Tag Archives: Burbank Arts for All Foundation

Burbank Arts For All Foundation Executive Director Plans Move To Another Advocacy Group

Burbank Arts For All Foundation has announced that Executive Director Trena Pitchford, who’s been with the Foundation for eight years, will resign from her role on Friday, October 11.

Pitchford joined the Foundation in 2011 as Director of Development and became Executive Director in 2014.

“During her tenure, Trena has helped usher in new strategic plans in partnership with the Board of Directors, built new valuable partnerships with donors, parent leaders and businesses, helped improve and stabilize internal operations and organizational processes, among many other accomplishments,” Jill Vander Borght and Tom Vice, Co-Chairs of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, stated in a media release.

Shown on a digital monitor is Tim Pipher, owner of LA Castle Studios, and Burbank Arts For All Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford during Creative Circles Forum on “The Art of Stagecraft.” ( Photo by Ross A Benson)

“Trena leaves Burbank Arts for All Foundation in a strong position for continued growth, and we sincerely thank her for her contribution and leadership in her time here. The Board wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavors.”

“After eight years with Burbank Arts for All Foundation, I recently submitted my resignation to the Board of Directors in order to spend more time with my family and pursue new challenges,” commented Pitchford. “The decision for my transition did not come easily as I am extremely proud of the work that the Foundation’s staff, board, donors and volunteers have accomplished together during the past eight years.”

Pictured from L to R: Ariel Van Pelt (Friends of the LA River), Trena Pitchford (Burbank Arts For All), Barbara Winn (At&t), Assemblymember Mike Gatto, Damian Kevitt (Streets Are For Everyone), JC Holt (Burbank YMCA).
Photo By: Edward Tovmassian

“I give my deepest gratitude to all who have been so supportive of the organization and of me personally over the years. I am honored to have been the leader of this incredible organization and will watch with much excitement and anticipation as it continues to support creative learning opportunities for Burbank Unified’s students.”

In mid-October, Pitchford will become Executive Director of Jane Seymour’s Open Hearts Foundation, “a social impact accelerator with a mission of empowering emerging and growing nonprofit organizations.”

“The Foundation’s board of directors is very sad to see Trena go, but exceptionally proud of everything she has done in support of the students of BUSD,” Vander Borght also said.

Burbank Arts For All Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford, Assemblymember Laura Friedman and Foundation Board member Suzanne Weerts celebrate the honor of the 43rd Assembly District’s 2019 Nonprofit of the Year on the floor of the Assembly chamber. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Arts for All Foundation)

“That said, we are currently working with Trena and the board to carry out a transition plan, which will include new leadership,” she added. “Trena leaves big shoes to fill. Thankfully Tom and I have a strong, capable, passionate board behind us committed to ensuring the mission of our organization is carried out without any bumps or gaps.”

The Burbank Arts For All Foundation recently held its 2019 Fall Community Exchange and is currently in the midst of its 24th grant cycle, providing arts-related funding for Burbank Unified School District programs.

The next event, Beers and Bites, is an evening out to benefit the Foundation and will honor Pitchford’s work for the organization. Beers and Bites will be held at Gordon Biersch in downtown Burbank on October 10, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Burbank Unified Administrators Discuss Need For More Funding, Successful Arts Programs

Burbank Unified Superintendent Matt Hill and Arts & CTE Coordinator Peggy Flynn were the featured speakers at the Fall 2019 Burbank Arts For All Foundation Community Exchange. They spoke about the need for additional funding to retain programs the district has supported in recent years, and highlighted the growth of music, digital media and drama/musical theater programs at three schools.

Hosted by L.A. Castle Studios, the event was attended by teachers, principals and school district officials, along with parents, members of the local community, business owners and board members of the Burbank Arts For All Foundation.

Burbank Arts For All Foundation held the Fall 2019 Community Exchange to highlight financial challenges faced by Burbank Unified School District and arts-related programs that have grown at the school in the past decade. (Photo By Ross Benson)

The focus of the Community Exchange was the need for increased funding for the Burbank Unified School District, which needs to cut $1 – 3 million dollars annually for the foreseeable future, due to rising pension, benefits and other costs.

Burbank Unified cut several administrative positions at the district office and at some of the schools, in an attempt to meet the 2019-20 budget $3 million dollar shortfall. The elementary school music program, which had been on the chopping block, was saved for the current school year by donations raised in large part by the Burbank Arts For All Foundation and local business partners.

Hill decried the lack of funding per pupil from the State of California, noting that California spends half the amount many states, such as New Jersey, spend per pupil. California will pay local school districts $11,993 per student for 2019-20, ranking 41st in spending per pupil out of 50 states.

Burbank Unified Superintendent Matt Hill talks about school funding crisis at the Burbank Arts For All Foundation Community Exchange. (Photo By Ross Benson)

The solution to the budget shortfall as Hill and many BUSD officials see it, is a March 2020 parcel tax initiative that aims to raise approximately $9 million dollars annually if passed.

A parcel tax on the November 2018 ballot failed to pass by less than 1000 votes and Hill believes more voters in Burbank can be convinced to support the March 2020 measure which includes a 12-year sunset clause and options for those over 65 to opt out of paying the additional tax.

Hill said the average cost for homeowners in Burbank would amount to $14/per month, if the parcel tax passes in March.

Hill emphasized he is willing to talk to anyone about the reasons for the parcel tax and encouraged attendees and community members to ask questions and discuss the parcel tax initiative often in the coming weeks.

Flynn highlighted three programs that have been nurtured and developed over the past decade: the music program at Providencia Elementary, the digital media program at John Muir Middle School and the drama and musical theater program at John Burroughs High School.

Burbank Unified Arts & CTE Coordinator Peggy Flynn talks about successful music, digital media and theater programs at BUSD schools. (Photo By Ross Benson)

She also noted that in the past decade, the Burbank Board of Education’s support and funding of arts program increased from 1% of the budget to 5%.

Providencia Elementary was able to partner with Education Through Music – Los Angeles to bring an in-school and after school orchestra program to every fourth- and fifth-grader at the school, while expanding the weekly regular music classes to include more grades at the school. Typically, BUSD has supported a weekly music class for grades 2-5 at its elementary schools, and only a few schools have a string orchestra program.

“It’s a beacon of our school,” commented Providencia Principal Jen Culbertson, who highlighted that student excitement for participating in the string orchestra and learning to play a violin, viola or cello was extremely high.

Muir’s digital media program started with one class period and has grown to have its own dedicated teacher and an ongoing mentoring partnership with Nickelodeon Animation Studio. Currently, all three Burbank Unified middle schools have digital media programs with dedicated teachers.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

Muir Principal Greg Miller talked about the growth of the program and noted the three middle schools get together annually for a Tri-School Film Festival at which the students share their films.

Burroughs’ drama and musical theater program has grown as well, from a few class periods daily to support a full day of classes including Drama 1, Drama 2, Play Production and Musical Theater. Flynn noted that Warner Bros. was an early and strong supporter of the program as it grew and changed when teacher Guy Myers took over the drama program several years ago.

Myers, who is the 2019 Burbank Teacher of the Year, spoke about the positive impact participating in drama and musical theater has had on his students, reading some of their poignant comments aloud for the audience.

“I can’t think of a single reason to be open about who you are in high school. It must seem a bit of a played-out trope, hating high school. But it’s a trope I’m guilty of,” wrote one of Myers’ students. “I felt I had to put on an armor every day to get through the day. The armor held all the parts of me that made me individual.”

“I don’t know how Mr. Myers did it. He created a space freeing in a place that is anything but. He nurtured creativity, honesty, self-expression of his students in his classes. He created a space where young people felt safe to try out who they were for an hour of the day. My education comes from the experience of being open in the sight of others.”

(Photo By Ross Benson)

The program concluded with Foundation Community Outreach Chair Brenda Etterbeek and Arts Advocacy Leaders Jennie Ford and Erin Clendenin discussing effective ways for parents to get involved at their respective school sites, by engaging with the school’s PTA, Principal and School Site Council.

A video recording of the 2019 Community Exchange is available for viewing via the Burbank Arts For All Foundation’s Facebook page here.

More information on how California’s education system works and is funded can be found on the Ed 100 site. Hill encouraged all Burbank community members to visit the website to learn more.


Disney Fêtes Burbank Arts For All Foundation Supporters

The Walt Disney Studios hosted a celebratory event on Thursday, July 11, for donors, sponsors, partners, board members and city and school officials who supported the Burbank Arts For All Foundation’s Give Instead Gala. The Give Instead Gala, held from April 12 through May 10, raised funds for the Foundation’s efforts to support arts education in Burbank public schools.

Approximately 150 people attended the summer fête on the Disney studios lot in Burbank. Joan McCarthy, Director, Enterprise Community Engagement for The Walt Disney Company, welcomed the attendees to the evening event, which also included a silent auction.

burbank arts for all foundation

Burbank Arts For All Foundation supporters celebrate the success of the Give Instead Gala 2019: (from left to right) Suzanne Weerts, Kevin McCarney, Karen Volpei-Gussow, Lili Rossi, Freddy Jarjour, Joan McCarthy, Alexandra Helfrich, Barbara Beckley, Jill Vander Borght, Tom Vice, Carrie Brown, Bob Mohler, Brenda Etterbeek, Trena Pitchford, Cathy Stevens. (Photo By Ross Benson)

“The Foundation is very grateful to The Walt Disney Company for hosting this celebratory evening,” commented Burbank Arts For All Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford. “We are also extremely grateful to the community of Burbank for believing in the Foundation’s work, investing in our mission and volunteering to join us in support BUSD’s Arts for All plan.”

“All funds raised from our Give Instead Gala will be put to work through our Fall grant cycle and community outreach efforts in the 2019-2020 school year!” she added. “Everyone is invited to become involved.”

Tom Vice and Jill Vander Borght, co-chairs of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, also spoke at the event.

“Because of your donations to the Give Instead Gala, we are looking forward to providing even more funding for arts education programs through our upcoming Fall Grant Cycle,” Vice said as he addressed the crowd. “We will continue to support teachers who need critical supplies or to help mitigate any additional cuts to current arts education programs at the school site level.”

“The Foundation will also continue our community outreach programs and advocacy work. These programs help parents as they learn how to be solution partners and advocates at their school site,” he said. “We also inform and engage the community about the critical needs facing public education right here in Burbank today.”

burbank arts for all foundation

The Walt Disney Company’s Director, Enterprise Community Engagement, Joan McCarthy welcomes Burbank Arts For All Foundation’s Give Instead Gala supporters to a celebration on the studio lot in Burbank. (Photo By Ross Benson)

“The Give Instead Gala was a new way to allow the Foundation to respond to BUSD’s increased need for funding and advocacy support,” commented Vander Borght. “We greatly appreciate everyone’s support in giving to this campaign.”

“We especially want to thank our Presenting [and] Premiere Sponsors: The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Entertainment, NBCUniversal, along with the many other sponsors and donors who are here with us tonight,” she added.

The Give Instead Gala was a new concept for 2019 to replace the Foundation’s annual fundraising event, which had a lot of overhead and systemic expenses. Instead of throwing a costly party and in order to give more money to programs in the Burbank Unified School District, the Foundation asked for direct donations for their campaign and marshalled an army of supporters to spread the word.

While the Give Instead Gala grossed more than $155,000 this year and the Foundation’s Party on the Plaza events grossed over $200,000 in previous years, the Foundation sees the direct donation approach as the more effective.

Although she didn’t answer a query about the actual financial net gain from each event, Pitchford responded, “because we were able to save on our expenses, we have been able to net more [via the Give Instead Gala] and those funds will be put to work this next school year through our grant giving and community outreach programs.”

The Disney-hosted celebration Thursday evening was dotted with poster boards detailing some of the recent projects and programs the Burbank Arts For All Foundation has supported through its semi-annual grant cycle.

“Art in school has the power to change a child’s life and in changing a child’s life we will change the world,” added Vice. “The Foundation believes the arts transform the lives of our students, not just those who elect to study music or theater, but also students who study science or history, those for whom English is a second language and those students who learn best with alternative structures.”

“On this celebratory evening, we honor the ecosystem of parents, civic and community leaders, corporations and small business owners, who believe in our work and join with us to support creativity and innovation in Burbank’s local public schools,” Pitchford said to the audience.

She outlined some of the upcoming Burbank Arts For All Foundation efforts, including the Fall grant application deadline of September 16 and the Autumn Community Exchange. The Community Exchange is a free event the Foundation puts on twice a year and “provide[s] critical updates, round table discussions and ideas to support our local educators and students.”

More information on the Burbank Arts For All Foundation and their mission to support arts education in Burbank public schools can be found online here.


Small Gatherings Boost Give Instead Gala Fundraising Efforts

In the final days of the Give Instead Gala fundraising push by the Burbank Arts For All Foundation, two Burbankers held a small gathering that raised more than $11,000 for the Foundation’s arts education efforts.

Former Burbank Unified School District teacher, Linda Walmsley, and local business owner, Jon Schafer of Schafer Electric, hosted approximately 30 people at Walmsley’s Burbank home on May 9.

Friends and neighbors stopped by the party, depositing their donations for the Foundation in a collection bucket.

Host Jon Schafer, Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford, Host Linda Walmsley and Foundation Board member Suzanne Weerts at a Give Instead Gala home fundraiser. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

Michael Cusumano donated a gift of $5,000 from the Cusumano Family Foundation. Timur Tecimer of Overton Moore Properties, Sue and Vic Georgino and former school board member Larry Applebaum each gave $1,000 for the Give Instead Gala.

“It was wonderful to have so many friends support Jon and me in a cause that makes our city the best it can be for our children and our schools,” commented Walmsley.

Linda Walmsley with former students Casey and Cole Black and Astrid Newman. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

Two of Walmsley’s former students, Cole and Casey Black, also visited the party and added their donation to the cause.

“We so appreciate Linda and Jon taking the initiative to host such a lovely evening for Burbank Arts for All Foundation,” commented Foundation Board member Karen Volepi-Gussow. “There are so many worthwhile organizations in Burbank, and we appreciate the time and effort they gave to support our Give Instead Gala campaign!”

All proceeds from the Give Instead Gala benefits the Burbank Arts for All Foundation, which has worked in partnership with Burbank Unified School District for more than 12 years. The Foundation has made 298 grants and giving initiatives for BUSD arts education programs, totaling $662,000, over the years.

“Burbank Arts for All Foundation is so very grateful to the more than 300 donors, sponsors and community leaders – like Linda and Jon – who have joined us for the Give Instead Gala!” said Trena Pitchford, Executive Director for Burbank Arts for All Foundation. “To date, the Give Instead Gala revenue grossed more than $148,000 through donations and the online auction.”

“Our donors inspire us to continue our work throughout 2019. As we announced in February, the Foundation plans to give more to BUSD arts education through our community outreach programs and site based grant giving that will help teachers and impact students!” Pitchford added.

“The Foundation has been a committed partner of BUSD’s Arts for All master plan for more than 12 years and we intend to continue our work in the years to come.”


Burbank Unified Superintendent Talks About School Budget Concerns At Community Exchange

Burbank Unified School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matt Hill is the featured speaker at the Burbank Arts For All Foundation Spring Community Exchange on Wednesday, May 8, at 9:30 a.m. in the Community Services Building, Room 104.

“We invite the community to come together and support Burbank Unified in their time of need,” commented Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford. “Join us to engage in a robust conversation and receive actionable steps that you can take to make a difference in the lives of students.”

Information about the event can be found on the Foundation website here.

Image Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation

Arda Tchakian, District Representative for State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (District 25), District Director Sarojini Lall and Maria Azilazian, Field Representative for CA State Assemblymember Laura Friedman (District 43) will give a State level arts education overview.

Hill will then talk about the BUSD budget and arts education sustainability.

Carol Briggs, Burbank Council PTA President, will then talk about advocacy and Burbank School Boosters Association President Jen Lurie will give an update.

Pitchford will talk for a few minutes about how the Foundation is addressing the budget cuts and concerns in Burbank public schools.

A Q&A session will be held after Caroline Solberg and Paula Trubisky go over some steps community members and school stakeholders can take right away to support efforts for increased funding for Burbank schools.


Burbank Arts For All Foundation Nears May 10 Deadline

The Burbank Arts For All Foundation has raised nearly $100,000 in recent weeks to support arts education in Burbank public schools for their Give Instead Gala. With just 10 days remaining in the month-long campaign, the Foundation makes a renewed push to raise additional funds in hopes of meeting their $200,000 goal by May 10.

The Foundation announced on April 12 that instead of throwing a fancy party with a lot of overhead, they were focusing efforts to encourage people and local businesses to make direct donations to support arts grants for the Burbank Unified School District, calling the campaign the Give Instead Gala.

“Burbank Arts for All Foundation is inspired by all of the stories shared by donors during its Give Instead Gala emphasizing the importance of arts education in a student’s school day,” commented Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford. “These stories make it clear that many adults living and working in Burbank benefited from the arts when they were young, and they want the same creative experiences for children in school today.”

burbank arts for all foundation

(Back row left to right) Foundation Board members Suzanne Weerts, Freddy Jarjour, Bob Mohler, Tom Vice, Carrie Brown, Karen Broderick, Cathy Stevens, Patrick Prescott. (Front row left to right) Board members Debbie Kukta, Caroline Solberg, Karen Volpei-Gussow, Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford, Board members Alexandra Helfrich, Jill Vander Borght, Art St. Germain, Lili Rossi, Barbara Beckley, Kevin McCarney. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Arts for All Foundation)

Twelve Burbank teams have also been created to network and help with the direct donation campaign.

“Thanks to our team captains and all our donors we are almost half way to our goal! We invite everyone to join us and share why you support arts education, the Foundation’s work, or help a team reach their goal!”

More information and personal stories about the ways the arts have affected donors and the fundraising team captains can be found at this link.

The Burbank Arts For All Foundation is also running an online silent auction, with information on the items and ability to bid located at this link. Concert tickets, yoga classes, garden tours, music, art, vacations and more are all available for bidding through May 12.

Direct donations can be made online here. All donations are tax-deductible. The funds raised from the Give Instead Gala will go to support the Foundation’s grants, which specifically fund arts education for Burbank public schools.

Recently, the Foundation announced a grant of $100,000 to save one of the elementary music teacher positions, which had been on the chopping block as Burbank Unified faces a budget shortfall for the coming 2019-20 school year.

“Give Instead Gala” Kicks Off Fundraising Efforts For Burbank Public Schools

The Burbank Arts For All Foundation kicks off the Give Instead Gala, a month-long campaign to raise funds to support Burbank Unified School District’s arts programs, on Friday, April 12.

While the Foundation’s annual Party on the Plaza spring gala has earned a reputation as a stylish and entertaining evening to raise funds, its costly overhead takes a big bite out of donations and sponsorships for the event, reducing the amount the Foundation is able to donate to BUSD.

Image Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation

In order to boost the amount of funding they can provide Burbank Unified in the face of the district’s mounting financial need, Burbank Arts For All Foundation has put forth the “black tie optional, pajamas preferred” month-long fundraising effort, calling it the Give Instead Gala.

“On behalf of our Board of Directors and staff, Burbank Arts for All Foundation is excited to engage the community in support of our mission to further creativity in the classroom for all of BUSD’s students,” commented Board of Directors Co-Chairs, Jill Vander Borght and Tom Vice. “With so many increased funding needs in the local schools, we could not justify spending money on our fancy night out this year.”

In February, we were thrilled to grant $100,000 to help save an elementary music teacher, but we know there is more work to do,” they added. “Help the Foundation to spend less this gala season, so we can give more throughout 2019. We invite the community to join us, to link arms and to give in support of the arts.”

Burbank Arts For ALl Foundation Donates $100,000 to help save a Burbank Unified elementary music teacher’s job. Pictured: Burbank Unified School District Board of Education Clerk Steve Frintner, Burbank Unified School District Board of Education member Charlene Tabet, Burbank Unified School District Board of Education President Dr. Roberta Reynolds, Superintendent Dr. Matt Hill, Jill Vander Borght and Tom Vice (Co-Chairs, Board of Directors of Burbank Arts for All Foundation), Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford and members of the Burbank Arts for All Foundation Board of Directors: Brenda Etterbeek, Bob Mohler, Joan McCarthy, Lili Rossi, Cathy Stevens, Suzanne Weerts, Barbara Beckley, Caroline Solberg, Art St. Germain. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

The Give Instead Gala campaign suggests those who would usually spend money on tickets (which were typically $150 each), donations and sponsorships for the Party on the Plaza event, instead spend that amount in a direct donation to the Burbank Arts For All Foundation.

The campaign also suggests individuals or organizations could host a fundraising gathering on their own, create and promote a fundraising team online or make bids on the online auction which begins Friday, April 26. Items available for the online auction can be found here.

“We invite all of Burbank and those who care about Burbank students to become involved,” commented Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford. “With so much need, the Foundation wants to increase our impact, making it possible for even more students to experience the joy, creativity, and confidence that comes from learning through the arts!”

Burbank Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Matt Hill, Burbank Board of Education President Dr. Roberta Reynolds, Burbank Arts for All Foundation Co-Chairs Jill Vander Borght and Tom Vice during an announcement that they are donating $100,000 to aid the elementary school music program. ( Photo by Ross A Benson)

“We are counting on the more than 400 of Burbank’s local business and entertainment industry leaders, School District and City officials, celebrities, local arts supporters and educators who would normally attend our Party for the Arts gala, to get creative, party in your pajamas and share why you support the arts!” she added.

All proceeds from the Give Instead Gala benefits the Burbank Arts for All Foundation. Over the past 12 years, the Foundation has been able to fund 298 grants totaling more than $662,000 for BUSD arts education programs.

The Burbank Arts For All Foundation also hosts regular community engagement exchanges and forums to boost parent involvement and support student growth in the arts and arts-related careers, including the popular Creative Circles forum. The most recent Creative Circles Forum was held in October 2018 and experts talked about “The Art of Stagecraft.”

Panelists KayDee Lavorin Friel (two-time Emmy nominated set decorator), Jim Bissell (award-winning art director and production designer), Karen Broderick (Stage Craft Technology teacher at Burbank High School), Lily LaRocco (Vice President of Technical Services for Warner Bros. Studio Facilities) and Tim Pipher (producer and owner of L.A. Castle Studios) sat on a green screen set for “The Art of Stagecraft” educational Creative Circles forum presented by the Burbank Arts For All Foundation. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

Current Give Instead Gala sponsors include The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Entertainment, NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon, Logix Federal Credit Union, Providence Saint Joseph, FotoKem, House America Financial, and Woodbury University.

The Give Instead Gala is co-chaired by Joan McCarthy (The Walt Disney Company), Karen Volpei (Volpei-Gussow Real Estate), Carrie Brown ( The Walt Disney Company), Writer/Producer Suzanne Weerts and Cathy Stevens {Real Value Properties, Inc.)

More information on the Give Instead Gala can be found on the Foundation’s website here. Digital advertising and other sponsorship opportunities are available, with more information on the fundraising announcement and effort found here.

The Give Instead Gala runs through Friday, May 10.

Autumn Art Soirée Raises Funds To Support Creativity In Burbank Public Schools

More than 350 people attended Burbank Arts For All Foundation’s Autumn Art Soirée on Saturday, November 3. Visitors to the fundraiser purchased a variety of pieces from the hundreds of prints, sculptures and original works of art on display. Proceeds from the event support the Foundation’s mission to help fund arts-related programs in Burbank public schools.

In previous years, the Foundation held the Secret Art Show, which showcased miniature works of art by everyone in the community from students to celebrities to professional animators and artists. Once a specific piece of art was purchased, the artist was revealed to the buyer.

For 2018, the Foundation changed things up a bit, partnering with two local art organizations, ACME Archives, Ltd, and Burbank Art Association, to provide art for purchase at the event. Pieces were available for $40 and upwards and the artist of each work was identified.

Photo by © Ross A Benson

“We are grateful to have partners like ACME Archives, Burbank Art Association, and our host, the Burbank Town Center, to support our fall fundraising event,” commented Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford. “Our mission is strengthened by the community’s support and we look forward to putting these critical funds to work in the coming year.”

“As a Burbank based, multi-national, small business we at ACME were very proud to be a part of the Autumn Art Soirée,” commented Lisa McLain, President and CEO of ACME Archives, Ltd. “We met a lot of great people from the community and had a wonderful time being part of such worthwhile event.”

“We do events all over the world and I can say without a doubt, Trena and her staff were one of the most organized and dedicated groups we’ve worked with. A big thanks to her and her team.”

Photo by © Ross A Benson

The Burbank Town Center hosted the event in the former Sport Chalet space, with the Foundation’s team putting in the work to transform the vacant space into a “fun, funky lounge party,” according to Pitchford.

“Burbank Town Center is proud to support the Burbank Arts for All Foundation and is always looking for creative ways to partner with the organization,” said Michael I. de Leon, General Manager of the Burbank Town Center.

“We are grateful they chose our venue to host the Autumn Art Soirée, and truly transformed the event space to make it their own.  We look forward to supporting and continuing to create unique events with them in the years to come.”

Photo by © Ross A Benson

Wine donated by Whole Foods and craft beer donated by Lincoln Beer Company added to the event, along with hors d’oeuvres served by Sandra’s Traveling Kitchen. Live music was performed by Burbank High’s Jazz Ensemble.

Live art demos were provided by American Master Carbon-Pencil Artist and 2012 ArtPrize winner, Adonna Khare, veteran illustrator, painter and storyteller Cliff Cramp, ceramicist and instructor Michael Hirsh and fine art painter, director and designer Guy Vasilovich.

While Burbank Unified School District has the Arts For All plan, the Burbank Arts For All Foundation is a separate nonprofit entity with its own staff. The similarity in name has caused some confusion, among parents, the community and the media, over the years, as the BUSD Arts For All plan has grown the arts within the district since its adoption in 2004.

Photo by © Ross A Benson

Since 2006, the Foundation has raised funds to run the nonprofit from events held throughout the year. To date, the Foundation has awarded approximately $544,000 in grants.

Teachers and administrators from within Burbank Unified are able to write grants requesting one-time funds for specific programs, such as building mini golf courses in middle school geometry class or supporting elementary school plays. In October 2017, the Foundation donated $10,000 to the BUSD Music Is Instrumental campaign to repair and replace instruments district-wide.

The funds from the Foundation are typically just one of the sources of funding that teachers draw from to enrich their classes and students with arts and creativity. Generally, school site funds and BUSD Arts For All plan funds support most of the arts related programs throughout Burbank Unified.

The Foundation provides a vital role in funding arts enrichment for everything from math, science and CTE (Career Technical Education) classes to language arts, social studies and the arts.

Adding creativity components and the arts to academic and STEM classes increases engagement and interest for students, according to numerous reports that have been published over the years, while promoting innovation, communication, collaboration and design-thinking.

Photo by © Ross A Benson

More information on the impact and work of the Foundation, along with their upcoming events, can be found on their website.

As of publication time, the net amount raised by the Autumn Art Soirée for the Foundation was not yet available.

United States Congressman Adam Schiff, State Assemblymember Laura Friedman, BUSD Board of Education Clerk Steve Frintner and Burbank’s Vice Mayor Sharon Springer attended the Autumn Art Soirée, along with members of the community including students, actors, artists, parents and business leaders. Board of Education member Charlene Tabet volunteered at the event along with several other students, parents and community members.


Autumn Art Soiree Raises Funds For Burbank Arts For All Foundation

The Burbank Arts For All Foundation holds a new twist on their fall fundraiser with the Autumn Art Soiree on Saturday evening, November 3, at the Burbank Town Center. Artists from ACME Archives and the Burbank Art Association have donated originals and limited edition prints, which will be available for purchase at $40 and up.

For several past years, Burbank Arts For All Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises funds specifically for Burbank Unified arts-connected programs, held the Secret Art Show, at which celebrities, local officials, community members and students created mini works of art that were purchased, artist-unknown, for the flat fee of $40.

Art by ACME Archives artists will be available for purchase at the Autumn Art Soiree. (Image Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

“We invite the entire community to pop in and enjoy the Autumn Art Soiree!” commented Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford. “This year, we have no secrets as there will be a variety of works of art – of all sizes – available from local artists to the most established artists!”

“We are so excited to offer this fun night out to further our mission in supporting creativity in the classroom for public school students in Burbank,” she added.

Art by members of the Burbank Art Association will be available for purchase at the Autumn Art Soiree. (Image Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

Live art demonstrations by Adonna Khare (American Master carbon-pencil artist and 2012 ArtPrize Winner), Cliff Cramp (veteran illustrator, painter and storyteller), Michael Hirsch (ceramicist and instructor) and Guy Vasilovich (fine art painter, director and designer) will be ongoing throughout the evening.

A Burbank High jazz trio will open the event. Tickets are $20 for general admission and BUSD student tickets are $15.

More information on tickets and sponsorships can be found online here. A preview of ACME Archives art available can be seen here. A preview of Burbank Art Association artwork can be viewed here.

The Autumn Art Soiree runs from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m. The event will be held in the space formerly occupied by Sport Chalet at the Burbank Town Center mall located at 201 E. Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank.

Burbank Arts For All Foundation Celebrates a Successful Year At Gala

The Burbank Arts For All Foundation held its “Party for the Arts” gala fundraiser last Friday at the Globe Theatre at Universal Studios Hollywood, honoring NBCUniversal, Guy Myers, and Penny & Michael Zambrano.

The Burbank Arts For All Foundation’s Board of Directors. (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

It was also a celebration, and the capacity crowd of 450 had much to cheer about.  Since the Foundation’s founding in 2006, 19 Burbank school campuses have received 290 Foundation grants totaling more than $482,000.  More recently, the Foundation has partnered with BUSD to support BUSD’s schoolyear-long “Music Is Instrumental” campaign to repair or replace musical instruments in BUSD’s middle and high schools. “Music is Instrumental” has garnered wide community support, including the “1,000 for $100”, fundraising effort led by Linda Walmsley, Michael Cusumano and Michael Hastings.

A highlight of the night was the announcement from BUSD Board of Education Clerk, Dr. Armond Aghakhanian, that Fifth District LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger will make a $25,000 contribution to BUSD’s “Music Is Instrumental Campaign.”  With this contribution, the campaign is just $8,000 shy of its fundraising target of $120,000.  BAFA asked all the guests to save the date for BUSD’s “Music Is Instrumental” benefit concert at Burbank High on May 11th.

Since the beginning of BUSD’s Arts for All plan adoption, the opportunities for students to learn in creative and innovative ways has increased. In the last few years, Burbank Unified School District secured a $1.6 million State grant to support career technical education programs in areas like hospitality, nursing, finance, digital media and digital technology and theater and studio technical support—all areas offering plenty of job opportunities in the Southern California markets. Indeed, students have gone on to professional careers as studio technicians, after having run sound and light for high school productions on state-of-the-art equipment.

At the Gala, NBC4’s popular weathercaster and Master of Ceremonies Fritz Coleman opened with his trademark quipping about the Southern California weather.  “It’s in the sixties. We call it the polar vortex.”  Shifting to a more serious note he said, “In many schools, one of the first budgets to get trimmed is the arts budget.”  So Coleman was offering more than pro forma gratitude when he thanked the entertainment industry for making the Foundation gala “one of the most inspirational events of the year.” And small wonder.  According to the 2016 Otis report, one in four jobs in Los Angeles County is in the creative industries. 

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Foundation Board of Director Co-Chairs Jill Vander Borght and Tom Vice added their thanks and, in memory of the late Mayor Will Rogers, invited the audience “to think of a moment that makes you smile.” (They noted that Mayor Rogers had created more than his share of those moments.)

Stevenson 5th Grader Audrey Contreras ( Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The SPLASH party band added to the gala’s festive atmosphere, and, post-ceremonies, encouraged more than a few guests to dance away the evening.  But SPLASH was upstaged by two very special performers. Burroughs High student and composer Yoni Fogelman performed his original jazz piece “Free Trade”.  “I like to compose for film, so Burbank’s a good place to be,” said Fogelman, responding to Coleman’s question about his future plans. Stevenson Elementary student and songbird Audrey Contreras made the melodies soar.  She told Coleman that she had no favorite performer as yet. But it was already clear to him she was well on her way to finding her own voice.

Fogelman’s and Contreras’ performances reminded the audience of the ultimate reason for arts education: human flourishing rather than withering, talent blossoming rather than remaining undiscovered. Dedicated parents, teachers and corporate sponsors leverage each dollar a thousand fold with their countless hours of volunteer effort; hence, the Foundation’s annual tradition of honoring them.

Trena Pitchford presents Penny and Michael Zambrano The Champion of the Arts Award. ( Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Penny and Michael Zambrano are the Champion of the Arts Honorees for being constant, active arts education volunteers for over 15 years. “We love these kids and the arts,” said Penny. “And that’s why we volunteer,” added Michael.  Another impetus to volunteer came from their son and daughter, who loved participating in show choirs and dance teams.  (Next month their son will earn a CalArts BFA in dance and choreography.)

Early on, Michael and Penny promised themselves that they would support arts education for all Burbank students.  And so they held volunteer leadership roles in various fundraising and arts education programs for BUSD schools including Thomas Jefferson Elementary, John Muir Middle School, and Burbank High.  They routinely go the extra mile to support the Foundation, be it lending a hand or raising funds. As a family team, they’ve been a caring cheer squad for countless students. And the kids love them back.

Trena Pitchford presents Guy Myers his award (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Guy Myers was the Arts for All Educator Honoree for the life-changing impact he has had on his Burroughs High theater students both personally and through his award-winning program. The California Educational Theatre Association awarded his program with Top Honors for “The Crucible” (2010), “Flowers for Algernon” (2015) and “The Laramie Project” (2018) as well as an Artistic Merit Award for “Peter and the Starcatcher” (2017).  Many of Myers’ students have received regional and national acting and production awards and have moved on to prestigious collegiate theatrical programs around the world. Recently, Myers has been instrumental in creating a musical theater program at Burroughs.

Myers wants his students “to be comfortable in their own skin.”  When people ask him how he connects with his students, he says that he “shows them that they have a unique and powerful story to share.”  He supports “students exploring and expressing their creativity that gives back to the world in a magical way,” A touch of magic was involved in Myers’ selection of Burroughs High.  After years of freelance work in high school and colleges as a guest artist, he drove past Burroughs one day and “decided that’s where he was going to teach drama.”

Host Fritz Coleman, NBC Vice President Scott Strobel is awarded by Trena Pitchford. ( Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Senior Vice President Operations Universal Studios Hollywood, Scott Strobl accepted the Patron of the Arts Award on behalf of NBCUniversal, which has a corporate commitment to giving back to the communities where their employees live and work. “This is our lifeblood!” exclaims Strobl, referring to the industry’s ongoing need for creative talent. “And a quality arts education truly changes these kids’ lives.” And Strobl knows this first hand as a Burbank resident with school-age children.

As one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies, NBCUniversal has been a source of tremendous support to the Foundation and to the Burbank community. It offers internship and other work-study programs for high school and college students, the better to nurture that crucial supply of talented people combining skill, imagination and a heaping measure of artistic talent.

Coleman continued to cajole contributions from the more-than-willing Foundation guests and egged on the competitive bidding for vacation getaways “Reba Las Vegas!”, ”Bourbon, Baseball, and Bluegrass”, “Escaping to the Big Easy” and more locally, the Geffen Playhouse and Hotel Bel-Air.  (There were dozens of tables’ worth of silent auction items as well.) Though the shekels are still being tallied, it’s clear the fundraising was successful. It needs to be.  About 60% of the Foundation’s revenue comes from its annual gala. The Foundation hopes to grow its fundraising in the next year with planned giving and donations from appreciated stock.

The BUSD School Board and Burbank City Council have supported the Foundation from its inception.  The County became a fan early on. The Foundation has allies at the State level as well.  “I love Burbank Arts For All!” proclaims State Senator Anthony Portatino. “We’re at a time when the State has failed to fully embrace arts funding. To see the community rallying behind the children and these arts programs is just awesome!” State Assembly Member Laura Friedman shares State Senator Portatino’s admiration for the Burbank community’s proactive stance. “Our economy is based on the arts, so investing in the arts is economic development,” she states. “But arts education transcends the economic,” she adds. “It gives young people the tools to deal with their emotions in a healthy way.”

One way or another, the Foundation and the Burbank community will maintain a vibrant arts education. “We want to serve the kids in Burbank even more and inspire Burbank to build the finest arts education program in California,” says Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford. That may well mean that Burbank will have one of the finest arts programs in the nation.

Want to learn more? Contact Trena Pitchford, Executive Director, at 818.736.5269 or trena@burbankartsforall.org.

To View additional pictures from this event go to this link:http://goo.gl/cNdrxn