Tag Archives: Burbank Arts for All Foundation

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



Party For The Arts Gala Honors Three Arts Education Champions

The Burbank Arts for All Foundation seventh annual gala, Party for the Arts, celebrates three leaders of arts education support on Friday evening, April 20, at The Globe Theatre at Universal Studios Hollywood.

The Party for the Arts Gala proceeds will directly benefit the Foundation’s support of Burbank Unified School District efforts to provide arts education to every Burbank public school student.

NBCUniversal will receive the Patron of the Arts Award, John Burroughs High School theater teacher and Drama Department head Guy Myers will be presented with the Arts for All Educator Award and volunteers Penny and Michael Zambrano will be honored with the Champion of the Arts Award.

party for the arts

Peggy and Michael Zambrano dancie at 2016 Party for the Arts Gala. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

“Being a good neighbor is part of the DNA of NBCUniversal,” commented NBCUniversal Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Tracey Cohen.

“We believe it’s not just about moving our business forward; it’s also about moving people forward and giving back. We are proud to support Burbank Arts for All Foundation and help them fulfill their mission to have every child in Burbank receive a quality arts education.”

Michael and I are humbled to receive the Champion for the Arts Award,” said Penny Zambrano. “We believe that when you volunteer you get back more than you give. We encourage more people of Burbank to get involved in the schools.”

 “Receiving an honor like this for something I love doing and that brings me so much joy is truly one of those over the moon moments,” commented Myers. “I am so fortunate to teach passionate and talented students who give it their all and to be supported by dedicated parent and community volunteers who help make it happen.”

Burroughs High Drama teacher Guy Myers and students shown here at the 2017 CETA Awards. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Arts For All Foundation)

“Burbank Arts for All Foundation has been there with us on this journey from the very beginning, making sure that we had the funds necessary to make our productions top notch. When I look back on all of the shows and the wonderful successes we have had, I don’t even see the work anymore, I just see the love.”

Fritz Coleman, NBC4 Southern California Weathercaster, will reprise his role as Master of Ceremonies for the gala. Hosted cocktails, a silent auction and live entertainment will also be part of the festivities.

Sponsorships and tickets are still available for the event. For more information on attending or supporting the Party for the Arts Gala, visit the Foundation’s website here.

“Burbank Arts for All Foundation is thrilled to host a very fun evening at our Party for the Arts Gala, while raising critical funding to support our mission,” commented Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford. “We believe the arts are transformative for kids.”

“Not just the students who elect to study choir or music or dance, but also the students in a geometry or science class, English language learners, and students at BUSD’s alternative learning campuses.”

“We very much appreciate the support of the Burbank community and remain committed to furthering creativity in the classroom for the thousands of kids in Burbank Unified.”


Experts Talk About The Business Of Music

Four experts in their fields from the music industry talked about their experiences getting into the music business and what they look for when hiring people at the Creative Circles Forum The Business of Music.

Held at the Garry Marshall Theatre and presented by the Burbank Arts For All Foundation, the forum was attended by a nearly packed house of students, parents, Burbank Unified teachers and staff and members of the community.

the business of music

L/R Ryan Shore. Charles Inouye, Amy Roach, Bill Bennett and Trena Pitchford. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Chief Business Development and Consultant at B Brands Bill Bennett (also formerly President of Geffen Records, Maverick Records and Warner Bros. Nashville), iHeartMedia Connections VP Amy Roach, two-time Emmy Award winner and Grammy Award nominee composer Ryan Shore and Golden Reel Award-winning music editor Charles Martin Inouye answered questions posed by the audience and by moderator and Burbank Arts For All Foundation Executive Director Trena Pitchford.

“We all know that music programs in schools have a tremendous positive effect on kids,” commented Pitchford. “Kids who practice and perform music demonstrate improvement in a wide variety of areas effecting their academic, social and emotional development.”

L/R Panelists Charles Martin Inouye, Amy Roach, Ryan Shore and Bill Bennett. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“But how can a kid who is inspired to play a tuba in band translate those skills into a career? Burbank Arts for All Foundation was thrilled to bring together over 80 guests including donors, parents, professionals and students to provide practical advice and insight into the many careers involving music right here in Burbank.”

Panelists also talked about the future of their respective fields, from branding, composing and developing individual careers. Intellectual property, Virtual Reality and branded content were some of the future-focused topics panelists touched upon.

14.8 million American artist-creators earned almost $6 billion from posting their music, videos, art, crafts and other works online in 2016, according to a report recently released by the Re:create Coalition.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

After the hour-long discussion, the students and other members of the audience spoke with the panelists one-on-one at a reception.

“Thanks to a generous sponsorship from Poquito Mas, kids from John Burroughs and Burbank High schools attended the evening for free and were inspired by our expert panel,” Pitchford added.

“These special opportunities validate their instincts as they begin to plan life after high school. The Foundation is incredibly honored to support students as well as Burbank’s creative economy by connecting public education with creative experts in Burbank.”

“Burbank Arts for All Foundation hosts Creative Circles Forum conversations twice a year to bring our community together in support of the arts, arts education and creative innovation in Burbank,” Pitchford also said.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

She noted The Business of Music forum was presented “in support of BUSD’s Music Is Instrumental campaign… [to connect] vocal and instrumental music programs in BUSD to career pathways with some of the top businesses in Burbank.”

To date, the BUSD Music Is Instrumental campaign has raised more than $81,000 towards the initial, 2017-18 goal of $120,000 for instrumental repair and replacement at the district’s secondary schools. A number of community efforts, including 1000 For 100 and You’ve Been Noted, have raised money and spread awareness of the campaign.