by Arts for All | Sep 19, 2013

    Sometimes the impact is not so obvious. But it can be profound.

    Here is an unsolicited letter to a local arts provider from a parent whose child attends school in an Arts for All district. The mom writes of how a music lesson about the blues lifted her daughter's spirits. The lesson she refers to was funded in part by Arts for All’s Residency Grant Program.

    My daughter just completed your 2nd grade Symphonic Jazz Orchestra program.  I want to pass on something that happened, which, in my opinion, shows the value of your program to the students in her school.

    Our family is going through rough times right now.  Some days I feel like my daughter gets what is going on and other days, when she is crying and asking when is her father coming home, I realize she does not get it and she is suffering.  Well, we had one of those crying spells earlier this week.  After we had gotten to the other side of the episode I re-grouped and gave her a big hug and told her that I was so glad that she is able to tell me her feelings.  Her response was "My music teacher told me that when you have the blues you have to tell someone" (not should, or can, but HAVE TO).  Well I almost burst in to tears I was so moved by what she said. I responded that what she had been told was right and told her that she can write a song about how she feels. She reminded me that she had written a song in her class with you. She started to get excited about the idea of writing a song so I took her in to our music room and sat down with a guitar and tried to make up a blues song.  I sang "My name is - and I got the blues" a few times and then I sang "But I'm happy because...." and let her help me fill in the line.  She just lit up and was so excited.  She went running in to her room to look for the right notebook to write songs in and started jabbering about how she can come up with the beat, I can come up with the words, etc. etc.  Clearly the pain she had been feeling was lifted.

    I must admit that she had mentioned she was taking a music class but I had not received any description from her of the depth and breadth of the curriculum.  I was blown away at the musicality of the students at the year-end assembly.  Putting the music part of your program aside, the life skill insight that you provided to my daughter is priceless; do not keep your feelings inside and have a least one person you can trust with what you are feeling, wow - what a gift! I feel blessed that my child wants to share her blues with me!

    PHOTO: Gary Leonard


    by Arts for All | Jun 26, 2013

    Supervisor Don Knabe recently honored Dr. David Verdugo, retiring Superintendent of Paramount Unified School District, for his long-time service in education. At a recent meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Dr. Verdugo was publicly acknowledged with a formal presentation of a County scroll.

    Dr. Verdugo has been in education for more than 40 years.  Before coming to the Paramount Unified School District, he served at three uniquely different school districts: Spokane Public School District in the state of Washington, El Rancho Unified School District in Pico Rivera and Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District.  Dr. Verdugo has been a teacher, assistant principal, principal and an assistant Superintendent working with children grades K-12 through the years.

    Under his dynamic leadership, Paramount USD established a progressive reputation, grounded in student learning and achievement. His vision recognizes and champions the arts as an important strategy for engaging students from diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds.

    Dr. Verdugo has been steadfast in his support of the district’s arts strategic plan, developed in partnership with Arts for All in 2007. Since then, he has remained committed to ensuring that all Paramount USD students have opportunities for sequential learning in the arts that connect to the district’s other academic initiatives.

    Arts for All celebrates the accomplishments of Dr. Verdugo, and looks forward to his continued participation as an arts education advocate in this new chapter of his life.



    by Arts for All | Jun 25, 2013

    In a classroom festooned with vibrant art projects and dangling paper clouds, Emilie Halpern demonstrated how to create a tree inspired by fall colors.

    As a teaching artist from Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, Halpern was spending her morning with first grade students at Hamilton Elementary School integrating the arts into the classroom teacher’s lesson on weather. Arts for All’s Residency Grant Program brought the Armory and Pasadena Unified School District together for this residency at Hamilton.

    To the students, Ms. Halpern is just a really fun art teacher. But what they didn’t know is that she is a Paris-born artist with a resume of exhibitions from Los Angeles to Texas to the French West Indies.

    Halpern grew up in family of artists. She moved to California as a young child. But she went back to Paris during the summers and was influenced by all that surrounded her.

    “I loved watching my grandfather paint and sketch, and spending time in my grandmother's studio,” says the Art Center College of Design graduate. “Her home was filled with plants and musical instruments, and she painted by these large windows that overlooked the streets of Paris.” 

    She started her undergraduate career as an art major at UCLA with a concentration on painting. But eventually her passions for photography, sculpture, video and sound surfaced. Represented by Pepin Moore Gallery in Los Angeles, she has started to delve into ceramics professionally because of students’ influence. 

    “Bags of clay are literally met with applause from the kids!” says Halpern.

    She loved the clay experience so much in her classrooms that she started to incorporate the medium into her own work.

    “That kind of joy is easily lost in the solitary world of an artist's studio. By teaching children, I'm exposed to the love of art on a daily basis. And I feel that I am changing the world one child at a time.”


    by Arts for All | Jun 25, 2013

    As the 2012-13 school year comes to a close, Arts for All takes a moment to reflect back on the work done this year with our school district partners. The collaborative environment in which we work nurtures a rich arts education for students across LA County. In the last ten months, these were some of the joint accomplishments:

    • Exposed thousands of students to the joys of music, dance, art and theater through our Residency Grant Program.
    • Worked with teachers and administrators in our Professional Development Grant Program to support their ability to provide quality arts education.
    • Coached new Arts for All districts to guide development of a local arts education strategic plan for school board adoption.
    • Provided a tool (School Arts Survey) and subsequent data analysis to allow administrators to carefully examine arts instruction currently taking place in their districts.
    • Partnered with Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) to present the popular Teaching Creativity with Common Core State Standards series for district administrators and principals.
    • Partnered with national education researchers from WestEd to respond to a need identified by our stakeholders to track, measure and document more effective student learning in the arts.
    • Expanded our Programs for Educators directory, the go-to resource for quality arts education professional development.
    • Supported the work of district Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) coordinators across the County by providing grant-writing, social media and other timely and relevant workshops.
    • Strengthened the capacity of district VAPA coordinators with grants for their own professional development opportunities.
    • Guided advocacy efforts in ten LA County communities through our longstanding partnership with Arts for LA.
    • Spearheaded a Southern California hub for teaching artists and the organizations that hire them.

    More Details Here