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Party For The Arts Celebrates Burbank Arts Heroes

The Burbank Arts For All Foundation holds its sixth annual gala, Party For The Arts, on Friday, April 21, at The Globe Theatre, located on the Universal Studios lot. This year’s event honors Jordan Middle School music teacher Christine DeMore, volunteer Brenda Burroughs and patron Woodbury University.

Every spring, the Foundation recognizes three pillars of support for arts education in Burbank public schools with the Patron of the Arts Award, the Arts For All Educator Award and the Champion of the Arts Award.

“Our Party for the Arts guests will enjoy a festive yet elegant evening celebrating with the Burbank community while feasting on fine food, hosted cocktails, music and dancing and many will leave with fantastic auction items,” commented Trena Pitchford, Executive Director for Burbank Arts For All Foundation.

Burbank Arts For All Foundation honors Jordan Middle School Vocal Music Director Christine DeMore as its 2017 Arts for All Educator Award. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

“But most importantly, they will leave knowing they have played an important role in ensuring Burbank’s students learn through creativity in their classrooms as they prepare for their futures. We guarantee a wonderful night out.”

Woodbury University has shared its substantial resources with the Burbank Arts For All Foundation and the Burbank Unified School District for many years, furthering the development of arts programs and opportunities for local public school students.

DeMore, as Vocal Music Director at Jordan, has helped build the confidence and musical knowledge of the sixth-, seventh- and eighth- graders who have passed through her program over the years.

“The impact that Christine DeMore has had on students in our district is profound and far-reaching,” commented Suzanne Weerts, member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Brenda Burroughs will receive the Champion of the Arts Award from the Burbank Arts For All Foundation. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

Burroughs’ years of volunteering in the community and with the Burbank Arts For All Foundation sets an exemplary standard as well.

Formerly called the Party On The Plaza, this year the Foundation’s annual gala has become the Party For The Arts.

In addition to hosted cocktails and dinner, live music and a silent auction of some very special trips and items, NBC Weathercaster Fritz Coleman returns to emcee the event.

Sponsorship and digital ad deadline for the event is Friday, April 14. A limited number of tickets are available for the event until 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, or until the seats sell out.

For more information on the event, stop by the Burbank Arts For All website. Information on sponsorships, ads and tickets can be found on the Party For The Arts webpage here.

Burbank Arts For All Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Supporting BUSD Arts

Burbank Arts For All Foundation kicked off the 2016-17 school year and celebrated 10 years of funding arts programs in the Burbank Unified School District with a reception held at The Walt Disney Studios recently.

More than 100 guests attended the event, including Foundation donors, volunteers and partners and Board of Education members President David Applebaum, Vice President Steve Ferguson, Clerk Dr. Roberta Reynolds, Charlene Tabet, and Dr. Armond Agakhanian.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Burbank Arts For All Foundation Chair Carrie Brow, Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes and Joan McCarthy of The Walt Disney Company and Foundation Board Member get ready for the evening’s presentation. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Along with Burbank City officials including Mayor Jess Talamantes and Vice Mayor Will Rogers, City Council members Emily Gabel-Luddy, Bob Frutos and Dr. David Gordon, and Debbie Kukta, Burbank City treasurer, the reception was also attended by Superintendent Matt Hill and BUSD administration, teachers and staff.

The Foundation highlighted programs funded at the Magnolia Park School, a BUSD special educational program for students whose social and emotional functioning significantly impacts their education.  The school provides counseling and behavior services for high school students and their families, in addition to academic classes.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Magnolia Park School Program Specialist Avra Warsofsky talks about the impact Burbank Arts For All Foundation funding for arts program has had on the school climate. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“Our program has always placed a focus on increasing the overall social-emotional functioning of our students,” explained Avra Warsofsky, Program Specialist at Magnolia Park School. “Around 4-5 years ago, we all noticed a shift in the population of students. The young people attending our program were appearing to have more significant needs and our classroom accommodations and behavioral supports along with extensive counseling services did not appear to be enough.”

Warsofksky and the school’s two teachers, who teach all academic courses for grades 9 – 12, wanted to bring more to the students who were limited to the campus for the whole school day due to emotional needs. She pointed to a “serendipitous” meeting between the school office manager and Peggy Flynn, BUSD Arts and Career Technical Education Coordinator.

“Peggy was filled with tremendous ideas and passionately engaged in helping us bring Arts education to our program,” she added.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“When Peggy discovered that the school did not offer arts education, she worked with the school site to develop a Teaching Artist series, where a Visual Artist would collaborate with the teachers onsite and bring a basic art class to the campus,” explained Burbank Arts For All Foundation Executive Director, Trena Pitchord.

“Peggy was filled with tremendous ideas and passionately engaged in helping us bring Arts education to our program,” she added.

“Peggy encouraged the school to apply for funding from us in the Fall of 2014 and we granted that request. Since 2014, we have made three additional investments in the program, growing it to include two music based experiences,” Pitchford went on to say. “Often, our investments were matched with funds provided by the District’s Arts for All budget. This is an example of our ecosystem, our village at work.”

“The impact of the funding provided by Burbank Arts for All Foundation that was utilized for bringing in a visual artist, composer, and drummer to work with our program cannot be overstated!” said Warsofsky.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“The students created a spectacular floor painting, portraits and story boxes; composed and recorded music; and learned drumming notation and drumming from Uganda and more!”

“I have witnessed a lovely change in the culture of the school. Not just the students but the staff as well,” she also said. “There is a sense of cohesiveness to the program and a pride observed in the students that I have not witnessed previously.”

“The students have worked together to complete projects that involved vision and clear process. The Magnolia Park School teachers, who are both creative in nature, appeared inspired to utilize greater artistic capacity.”

“As adults in their lives, it gives us an additional place of connectedness with our students,” Warsofsky added. “Also, it gives them the opportunity to work through something tangible with a process and either find success or not but given the chance to grow with all of our support.”

BAFA 10 YR Thank you Party @ Disney MB-18

“Yet most importantly, it gives our students the opportunity to be seen as not just as their challenges, but also as full people with ideas, vision, and importance.”

“We want to continue to work with our district, principals and teachers and increase our support to ensure that EVERY student in Burbank’s public schools receives a quality arts education,” Pitchford stated. “If there’s a gap, we want to help fill it.”

Burbank Arts For All Foundation supports teachers and school sites through bi-annual grant programs in addition to funding larger district-wide arts education and integration initiatives, some of which require funding over multiple years.

Pitchford mentioned future Foundation events, such as the regular Community Meetings which begin Wednesday, August 31, at 9:30 a.m. Community Meetings are free and open to the public and offer the latest information and networking opportunities with arts advocates throughout BUSD. More information is available here.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The Foundation’s Fall Grant Application deadline is Thursday, September 15. Information on grant making guidelines can be found here.

Wednesday, October 12, the Foundation hosts a Creative Circles Forum, touted as “an inspirational evening with Award-winning Producer/Director and Author on creativity, Don Hahn.”

The Burbank Arts For All Foundation’s annual Secret Art Show will return in November. The pop-up art show raises funds for the Foundation and highlights mini-artworks created by people from all walks of life, music and live visual art in action.

BUSD Superintendent Hill Challenges BAFA And District Personnel To Create Community Vision Plan For Arts

Burbank Unified Superintendent Matt Hill challenged attendees at the Burbank Arts For All Foundation’s recent Community Meeting to be leaders in the creation of a community vision plan for the arts in Burbank.

Held at the Community Services Building on Wednesday, September 2, the BAFA Community Meeting featured BUSD Superintendent Hill and BUSD Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn, who gave an overview of the history of the District’s Arts For All Plan and the creation of the Burbank Arts For All Foundation.

“My challenge for all of us in this room and for the team is, what I want to take to the Board…, is a community vision plan for the arts,” stated Hill.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Hill noted that as he was researching Burbank in preparation for interviewing for the BUSD Superintendent position earlier in 2015, he came across the District’s Arts For All plan. He called it a good, solid, working plan, bringing together partnerships with business and parental involvement integrating the arts throughout the school day.

“We have awards and accolades for Burbank Unified Arts programs. Fantastic. One of the best,” Hill continued. “There’s no reason we shouldn’t be the best in the world around the arts.”

“We have to take the time and have meetings like this,” Hill added. “What does it look like for an instrumental program, a drama program?”

“I’m asking for a vision plan,” he said. “We need to push each other to get to that vision.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Flynn discussed the recent history of the arts in BUSD. In 2003, there were virtually no arts programs paid for by the District, with only schools in affluent areas providing arts programs paid for by fundraising.

BUSD joined the L.A. County Arts Commission in 2003 and since then, has had a Board of Education whose members have supported the arts in schools, and access for all students to the arts, Flynn noted.

Many gains have been made in the past 12 years, although the recession beginning in 2007 did affect roll out and growth of arts programs.

Currently, for the 2015-16 school year, there has been a strong elementary school music program expansion, with five dedicated music teachers paid for by the district. Instrumental and music programs paid for by Education Through Music – Los Angeles (ETM-LA), a music education nonprofit, serves students at three BUSD elementary schools.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

With the College And Career Pathways program, expanding partnerships with businesses and government officials, artist-in-residence programs, professional development for integrated arts for grades K-12 and new after-school high school classes in Animation and Armenian for college credit, Burbank Unified has come a long way since 2003, Flynn pointed out.

“Having our new Superintendent share the importance of the arts in his own life and his commitment to seeing us continue to realize the goals set in the Arts For All plan was really great to hear,” commented Suzanne Weerts, BAFA Community Outreach Working Group Chair.

“And of course, Peggy’s story of where we’ve been and how far we’ve come, along with the wonderful collaborative partnerships that are currently in the works with the Career Technical Education and the Computer Assisted Drafting, etc.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“Many of us who have been involved with this group ‘pre-foundation’ now have kids who are seniors or just starting college,” said artist and parent volunteer Jamie Butterworth, who opened the meeting with a talk about the importance of making mistakes, taking chances, experimenting and letting go in creating art.

“Art gives us a unique opportunity to make safe mistakes and discoveries, and to have the experience of making mistakes – the practice — so we can go out into the world and be inventive, flexible, creative, and confident — which is what we want for our kids (and ourselves).”

“When our oldest children started in Burbank schools, there were very few arts programs and they were inconsistent across schools,” Butterworth added. “A lot of hard work and dedication has gotten where we are today but there is still much to be done. So, we are thrilled to see many new faces and especially parents with young children who can help take us into the future.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“Burbank Arts for All Foundation is thrilled to begin the school year with a robust discussion about how – together – we can further arts learning opportunities for all students in our public schools,” stated BAFA Executive Director Trena Pitchford. “The Foundation plans to continue to work closely in our partnership with the District to provide resources and funding so that when our Burbank students enter the employment market, they can be successful in whatever career pathway they choose.”

In April 2015, the BAFA Board of Directors added a vision statement to accompany the Foundation’s mission: “Burbank Arts for All Foundation’s vision is to inspire Burbank to build the finest arts education program in the country. We believe that all students should have equal access to a quality arts education that nurtures a balanced approach to life, develops 21st century skills for any career path a student chooses and further enriches a healthy community and creative economy in Burbank.”

Wednesday’s BAFA Community Meeting was attended by BAFA Board Members, Burbank educators, parents, community members, BUSD Board of Education members Larry Applebaum and Charlene Tabet, Burbank City Council member Emily Gabel-Luddy, Mayor Bob Frutos, BUSD Director of Elementary Education Peter Knapik, along with Flynn and Superintendent Hill.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

 

 

 

BAFA Party On The Plaza Honors Burbank Arts Supporters

Burbank Arts For All Foundation (BAFA) hosts its fourth annual Party On The Plaza fundraising gala on Friday, May 15, at Universal Studio’s The Globe Theatre. NBC4 Weathercaster Fritz Coleman returns as Master of Ceremonies of the event honoring three Burbank arts advocates and supporters: Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Burbank High School teacher Jonelle Pickett and longtime Burbank Unified School District volunteer and parent Debbie Wade.

“We are excited to recognize this year’s well deserved honorees,” said BAFA Chair Carrie Brown.  “Nickelodeon Animation Studios has become a true partner in furthering art and creativity in our public schools. We are so proud to honor them with the Patron of the Arts Award.”

Burbank Art's For All Foundation's Executive Director Trena Pitchford and Arts for All Educator Award honoree Jonelle Pickett along with Burbank High School animation students. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

Burbank Art’s For All Foundation’s Executive Director Trena Pitchford and Arts for All Educator Award honoree Jonelle Pickett along with Burbank High School animation students. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

“We are also pleased to recognize the work of Jonelle Pickett in the growth of her visual arts and animation classes at Burbank High,” added Brown.

“For the first time, the Foundation is extremely proud to honor one of our many outstanding alumni parents, Debbie Wade, who continues to volunteer her time and talents to further arts education even when her kids have already graduated from our schools.”

“Burbank Arts for All Foundation is so appreciative of the support we have already received from our sponsors and donors,” commented BAFA Executive Director Trena Pitchford. “For our small Foundation, this event allows us to further our mission throughout the year providing much needed funding for arts education programs and our community engagement opportunities.”

(Image Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

(Image Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

“The goal for the evening is to celebrate all of us who continue to increase creativity in the classroom and honor three amazing leaders: Nickelodeon Studios, Debbie Wade and Jonelle Pickett.”

“We’ve gained a reputation for hosting one of Burbank’s most-fun and original fundraising galas every year,” she said.

Champion of the Arts honoree Debbie Wade and husband Jerry Wade. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

Champion of the Arts honoree Debbie Wade and husband Jerry Wade. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

“In order to keep this tradition going—and to accommodate our growing number of guests—we chose The Globe Theatre, on the recommendation of one of our board members,” Pitchford explained as the reason for the move to Universal Studios for this year’s gala. “It’s a spectacular venue for what we hope will be another spectacularly successful event.”

BAFA expects approximately 450 guests at the event, which includes a Wolfgang Puck Catering dinner and live music provided by Band From TV. A silent auction featuring a San Diego weekend, a Las Vegas getaway, a Disneyland vacation, a trip to Mammoth Mountain, tickets to L.A. Kings, dinner at Morton’s The Steakhouse and a party at Story Tavern are just some of the offerings up for bid.

Individual tickets are $150 and a few remain available but must be booked by end of day Wednesday, May 13. Festivities begin at 6:00 p.m. with red carpet, hosted cocktails and silent auction. To order tickets or for more information, visit the BAFA Party On The Plaza webpage.

NEA Chairman Observes Miller Elementary Arts Program

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu observed several elements of Joaquin Miller Elementary’s arts program on Monday as part of an extended meeting with the Los Angeles County’s Arts For All, Arts Commission and Office of Education. NEA Chairman Chu saw a music class taught by Ian Tam, a theater class led by 24th STreet Theatre teaching artist Suzanne Santos and integrated arts instruction by Kindergarten teacher Deb Weinstein.

NEA Chariman Jane Chu (standing, center) visits Joaquin Miller Elementary school in Burbank to observe the school's arts programs in action. She was joined by officials from L.A. County Arts Commission, Arts for L.A., L.A. County Office of Education and the Burbank Unified School District. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

NEA Chariman Jane Chu (standing, center) visits Joaquin Miller Elementary school in Burbank to observe the school’s arts programs in action. She was joined by officials from L.A. County Arts Commission, Arts for L.A., L.A. County Office of Education and the Burbank Unified School District. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Participants in a discussion on Los Angeles County public school arts programs, held in the Miller Elementary Library, included Denise Grande, Director of Arts Education for L.A. County Arts Commission, Laura Zucker, Executive Director of the L.A. Arts Commission, Sofia Klatzker, incoming Executive Director of Arts for L.A., James Herr, Program Officer for the Californina Community Foundation, Rachel Levin, Executive Director of The Rosenthal Family Foundation, Shannon Wilkins, Program Administrator for Educational Leadership and Visual & Performing Arts programs for the L.A. County Office of Education and Ayanna Hudson, Arts Education Director for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA.)

Several Burbank Unified officials also gave presentations on the arts programs in Burbank Unified schools and participated in the discussion, including Board of Education member Larry Applebaum, Superintendent Dr. Jan Britz, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Dr. Tom Kissinger, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction & Accountability Sharon Cuseo, Miller Principal Judy Hession and BUSD Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn.

24th STreet Theatre teaching artist Suzanne Santos leads a theater class at Miller Elementary. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

24th STreet Theatre teaching artist Suzanne Santos leads a theater class at Miller Elementary. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“Arts education in L.A. County is thriving and good work is happening in school districts large and small,” commented Zucker. “We chose Burbank Unified School District to illustrate this progress because their work is exemplary.”

“The fact that they utilize so many different methods to deliver quality arts education made them a particularly good choice,” Zucker continued. “From a music specialist, a teaching artist, and arts that are integrated into the daily curriculum, it was great to see the results of a strong arts education program, from the district level to the classroom.”

Music teacher Ian Tam demonstrates a rhythmic move in music class at Miller Elementary. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Music teacher Ian Tam demonstrates a rhythmic move in music class at Miller Elementary. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“We are so grateful to L.A. County Arts for All for all of the ways they support Burbank Unified’s efforts to provide our students with a quality arts education,” added Flynn. “That they chose Burbank as an example of successful collective impact with Chairman Chu, is such an honor.”

“The day to day work has us always focused on what’s still to be done. Our visit this morning gave us an opportunity to reflect over the nine years since we became an Arts for All district,” she continued. “It was really amazing to have every level of leadership that contributes to the success of our Arts for All Plan implementation in one room – from the national, state, county, district and school groups to the parents and business community – voicing their perspective and describing their roles.”

Kindergarten integrated arts class at Miller Elementary. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Kindergarten integrated arts class at Miller Elementary. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“To then be able to walk into classrooms and see what is happening because of our collaboration was a great reminder of why we are doing what we do,” Flynn went on to say. “Miller’s principal, Judy Hession, her staff and students represented the work being done every day across our district so beautifully.”

“We have much to be proud of as a district and community today. Tomorrow, it’s back to the to-do list – I’m so grateful to be in a district with so much support!”

(from left to right) L.A. County Arts Commission Executive Director Laura Zucker talks with NEA Arts Education Director Ayanna Hudson, NEA Chairman Jane Chu and L.A. County Arts Commission Director of Arts Education Denise Grande. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(from left to right) L.A. County Arts Commission Executive Director Laura Zucker talks with NEA Arts Education Director Ayanna Hudson, NEA Chairman Jane Chu and L.A. County Arts Commission Director of Arts Education Denise Grande. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)