienced art and music produced by our students. The HTM 140: Event Planning class led by Soledad McCarthy transformed the coffee shop into our very own CIPHER Visual Art Gallery and provided the food for the evening. It was all about celebrating our students’ stories and experiences through art, music, and live performances.

“I had this amazing feeling that the night at Kizler gave students and even guests a breakthrough. That night, as well as the place itself, will be memorable for everyone because that is where they began to pursue their dreams and passions.” – Nhikkie Sagum, CIPHER Student

 “I learned by being part of this Visual Art Gallery is a reminder that if I give myself a chance to begin something and to be someone, I give myself a better chance at being successful.” – Marge Cruz, CIPHER Student

The CIPHER Visual Art Gallery is open to the public from now until the end of November at Kizler Coffee located at 330 Palmetto Avenue in Pacifica, CA.  Some of our students’ artwork are also on sale. We are planning another reception in November to showcase more art and live performances by our students so stay tuned for more details.

We want to thank the following people for their support in making this event possible – Josh Kizler, owner of Kizler Coffee, Nicole Orellana, CIPHER student/Kizler Coffee manager, Soledad McCarthy and her HTM 140 class, Grace Beltran, Janice Sapigao, Webster Cruz for the beautiful mural, Sarina O’Gilvie, and all of the volunteers.  Special thanks goes to Dean Russell Waldon for the warm welcome remarks, Dean Michael Kane, and Dean Chris Gibson for showing their support for our students.

For more information about the gallery and/or the CIPHER Hip Hop Learning Community, please contact Nate Nevado at

Article by Nate Nevado | Photos by Tia Samn

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