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NEWS RELEASE: San Diego Unified VAPA Foundation Announces 2018 Grant Recipients

NEWS RELEASE: San Diego Unified VAPA Foundation Announces 2018 Grant Recipients
Posted on 03/08/2018

San Diego Unified School District

SAN DIEGO (March 8, 2018) - Fourteen teachers from the San Diego Unified School District have been awarded a combined $11,000 in grants to pursue artistic projects with their students - in TK through high school - thanks to the new non-profit VAPA Foundation.

The newly established Foundation awarded teacher grants ranging from $500 to $2,500 during this inaugural cycle. The goal of the grant program is to help teachers pursue innovative and creative artistic projects for students. These VAPA Foundation grants cover professional development, project costs, activities and materials not funded by a school's operating budget.

For example, San Diego School for Creative and Performing Arts dance teacher Annette Barcelona will use her grant to attend the American Ballet Theatre's Teacher training intensive in Orange County. This prestigious ballet training school generally holds intensives in New York. Annette will use her certification from this intensive to train current and future students at her school.

Debra Thigpen and Dottie Dunham, 5th grade teachers at Jefferson Elementary, will accompany students to the Mingei International Museum. The exhibit entitled “Kantha Recycled and Embroidered Art of Bengal” perfectly complements their study of how art reflects culture and humanity. Students will consider how cultures use the arts to create commentary on global issues and will use grant-funded materials to create visual displays that will convey their ideas to the community during an exhibition.

Visual Arts teacher Jeremy Merrill will use his grant to purchase a high lumens digital projector that will enable students to create murals on the Hoover High campus and in the community. (See attached for a complete list of grantees.)

VAPA Foundation President Larry Baza has devoted his life to the arts as a gallery owner, former chair of the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, and current Vice Chair of the California Arts Council. He is excited about the opportunity to help students learn about and engage with the arts. “The VAPA Foundation Board is proud to announce this first round of grants that will support hands-on arts experiences for students in the classroom, made possible by the purchase of art making equipment and support for off campus field trips to live professional performances in community arts spaces. We hope that these grants will encourage others to join with us by making a contribution to the VAPA Foundation to support more grants to support our teachers for professional development, new arts projects, and materials not typically included in a school's budget. Stay tuned for exciting opportunities to support the important work of growing the arts education of our students.”

All SDUSD teachers were eligible to apply for these funds to enhance learning in any arts discipline: dance, music, theater or visual arts. This year's grantees all work in schools that serve a lower income demographic. Over 2,000 students will benefit from these grants this year; many of the funded projects and activities will continue to benefit students for years to come.

In addition to continuing an annual grant program, the VAPA Foundation will act as resource for teachers by creating connections and collaborations with community arts organizations, and developing resources to help SDUSD teachers achieve quality, access and equity in arts education.

The VAPA Foundation believes that all students benefit from an education rich in the arts - from field trips to museums and theaters, to bringing professional artists into the classroom, to training teachers in their craft or best practices for arts integration. The Foundation is committed to raising funds via grants, events and individual donations to continue grants for teachers in 2018/19 and beyond. For more information about the VAPA Foundation view the videos below, visit vapafoundation.org or call 619-256-2700.



2018 VAPA Foundation Grantees

$2,500 Grants
Annette Barcelona
San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts
American Ballet Theatre training in Orange County for ballet certification
Sara Dickman
Creative Performing and Media Arts
San Diego Dance Theatre Artist in Residency and culminating student performance

$500 Grants
Caitlin Black
Roosevelt Middle
Buses to Cabrillo Monument//Printing blocks for associated project
Caitlin Black
East Village High
Mural making supplies
Ruth Godfrey
Ibarra Elementary
Tickets/Transportation to Classics 4 Kids musical performance
Sarah Hillard
Millennial Tech Middle
Kilns, microwave and glass materials for in depth study of “Art Glass: The Science Behind the Beauty”
Don Masse
Zamorano Fine Arts Academy
3D printer to bring student designs to life
Jeremy Merrill
Hoover High
High lumens projector for mural making on campus and in the community
Marisa Ramirez
Johnson Elementary
Field trip to Junior Theatre production of “Akeelah and the Bee”
Stefanie Retin
Miller Elementary
Tickets/Transportation to Classics4Kids Musical Performance
Paula Richardson
Wilson Middle School
Field trip to “Stomp” at Balboa Theater
Val Simons
Euclid Elementary
Karaoke machine and ukulele wall mounts
Derek Suzuki
Ericson Elementary
Purchase of 23 soprano ukuleles
Debra Thigpen
Jefferson Elementary
Admission to Mingei International and supplies for associated project on impact of arts on humanity


Interviews with grantees are available upon request
Media Inquiries: Isabella McNeil, San Diego Unified School District, 619-341-2343 [email protected]