×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Event Uses Family Fun to Help Schools Fund Arts

Every year, Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar fills with joyful kids ready to dance, paint, play and just plain make something at an event that may remind everyone who attends it a lot of what elementary school students do every day — or used to do before funding for school arts programs got slashed.

The P.S. Arts Express Yourself fundraiser, to be held Nov. 16, helps the organization provide funding to some 35 schools in low-income areas of southern and central California in four disciplines: visual arts, music, theater and dance. All four are integrated into Express Yourself via activities and performances in which families can participate.

The goings-on appeal not only to kids, but to kid-at-heart adults as well, like actress Lisa Kudrow. “It’s a great event because you’re raising money, and it’s a family activity day,” said Kudrow, who was inspired to become a P.S. Arts board member after attending Express Yourself. “It’s something you can all do. It’s not just a dinner for the grown-ups at night.”

The event raises between $500,000 and $1 million a year, helping P.S. Arts programs serve more than 20,000 students each week.

“We work with a disadvantaged population,” said Amy Shapiro, executive director of advancement and operations, who joined the org in 2001. “What it comes down to is giving these kids moments of joy and success.”

Shapiro said Express Yourself is particularly useful as a showcase to benefactors who can help distribute P.S. Arts to schools that still have no form of arts education. Projects are organized by corporate sponsors, volunteers and teaching artists. The event also has a notable celebrity presence, with guests such as Steve Carell, Jason Bateman and Kudrow making appearances in the past.

“You start to realize, with your own kids in school, that P.S. Arts teaches art really well,” Kudrow said. “Hopefully, when and if art programs are funded for public schools again, they use this as their model.”

 

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show premiere,

    Cara Delevingne Talks Immigration, Taylor Swift's Battle With Scooter Braun

    Cara Delevingne, whose faerie character in “Carnival Row” finds herself washed ashore as a refugee in a foreign land, said she was immediately drawn by the show’s fantastical take on issues of immigration and assimilation. “It’s a cause that I have been involved in for a long time,” Delevingne told Variety at the premiere of [...]

  • John Travolta, Fred Durst. John Travolta,

    John Travolta Recalls Fans Breaking Into His House: 'I Was Scared the First Time'

    Nobody can accuse John Travolta of not being gracious to his fans, whether it’s an autograph, a selfie or, you know, a home invasion or two. “I’ve only had two people that actually invaded my house,” Travolta told Variety at the premiere of “The Fanatic” at the Egyptian Theater on Thursday night. “They were just [...]

  • Sublime Primetime

    How Emmy-Nominated Writers’ Rooms Keep Politics in Mind

    In a world filled with elections, social movements and national tragedies, how open should the doors of a writers’ room actually be? For some of this year’s Emmy-nominated shows, those doors are wide open. Before the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sept. 22, the Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild Foundation, [...]

  • 50 Cent Power S6 Premiere

    50 Cent, Snoop Dogg & Trey Songz 'Power' Up New York City for Massive Season 6 Premiere

    “Power” is entering its final season, but you would never know if you walked by Madison Square Garden in Manhattan on Tuesday night. Starz pulled out all the stops for its ratings powerhouse “Power,” throwing a massive premiere event, complete with a full-length concert at Madison Square Garden from Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and a [...]

  • Diane Warren'Late Night' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    Songs of Hope to Honor Diane Warren, Marc Shaiman, Boi-1da, More at 15th Annual Event

    Cancer research and treatment center City of Hope today announced the initial lineup of presenters and honorees who will celebrate the song and songwriter at its 15th annual Songs of Hope event. Among the music and entertainment industry VIPs in attendance will be veteran executive and producer Clive Davis, producer Boi-1da (Drake, Kendrick Lamar), award-winning [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content