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The Eisner Foundation Grants $1,250,000 to CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP)

California Institute of the Arts’ (CalArts) Community Arts Partnership (CAP) has received a $1.25 million grant from The Eisner Foundation--the largest grant ever received by CAP and the largest arts grant the Foundation has ever issued to an arts institution.

The first program of its kind in the United States, CAP links CalArts with the rich variety of Los Angeles County communities through free, after-school and school-based arts programs for youth. Benefiting students from some of Los Angeles’ most underserved neighborhoods, The Eisner Foundation grant lends support to CAP’s new media programs and endows scholarships for former CAP participants who plan to continue to CalArts.

"Through our family foundation, we want to do all we can to support the development of young scholars interested in new media. We believe passionately in the potential of all young people, and think that connecting them to the resources of CalArts is a tremendous vehicle for advancing not only the youth of Los Angeles but the long-term viability of new media itself," said Michael Eisner. "Our goal with this gift is to identify talented young people from diverse backgrounds and neighborhoods in Los Angeles and give them the opportunities to transform their lives through access to CAP and eventually CalArts."

For each year of the five year grant, the foundation will provide $250,000 to CAP--$75,000 for core operating support, $25,000 for current scholarships and $150,000 to endow future scholarships.

"There is so much talent that our society is willing to waste," said CalArts President Steven Lavine.  CAP opens the door. CalArts, one of the most economically and ethnically diverse private colleges in the country, prepares these young artists to make their own contributions--artistically, socially and economically. This extraordinary contribution from The Eisner Foundation lends critical support to some of Los Angeles' most gifted students."

Many former CAP students attending CalArts live in households that are at or below the poverty line and in historically underserved neighborhoods. Of the CAP students studying at CalArts, 36% come from families with a household income of less than $50,000. Many are the first in their family to attend college.

“One of the primary goals of CAP is to connect young people to opportunities for higher education,” said CAP director Glenna Avila. “Thanks to this groundbreaking gift, CAP students who matriculate to CalArts will receive scholarship support. They’ll gain access to the highest quality arts education and continue developing skills acquired in CAP programs.  The CAP legacy comes full circle when former CAP students at CalArts become CAP teachers and impart their knowledge to the next generation of young artists in the program.”

Last year, 7,476 students in 53 different neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles participated in CAP programs—collaborating with 43 partner organizations to provide elementary, middle and high school age youth in underserved communities with rigorous arts education programs. 

In keeping with a longstanding commitment to recruiting an economically and culturally diverse student body with admission based solely on merit, CalArts relies heavily on scholarship funds to attract and retain CAP students. Currently, 15 former CAP students are enrolled at CalArts in programs including experimental animation, character animation and film/video. Support from The Eisner Foundation will enable CalArts to admit more CAP participants and other underprivileged students to these new media programs. Thanks to the Foundation’s gift, by 2012, CalArts plans to have at least 25 former CAP and other low income students studying new media at CalArts--an increase of 66% over current figures.

The Eisner Foundation grant ensures that CAP can adapt as new media evolves. CAP offers a range of programs in new media and digital arts taught by CalArts’ faculty and student artists whose work is at the leading edge of their fields. Its programs in animation, digital and media arts, and film/video give participants the opportunity to acquire skills through intensive, hands-on art making. Operating support from the Foundation will allow CAP to continue providing new media programming for more than 750 students each year.

CAP provides participating youth with challenging learning environments for artistic experimentation and creates access to higher education. Approaching its 20th anniversary, it is unique in its field. The employment of CalArts’ faculty and students as CAP instructors and the location of classes in the neighborhoods it serves set CAP apart from other community arts programs. Mirroring the disciplines taught at CalArts, CAP offers training in jazz, printmaking, photography, digital media, video, drawing, animation, dance, theater, puppetry, writing, chamber music, global music and graphic design. The program offers more than 40 in-depth arts programs free-of-charge for elementary, middle and high school students and annually engages 5,000 students while another 10,000 participate in short-term workshops.

CAP has received numerous awards--including the John Anson Ford Human Relations Award from the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations in 2008, and in 2006 the Ovation Award for Community Outreach from the Los Angeles Stage Alliance and the Coming Up Taller Award for outstanding community arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America's young people.

Click here for more information about CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP).

The Eisner Foundation exists to provide access and opportunity for disadvantaged children and the aging of Los Angeles County. Founded in 1996 and based in Beverly Hills, the family foundation was created by Michael D. Eisner, then-Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, his wife Jane, and their three sons, Breck, Eric, and Anders.  Today, the Eisner Foundation gives out about $7 million per year, exclusively to non-profit organizations that bring about lasting changes in the lives of vulnerable people starting and ending their lives in Southern California. The Eisner Foundation is led by executive director Trent Stamp.

CalArts is recognized internationally as a leading laboratory for the visual, performing, media and literary arts. Housing six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts educates professional artists in an intensive learning environment founded on art making excellence, creative experimentation, cross-pollination among diverse artistic disciplines, and a broad context of social and cultural understanding. CalArts also operates the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles.

Last edited by Smith on Aug 25, 2010
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