Art of Elysium Partners With SAG-AFTRA, AFI on Obama’s ‘Call to Arts’

Los Angeles-based charity Art of Elysium has partnered with SAG-AFTRA and the American Film Institute to help fulfill President Obama’s call for 1 million hours of mentorship, Variety has learned exclusively.

Obama enlisted the performers union and AFI last March in “A Call to Arts,” with the goal of meeting the million-hours milestone by the spring of 2018. That’s led to the union expanding its educational seminars, conservatory programs and classes to include mentorship.

Under the new partnership, Art of Elysium will collaborate on expanding existing youth programs and offering greater opportunities for artists to be of service in the community. The charity served over 43,000 children and individuals in 2015.

SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White noted that The Art of Elysium has been collaborating with James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini production banner as Elysium Bandini Studios. Two of the recent projects are the drama “Memoria,” starring James Franco, Sam Dillon and Thomas Mann, and “Yosemite,” also starring Franco.

“Elysium Bandini Studios is engaged in groundbreaking work with emerging storytellers that epitomizes A Call to Arts,” said White. “We’re very pleased about this new alliance with the Art of Elysium, especially since many of our SAG-AFTRA members participate in their programs.”

SAG-AFTRA also said in the announcement that it’s among the first organizations to support Elysium Bandini Studios. The union pointed to the studio’s commitment to helping artists build their careers and fulfill their artistic vision — so that they can in turn share their talent, resources and creativity with critically ill, medically disabled youth and their families.

“Our mission has always been to use art as a catalyst for social change,” said Art of Elysium founder Jennifer Howell. “We are honored to partner with SAG-AFTRA and AFI on President Obama’s mentoring initiative and to have the support of SAG-AFTRA for Elysium Bandini Studios.”

The Television Academy Foundation, the Grammy Foundation’s MusiCares, Women In Film and the Los Angeles Sparks are also supporting the goal of dedicating over one million mentorship hours by spring 2018.

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