FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LAGUNA BEACH UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
CONTACT: SHELLEY SPESSARD Ed.D.
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
(949) 497-7700 EXT. 5232
April 19, 2021
Laguna Beach High Awarded Grants for VAPA Programs
LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. - The FOA Foundation recently awarded Laguna Beach High School with grants totaling $25,000 toward ceramics, band, dance, and the visual and performing arts departments.
The FOA Foundation, which operates independently of the Festival of Arts, was established in 1989 to preserve and promote the fine arts and all other artistic endeavors regarding Laguna Beach. Laguna Beach High School teachers applied to receive $5,000 grants to enhance the programs and opportunities available for students to continue learning and developing their skills in visual and performing arts.
“The FOA Foundation strives to help enrich the lives of our young students, with the hope that these dollars will make a difference in their perspective on art and culture,” said Scott Moore, president of the foundation. “It has been our experience that these young boys and girls, men and women, hold on to these early artfilled years, and give back to their communities in their adulthood.”
Teachers have been able to provide students with real world experiences and opportunities as a result of the grants.
“The generosity of the FOA Foundation has allowed us to build on the rich history of musical theatre at Laguna Beach High School. Our production of Once Upon a Mattress was a success, much in part to the spectacular costumes and props which the grant covered. As a direct result of the Foundation’s support, students, families, and community members alike were exposed to a professional style production,” said Alexis Karol, LBHS drama teacher.
Karol has invited several professionals to work with students including performer and choreographer Paul Nygro and New York City playwright and screenwriter Jeffrey James Keyes. Students gain first hand knowledge and experience from seasoned professionals and as a result, have been successful in their performances throughout the school year. The dance department plans to utilize the funds to continue providing community members with unforgettable experiences and performances by students.
"The instrumental music program and band boosters are very grateful to have the support of the FOA Foundation and to receive this grant,” said Jeremy Chung, chair of the music department. “The money will be used to enhance the music program and benefit all music students involved as well as the community.”
Visual arts teacher Bridget Beaudry-Porter also thanks the foundation for their commitment of supporting the LBHS art and digital photography programs. “This grant is indispensable to the continuance of our 2D arts programs. With this grant, our students will be provided the necessary tools to express themselves visually. We will be able to purchase needed canvases, paint, drawing materials, pastels, paper, watercolors, and studio equipment. These materials are essential in helping my students get into top universities and receive scholarships to further their career in the arts industry,” said Beaudry-Porter.
Utilizing funds from this grant will also allow students in ceramics classes continue creating art and showcase it to the community of Laguna Beach. Ceramics courses benefit over 100 enrolled students at LBHS. Each year, students showcase their work publicly such as at the Coastal Eddy A Gallery on Pacific Coast Highway, Laguna College of Art and Design’s Color It Orange Invitational and the 3D art show at the Irvine Fine Arts Center.
“I am so thankful for the continued support of the FOA Foundation,” said Somer Selway, ceramics teacher. “The grant allows us to provide all the necessary tools and equipment needed to continue nurturing and enriching the lives of the students at LBHS.”
“Everyday, up to 140 students enter our facility with the desire to study dance and express themselves in a healthy and positive way,” said Estee Carrizosa, dance teacher and dance production advisor. “Dance is one of the greatest outlets for young people to achieve their fullest potential, artistically and academically. I am extremely grateful to have received support from the FOA Foundation to continue providing our students with these on-going opportunities.”
The dance department offers students an opportunity to meet, learn and engage with guest teachers for open level master classes after school. The teachers range from a variety of professional experience in the commercial, concert, and Broadway dance scenes. Carrizosa hopes to bring in guest choreographers to continue working with students, dance companies to host residencies as part of the daily curriculum and guest teachers to lead open master classes in all genres and styles of dance.
The FOA Foundation will be recognized by the District at the next school board meeting on Tuesday, May 10 at 6 p.m.