Tag Archives: party for the arts

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.”


Party For The Arts Celebrates Burbank Arts Heroes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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