Nearly 400 guests attended the fourth annual Burbank Arts For All Foundation gala, the BAFA Party On The Plaza, at Universal Studios’ Globe Theatre on Friday, May 15. Emceed by NBC4 Weathercaster Fritz Coleman, the event honored Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Burbank High School teacher Jonelle Pickett and volunteer Debbie Wade.
“We estimate more than $100,000 in net revenues were raised to support our grant making program, operations and community outreach efforts,” said BAFA Executive Director Trena Pitchford, who was thrilled by a “wonderful feeling of community support for arts education.”
“It’s difficult to adequately express the depth of our gratitude to our Burbank community,” commented Pitchford. “From our sponsors to our guests, from our volunteers to our Board of Directors, so many wonderful moments stood out in the evening.”
“The fact that Carson Smith [Human Resources Manager from Nickelodeon] auctioned off his own shoes and socks [for $1200] and left the evening barefoot to support more arts education in our schools is an example of the amazing commitment from our Burbank community.”
“We are at a critical time in public education, rebuilding what was lost so long ago and still reaching for what’s yet to come,” Pitchford added. “Our Foundation is committed to our District, our students and our teachers to help them rebuild and grow sequential, sustainable arts education programs for every student. Every. Single. One.”
“We look forward to putting these funds to work in the coming year and we extend our deepest thanks to everyone who supported our Party On The Plaza!”
Pitchford acknowledged the presence of BAFA’s partners, the Burbank Unified School District, including current Superintendent Dr. Jan Britz and future Superintendent Matt Hill. Many BUSD administrators, staff, parents and teachers also attended the event.
The entire Burbank Board of Education attended: President Charlene Tabet, Vice President Larry Applebaum, Clerk Steve Ferguson and Board members Roberta Reynolds and Armond Aghakhanian.
Congressman Adam Schiff, former Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, former Mayor Jef Vander Borght and his wife Susan, award-winning artist and bestselling author David Shannon, Jack O’Neill, Charles Cusumano and Emmy Award-winning actress Valerie Mahaffey also attended the Party On The Plaza, along with City of Burbank Mayor Robert Frutos, Vice Mayor Jess Talamantes, City Council Member Emily Gabel-Luddy and City Attorney Amy Albano.
Pitchford also thanked the event’s sponsors including The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Entertainment, NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon Animation Studios and Cusumano Real Estate Group.
Nickelodeon Animation Studios Senior Vice President of Content Relations David Katz along with Smith and Boris Beaubien, Vice President of Television Production Technologies were there to accept Nickelodeon’s Patron of the Arts award. Several creators, artists and producers of Nickelodeon’s animated television shows also attended in a show of support.
After silent and live auctions, honorary presentations, dinner and dessert, members of Band From TV including Scott Grimes, Bob Guiney, Eddie Mattos, Brad Savage, Barry Sarna, Chris Kelley, Chris Mostert and Efren Ramirez kept people dancing until late in the evening.