Tag Archives: bafa

Muir Students Prepare “Homeland: Poetry In Performance” Encore

English Language Development (ELD) students at John Muir Middle School recently presented Homeland: Poetry in Performance onstage at the school auditorium for family, friends and school officials. Students give an encore performance Friday, February 5, at the Muir Middle School Auditorium for Burbank City officials and invited guests.

Approximately 48 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students, most of whom have emigrated to the United States within the past few years, participated in a series of workshops in November and December 2015 and January 2016 to prepare for Homeland: Poetry in Performance.

Students from John Muir Middle School present "Homeland: Poetry in Performance." (Photo Courtesy of Jessica Wertlieb)

Students from John Muir Middle School present “Homeland: Poetry in Performance.” (Photo Courtesy of Jessica Wertlieb)

Led by artist teacher Kate Randolph and funded with a grant from Burbank Arts For All Foundation (BAFA) and seed money from Walt Disney Studios and the Music Center, students in Jessica Wertlieb and Jim Koontz’ Beginner and Early Advanced ELD classes analyzed and wrote poetry and studied works of a few American poets.

Some of the students wrote about what they missed the most about their country, about their house and their bedroom and what they’d like to go back and see, said seventh-grader Fima Kaoumi. Kaoumi emigrated from Syria and has been in the Burbank area for a little more than three years.

She worked on a group script with several other students. Here is an excerpt:

Piunik: I feel sad that I’m not with my grandmother in Tehran.

Clara: I worry about my cousins Kevin and Mousa in Syria.

Alexandr: Home is my country, Armenia, my friends and my family and me.

Nora: I worry about the rose in my garden because it gets frozen.

Karen: I see a picture of my friend and me when we were little and we were playing chess.

Fima: I worry if somebody took the pictures off the wall of my bedroom.

Alina: I try to remember my room.

Piunik: I dream of peace and joy for my country.

Clara: I say to my mom that I will not forget how to speak Arabic.

Alexandr: I dream that I’m going to be the President of Armenia.

Nora: I say that it’s not good to be fighting, because the humans are friends, brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents.

Fima: I dream about seeing my friends once again and jumping rope and laughing.

Alina: I hope that my friends still remember me.

Karen: I hope to go and see my home again.

Muir Middle School seveth-graders Nora Fulup, Fima Kaoumi and Mishel Hartooni all enjoyed the process of creating "Homeland: Poetry In Performance." (from left to right) (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Muir Middle School seventh-graders Nora Fulup, Fima Kaoumi and Mishel Hartooni all enjoyed the process of creating “Homeland: Poetry In Performance.” (from left to right) (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Nora Fulup, also in seventh-grade, came to Burbank from Romania about seven months ago. She wonders what will happen to the beautiful purple and red roses at the home she left, because the weather is freezing now in Romania.

It was very scary for her to get up on stage for the performance because she had never done that before, Fulup said, but she was really happy she gave the performance.

She really enjoyed the experience, saying, “It was good for studying and for remembering the homelands. And, for making friends.”

Hailing from Iran, seventh-grader Mishel Hartooni has been in Burbank for about three years. He also enjoyed studying poetry and writing his part for the group performance.

“[We] wrote mostly about our family and our friends in our countries and homelands. For example, my friend Alex [wrote] about his friends,” said Hartooni. “Mine was about my grandpa and his car… It was all about our homes.”

Students from John Muir Middle School rehearse "Homeland: Poetry in Performance." (Photo Courtesy of Jessica Wertlieb)

Students from John Muir Middle School rehearse “Homeland: Poetry in Performance.” (Photo Courtesy of Jessica Wertlieb)

Students worked on presentation skills, including articulation and non-verbal movements, with Randolph to help communicate moods and meanings found in the poems, explained Wertlieb.

“The purpose of this program is for the English Language Development (ELD) students to work with a professional actor, Kate Randolph, to explore and write poetry, universal themes and to present individually and as a group,” she added. “The performance enables the students to practice the reading, speaking and listening skills they need while building self confidence.”

“The students show incredible growth during and after this experience, not just in their basic skills, but in their self-confidence as well.”

The 2015-16 school year marks the fourth year in a row Randolph has visited Muir for the weekly series of workshops, held over three months.

“This year was different, however, because she incorporated the students’ own writing into their performances,” said Wertlieb.

Kaoumi enjoyed learning the movements to the different poems, working with the other kids and performing, too.

“It helps me improve my English and I learned a lot of new words that I never heard before,” she added.

The students hail from countries including Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Russia, Iran, Thailand, Romania, Hungary, Syria, El Salvador, Mexico, Czech Republic, Brazil and France.  In addition to their self-created poems, the middle-schoolers recited works from poets Mahmoud Darwish, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou and Harumi Ikeda.

BAFA Donates More Than $30,000 Towards BUSD Arts Programs

Burbank Arts For All Foundation (BAFA) board members gathered on Thursday, November 5, to present a check to the Burbank Unified Board of Education for more than $30,000 towards BUSD arts programs as part of the Foundation’s Fall 2015 grant cycle.

“We see arts education – in its broadest term – as basic instruction for every student in the District and quite possibly a career pathway for our City’s future employees,” commented BAFA Executive Director Trena Pitchford.

“We are pleased to report that we were able to invest $30,473 for arts education programs. This is the second largest investment we have made in a single grant cycle,” continued Pitchford, in her address to the Board of Education.

“With this cycle, our funding is matched with $24,735.99 from the District’s Arts for All funds, a school site’s budget, parent driven booster clubs or PTA units. Together, that’s more than $55,208.99 given to our schools for arts education programming.”

Burbank Arts For All Foundation Board of Directors members and Executive Director present a check for $30,473 to the BUSD Board of Education. BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill, District Administrative staff, BUSD teachers, principals and parent leaders gather for the presentation on November 5, 2015. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

Burbank Arts For All Foundation Board of Directors members and Executive Director present a check for $30,473 to the BUSD Board of Education. BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill, District Administrative staff, BUSD teachers, principals and parent leaders gather for the presentation on November 5, 2015. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

“We are directly impacting 3,597 students this school year alone and we are hopeful that through the sustainability of these programs and equipment we will continue to impact generations to come.”

Several teachers and principals of school programs funded in the Fall 2015 BAFA grant cycle including Washington Elementary, Miller Elementary, Edison Elementary, Jordan Middle School, Burbank High School and Magnolia Park School also attended the school board meeting.

For the Foundation’s Fall grant cycle, 24 applications were submitted for funding, including submissions from six elementary schools, all three middle schools, both Burbank and Burroughs high schools and the Magnolia Park School for a total financial request of $65,198.61.

“This was the first cycle with our new grant application and guidelines, which allowed us to understand more of the academic goals of each grant request, the timeline of the project or program and samples of a teacher’s rubric or assessment tools,” Pitchford added.

The Foundation provided seed funding for new programs, including media arts at Miller Elementary with a green screen and equipment and integration of theater arts at Edison Elementary through an artist-in-residency.

BAFA continues funding for professional development for teachers in both elementary and secondary education, elementary school tile making, clay and visual arts, expansion of digital media arts at Jordan Middle School to incorporate 3D printing and robotics, musical instruments for all three middle school programs, expert coaches for high school instrumental music and artists-in-residency programs in songwriting and performing arts at Magnolia Park School.

Pitchford also noted BAFA’s efforts to increase or sustain equity for all students by investing in the growth of both high school dance programs through funding supplies for tap dance and investing in BUSD’s College and Career Pathways Animation program with funding for Cintiqs that will decrease the tablet to student ratio to 1:2.

She also commented that many of the BAFA-funded programs are in alignment with the recent funding that BUSD’s Board of Education has provided through the State of California’s one-time funds, the District’s LCAP priorities and goals stated in the District’s Arts for All plan.

“This is a huge celebration of our District’s Arts For All ‘eco-system’ and partnership with you and our parent and business community,” she said to school board members.

BAFA’s total funding since its inception in 2006 now stands at $344,555.01. The Foundation has funded 209 grants to all K-12 schools within Burbank Unified.

“There is certainly more to do to provide standards-based sequential arts education programming K-12, but all of us in our ecosystem should be very proud of what we continue to grow and sustain in Burbank Unified for the benefit of the thousands of students who have passed through its halls in 10 years,” she also said.

 

BAFA Secret Art Show Raises Funds And Showcases Arts In BUSD

Burbank Arts For All Foundation (BAFA) put on its third annual The Secret Art Show last Saturday evening, September 26, at ATB Studios in Burbank.

The event raised over $30,000 for the foundation and showcased more than 1000 4×6 inch artworks by more than 500 different artists.

Student volunteers pose for a photo at the Secret Art Show on Saturday. Photo by: Edward Tovmassian

Student volunteers pose for a photo at the Secret Art Show on Saturday.
Photo by: Edward Tovmassian

Live visual and musical artists performed during the four-hour event. Burbank High School’s Dance Team “Unleashed” took the crowd by surprise with a late-evening flash mob dance.

“Burbank Arts for All Foundation is grateful to the entire Burbank community and because of their generous support, the third annual Secret Art Show was a huge success,” commented BAFA Executive Director Trena Pitchford.

The Burbank High School dance team "Unleashed" arrives at the Secret Art Show on Saturday, just moments before they put on a spectacular performance. Photo by: Edward Tovmassian

The Burbank High School dance team “Unleashed” arrives at the Secret Art Show on Saturday, just moments before they put on a spectacular performance.
Photo by: Edward Tovmassian

“In addition to our fun and colorful hip pop-up art show, we were very excited to include the talents of our Burbank Unified students in visual arts, dance, music and vocal performance!”

More than 500 guests attended The Secret Art Show including City Councilmember Will Rogers and Burbank Unified Board of Education members Dr. Roberta Reynolds and Dr. Armond Aghakhanian along with BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill. Several of the Secret Artists, members of Burbank Arts for All Foundation’s Board of Directors, BUSD teachers, principals and administrators, Burbank citizens and industry leaders also enjoyed the event.

Art show volunteer Isabella Mardirossian carefully removes an artwork from the display board, to offer a closer look to an art show attendee at the Secret Art Show on Saturday. Photo by: Edward Tovmassian

Art show volunteer Isabella Mardirossian carefully removes an artwork from the display board, to offer a closer look to an art show attendee at the Secret Art Show on Saturday.
Photo by: Edward Tovmassian

“As always, the wonderful part about The Secret Art Show is our ability to showcase student works of art alongside celebrities and well-known professional artists,” added Pitchford.

The final list of artists included:

  • Conan O’Brien, Talk Show Host, Comedian
  • Andy Richter, Talk Show Announcer
  • Adonna Khare, Artist
  • Tony Hale, Author and Emmy Award Winning Actor in “VEEP”
  • Bill Morrison,  American comic book artist and writer, and co-founder of Bongo Comics
  • Bart Johnson, Actor and Director, known for his role in “High School Musical”
  • Robyn Lively, Actress, known for her role in “Teen Witch”
  • Peter Bennett, Art Director, “SpongeBob SquarePants”
  • Blake Lively, Actress, known for her role in “Gossip Girl” and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”
  • Ryan Reynolds, Feature Film Actor
  • Stephen Hillenburg, Creator, “SpongeBob SquarePants”
  • David Shannon, Caldecott Winning Children’s Book Author and Artist
  • Joe Mantegna, Actor, “Criminal Minds”
  • Ana Bagayan, Artist
  • Frank Dietz, Award-winning Artist and Filmmaker
  • W. Earl Brown, Actor, known for his roles in “Black Mass,” “American Crime” & “Deadwood”
  • Jim Henson Creature Shop
  • Members of the Burbank Art Association
  • BUSD Students
  • BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill
  • Artists from Warner Bros. Entertainment, The Walt Disney Animation Studio and Nickelodeon 
  • and many, many more…

At noon on Monday, October 5, BAFA launches the online auction of remaining artworks available for the $40 per piece purchase price at: www.32auctions.com/2015SecretArtShowAuction

Adonna Khare puts on a demonstration at the Secret Art Show on Saturday as she works on an enormous drawing of a lion. Photo by: Edward Tovmassian

Adonna Khare puts on a demonstration at the Secret Art Show on Saturday as she works on an enormous drawing of a lion.
Photo by: Edward Tovmassian

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)

 

 

 

Third Annual Secret Art Show Call For Entries Announced

The Burbank Arts For All Foundation (BAFA) has issued a call for entries for their third annual Secret Art Show which will be held on Saturday, September 26. Artists of any age are welcome to submit works of art on 4×6-inch cards for inclusion in the Secret Art Show through Friday, September 18.

We Want YOU![2]The Secret Art Show displays art by renowned artists, celebrities, Oscar Award-winning filmmakers, animators, Burbank City officials, along with area teachers and students. The one-night-only event allows patrons to purchase individual artworks for $40 donation each. Upon purchase, the Secret Artist behind the work is revealed.

Those interested in submitting art and become one of hundreds of Secret Artists may visit the BAFA webpage and download the entry packet at http://www.burbankartsforall.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Artist-Entry-Packet-2015.pdf.

“The magic of The Secret Art Show is in the personal charm of each and every one of the secret works of art,” commented Alexandra Helfrich, Co-Chair of the event. “Guests respond to art work from their heart, whether they have chosen a work of art created by a highly collectible artist or an imaginative 10-year-old student,”

“We are extremely excited about the caliber of artists who are returning to participate in our third annual Secret Art Show, as well as the many new artists who are joining us this year.”

2015_BAFASecretArtShow_Postcard-V1[2]

For a look at the first gallery of Secret Art Show creations displayed at the event, visit http://www.burbankartsforall.org/preview-1-sas-2015/.

All proceeds will benefit Burbank Arts For All Foundation (BAFA), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure every student in Burbank public schools receives a quality arts education as part of their core curriculum.

“We invite you to celebrate with our community at – quite literally – one of the most colorful events of the season… not to mention FUN… with a hosted wine and cheese reception and a few secret surprises planned for the night,” added Trena Pitchford, BAFA Executive Director. “You don’t want to miss it!”

Tickets for the event cost $50 for VIP entry at 6:30 p.m. and $10 for general admission entry at 7:30 p.m. Entry includes food, drinks, live entertainment and the opportunity to purchase individual miniature works of art.

The Secret Art Show takes place on Saturday, September 26, at ATB Studios, located at 157 W. Providencia Avenue in Burbank, just east of Lake Street, and runs until 10:00 p.m.

More information on the event can be found on the BAFA website here. The 2014 Secret Art Show netted over $30,000 for the nonprofit arts education organization.

BAFA Party On The Plaza 2015 Boogies Down And Raises More Than $100,000

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.”

BAFA 2015 Party On The Plaza Honorees: volunteer Debbie Wade, Carson Smith (Nickelodeon Animation Studios) and teacher Jonelle Pickett.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

BAFA 2015 Party On The Plaza Honorees: volunteer Debbie Wade, Carson Smith (Nickelodeon Animation Studios) and teacher Jonelle Pickett.(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“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.”

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“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.

Burbank Arts For All Foundation Chair Carrie Brown, Party On The Plaza Co-Chair Cathy Stevens, Party On The Plaza Co-Chair Joan McCarthy, Executive Director Trena Pitchford. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Arts For All Foundation Chair Carrie Brown, Party On The Plaza Co-Chair Cathy Stevens, Party On The Plaza Co-Chair Joan McCarthy, BAFA Executive Director Trena Pitchford. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

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.

Burbank Board of Education member Roberta Reynolds, incoming BUSD Superintendent Matt HIll and wife and Board member Larry Applebaum. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Board of Education member Roberta Reynolds, incoming BUSD Superintendent Matt HIll and wife Karen and Board member Larry Applebaum. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

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.

Burroughs Library Loft Boosts Student Creativity And Engagement

The John Burroughs High School library now boasts of an art library and creative activity center, known collectively as the Burroughs Library Loft. After months of collaborative brainstorming and physical work by librarian Julie Grene and JBHS art teacher Beth Morrison, common areas of the library have been transformed into a place for students and teachers to explore art, create art and integrate art into daily lives and studies.

“I’ve been talking about Arts Integration for many years, and I truly believe that leveraging the Arts (all of the Arts) is the best vehicle to make connections between disciplines, lessons, life and the world,” commented Morrison. “Now we have a resource center for all of the teachers here at Burroughs.”

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Funded by a Burbank Arts For All Foundation (BAFA) grant for books, supplies and resources and a donation of furniture, manpower and materials from IKEA, the Burroughs Library Loft began to emerge in November 2014. Both Morrison and Grene point to the strong support of  then Principal John Paramo as vital to the realization of the project.

Morrison and Grene spent weekends and vacation days to work on the Library Loft, which officially opened for student and teacher use in February 2015.

“Beth and I obtained all the materials that were not from IKEA and did the manual labor involved with those materials,” commented Grene. “Beth is an amazing creative can-do type of person. Our creative spirits work well together.”

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“The IKEA team spent a day here assembling the furniture and installing all shelving. IKEA even took the time to create vinyl wall appliques of our chosen words in the fonts I requested, then came and applied those as well,” explained Grene. “They were really great to work with. Scotty, our maintenance man, was also involved with the Mondrian ceiling. He helped by removing all the tiles we needed to paint. One of the wood shop students came and waxed the tabletops.”

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“The Loft has been well received by both students and staff. People love the inviting and welcoming atmosphere that’s been created,” continued Grene. “It’s been really fun to see students gravitate toward the space. We already have ‘regulars’ utilizing the supplies creatively every day at lunch. I have plans to do more organized activities and after school workshops next year in order to get more students involved.”

The Burroughs Library Loft has assisted a Health class, an English class and a special needs class to complete art projects. Students create magnetic poetry, write inspirational sayings, draw pictures on the chalkboard columns and draw at the tables.

Once monthly, substitute teacher Brian Kukan hosts an after-school meditation group, Breathing Among The Books, open to students, teachers and staff. The group has grown from just a few students at the beginning to nearly 30 students at the most recent meeting April 1. The next, and last meeting for the current school year, is slated for May 6.

“I come for the relaxation and to de-stress,” science teacher Jill Tobin told students attending the most recent Breathing Among The Books gathering, most of whom were first or second-time attendees.

“I’m so happy that our students are making great use of the space and all of the resources. I’ve been using the display space for student work a lot more than I had planned or anticipated,” Morrison also said. ” I love the flexibility, as well as the opportunity to showcase the work of our very creative and talented students. And I love that so many people are interested, engaged, exposed, and responding so positively, to the works of art that are put on display.”

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“I think we knew from the beginning that the Loft would follow the ‘if we build it, they will come philosophy, but I didn’t really think so much about the ‘my special place’ aspect that the Loft has provided for so many individual students. There are quite a few students that have now found their ‘special place’ on campus.”

“We’re still adding to the resources, but at least we have a place for teachers to go to find ideas and inspiration,” added Morrison. “We’re also planning a series of workshops for teachers to get some hands-on experience with Arts Integration.”

One of Morrison and Grene’s many goals for the Burroughs Library Loft concept is for other schools to adopt the concept and built their own version of an Arts Library.  Luther and Jordan Middle Schools have responded positively and want to create resource centers of their own, according to Morrison.

The library is officially open 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. every school day. Peer tutoring is offered by California Scholarship Federation students Monday through Thursday for one hour after school gets out.

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The library has computers, textbooks, magazines, newspapers, a photocopier for student use and reference books, said Grene, who also tries to have additional supplies on hand that students may need to complete their school work.

While the library has limited availability in April and May to accommodate testing and textbook collection, Grene looks forward to the fall semester and events planned for the coming school year. Monthly Creative Challenges, after school workshops, teacher workshops, a Curator’s Club to introduce students to careers in the art business are some of the upcoming plans she has in the works, all while continuing to expand the resources available to teachers and students.

The JBHS library also hosts PTSA meetings and after-school poetry readings and song writing workshops for students, along with college and career planning workshops several times throughout the year.

Miller Elementary Theater Program Boosts English Proficiency

The fifth-grade students in teacher Melissa Pamperin’s class at Joaquin Miller Elementary buzz with excitement as they prepare for their final performance of Penelope and the Pirates. The Miller Elementary theater program has become a touchstone of the school’s integrated arts programs, as the school received the California Exemplary Arts Education honor last year.

“The play tells the story of a pathetic posse of pirates that has lost the one and only treasure they’ve ever managed to find and the princess who runs away from home with her ladies in waiting in hopes of having at least one great adventure in her life,” commented Pamperin, who also wrote the story specifically for the fifth-grade production.

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

“Unfortunately for Penelope, she ends up choosing Captain Milligan’s ship to stowaway on and they’ve shipwrecked onto a deserted island,” Pamperin added. “After declaring that she’s had it with their pessimism she whips them into shape. They find the lost treasure and she and Captain Milligan’s son, who had never wanted to be a buccaneer in the first place, live happily ever after running a floating library on board the pirate ship.”

Melanie Josephian, age 10, portrayed Penelope the Princess and thought that the scene in which Penelope trains the pirates to be better pirates, set to the theme song from Rocky, was her favorite. The pirates are pretty pathetic – one is afraid of fish, another can’t read a map.

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

“I thought it was a very fun experience,” commented Jake Bastian, age 11, who played pirate Captain Milligan. “It was really fun to do the shows because we had been working on it since January and it was a lot of hard work and it all paid off. Everybody laughed.”

“It was really funny and everybody in the audience was laughing and sometimes I laughed on stage too,” added Josephian, who’s been bitten by the acting bug. “I liked that Penelope always thought her own things and had her own path. I really like to act; it’s what I want to do.”

Ethan Consignado, age 10, portrayed the captain’s son, Jack Millgan.

“It was easy to identify with the role because I like to read and my character likes to read,” he said. “My favorite scene is the Rocky scene, where the pirates are training to find the treasure.”

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

“This group of kids has been incredible to work with,” commented Pamperin, who also directed the play. “From the very first audition, I knew we had something special when I was having a hard time deciding who to cast in what parts because they were all so talented.”

“Every single note I’ve given them, they’ve taken on within seconds and they’ve created a truly unique experience,” she continued. “All of the hard work that the kids put into every rehearsal culmination in an amazing production. I was incredibly proud to watch their work and I know that they were proud as well.”

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Arts For All Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford and many of the BAFA board members, along with BUSD officials and Miller Principal Judy Hession, attended Thursday’s show in the school auditorium. Students from the New York Film Academy filmed the rehearsals and behind the scenes work during the final week of production, along with the entire performance opening night.

A BAFA grant helped Pamperin stage the performance. Pamperin mentioned that studies have shown theater programs can result in faster and more thorough English proficiency achievement for young English Language Learners.

“Many of my students have been ELL at some point,” commented Pamperin. “But, by fourth and fifth grade, all of my students have been reclassified as English proficient.”

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

(Photo By Ross A. Benson)

Miller’s English Language Learners total 32% of the student population currently, according to ELD Office Specialist Ana Arzumanyan. That percentage includes children who have been reclassified as English proficient, as they are tracked for two years following proficiency achievement.

Miller Elementary’s teachers, supported by grants from BAFA, have integrated arts and theater instruction into daily classroom work. Recently, National Endowment for the Arts Chair Jane Chu and several officials from the L.A. County Arts Commission, visited Miller Elementary to see their state-honored arts programs in action.

BAFA Forum Discusses Creative Industry Future

Innovation, technology and the future of the creative industry focused the attention of panelists and attendees at the most recent Burbank Arts For All Foundation (BAFA) Creative Circles forum. Held at the Colony Theatre, the BAFA forum featured perspectives from Burbank Unified’s Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Development and Implementation Sharon Cuseo, special effects designer Darnell Isom, Vice President of Entertainment at 3D Systems Karl Meyer and Nickelodeon Animation Studios Technical Producer Christopher Young.

Much of the discussion from the open Q&A session centered on the skills, tools and preparation needed for high school and college students to enter the technology-laden fields of media, entertainment and creative industries.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“There are many, many talented people here in California, working in their fields for many more years,” acknowledge Isom, a special effects designer at Legacy Effects, noting that it can seem daunting for people to break in to creative fields.

Isom started as a runner and then became a mold maker. He took classes at night and taught himself computer programs. Isom talked with more established designers, and asked for small opportunities to prove himself, to contribute as a designer. His persistence and dedication to learning computer programs and new technology led him to his position as a special effects designer, working on films including Avengers, Iron Man, Avatar, and Pacific Rim.

Burbank Mayor David Gordon with Panelist Darnell Isom. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Mayor David Gordon with Panelist Darnell Isom. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Computer programming in the creative industries is vital, added Young. He expressed excitement about the harnessing of game engine technology as a platform for students to tell stories and learn to design.

“The barrier to entry is almost nonexistent,” said Meyer. “There’s some cost but it’s not prohibitive like in the past.”

BAFA Members Alexandra White Helfrich, Carrie Pascall Brown, and panelist Darnell Isom, Sharon Cuseo,Christopher Young, Moderator , Karl Meyer. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

BAFA Members Alexandra White Helfrich, Carrie Pascall Brown, and panelist Darnell Isom, Sharon Cuseo,Christopher Young, Moderator , Karl Meyer. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Meyer also emphasized that living in the Burbank area, in the center of creative industries, is a great advantage.

“Having the right attitude and not a sense of entitlement” is also key, according to Meyer, along with being prepared to contribute and be a valuable employee.

All the panelists agreed that one of the most crucial pieces of technology students should learn to use are 3D printers. Coding was also brought up as an important skill for the emerging job market.

Cuseo briefly talked about the development of classes at both Burroughs and Burbank High Schools to specifically address the technology and skills requirements of careers in the 21st century. She mentioned the California Career Pathways grant BUSD received along with other area high schools and colleges of the Verdugo Creative Technologies Consortium, funding curriculum and teacher development.

Darnell Isom and Sharon Cuseo. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Darnell Isom and Sharon Cuseo. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The BAFA forum was attended by Burbank Mayor Dr. David Gordon, City Councilmember and candidate Emily Gabel-Luddy, City Council candidate Chris Rizzotti, City Council candidate Juan Guillen, City Manager Mark Scott and City Treasurer and Vice Chair of the Verdugos Workforce Investment Board Debbie Kukta.

Burbank Unified Board of Education President Roberta Reynolds, Board of Education member Dave Kemp, BUSD, Board of Education member–elect Steve Ferguson, Board of Education candidate Greg Sousa and BUSD Superintendent Dr. Jan Britz also attended, along with Gary Olson, President of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Verdugos Workforce Investment Board.

“What an inspiring evening! Through our Creative Circles Forum, Burbank Arts for All Foundation’s goal is to provide a bridge where our local public school district, city officials, parents, artists and business leaders can begin to identify commonalities to further Burbank’s healthy community and creative economy,” commented BAFA Executive Director Trena Pitchford.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“We are in a moment of opportunity where our school district is implementing digital media and digital manufacturing courses for our tenth through twelfth -graders and our local employers are seeing a need for qualified employees in the creative tech industries.”

“I was so impressed with the innovation represented in each of our expert panelist’s career history,”  added Pitchford. “With guidance from experts like these, we hope that our students will have the resources and education to find their career pathway today so that they can succeed tomorrow.”

BAFA will post a list of resources for parents and students recommended by the panelists online in the next few days at  http://www.burbankartsforall.org/creative-circles-forum.

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)