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Client Success: Victor Martin, Owner of POPS Performing Arts and Cultural Center, Dunsmuir, CA

success stories Mar 04, 2022

Victor Martin has lived in Dunsmuir for more than thirty years. He is a musician who plays saxophone, percussion, and sings vocals in his bands: Sound Advice and Alison and Victor. Being a musician in Siskiyou County was challenging at first, Victor noticed the lack of venues to play Funk, R&B, and, Jazz. This challenge did not dissuade him from performing and was part of the motivation to start his own business. He approached this problem with a “why not?’ attitude. After all, challenges lead to opportunities if the energy is there.  

Pops Performing Arts and Cultural Center got its start when a local real estate developer asked Victor about having his own place to play. Although he was intrigued by this idea, he wasn’t sure how it would all come together. Early on Victor reached out to the WBC at JEDI and shared his vision for this unique opportunity. With the encouragement of Renee Getreu, a business consultant at the WBC at JEDI, and access to training and business development resources, Victor was able to make his vision come to life. Something in the back of his mind kept telling him to make a difference. “It wasn’t just about the music, the vision was bigger than me, it was a vision of having a place of performing arts. When we (can) see the whole art of music- it is like poetry in motion.” Victor knew early on what his mission was in life was, it is to make a difference in the lives of others with music and art. “Music is about positivity and love. With Pops, I can provide a comfortable place for musicians to go and play. It fosters a place to focus on performance. Pops brings together a diverse group of people, and kids are inspired by this business.” Victor was recently awarded a Community Development Block Grant from the City of Dunsmuir administered by the Siskiyou County EDC. This grant will support business improvements and expenses related to COVID-19 hardships. 

Owning an Arts and Cultural Center in a small town is a big job, but the magic of live music and the thank yous from tourists and locals alike make it all worthwhile. Victor feels a responsibility to lead by example. “As an African American, in order for you to be here, one of your ancestors had to survive the Civil War and slavery. There is no room for you to think about failure, you are standing on the shoulders of strong people. For me, that meant figuring out how I can use that to make my shoulders strong when it is time for me to lift others up.” As a child, Victor started his education during segregation in an all-Black school; he was one of a select few to be integrated into a white school once segregation ended. This painful experience was also a learning opportunity that would shape him into the person he is now. “I don’t see color. I see good and bad everywhere. I try to see the person for who they are and not the color. You have to be able to forgive. Racism is here and sometimes it is ignorance, sometimes it is hidden, and sometimes it is on purpose.” To celebrate Black History Month this year Pops featured a documentary film by local filmmaker Mark Oliver entitled From the Quarters to Lincoln Heights.  

You can support arts and culture in Siskiyou County by going to live music events, attending local plays, and supporting the venues that are making these experiences possible. Learn more about Pops Performing Arts and Cultural Center by visiting their website at www.popsdunsmuir.com  

Top Photo Credit: Siskiyou Daily News 

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