Burbank schools get grants for arts programs

Burbank Arts For All recently awarded thousands of dollars worth of grants to local schools, but with more than 30 applicants, demand far outstripped available money.

In all, 31 Burbank schools sent in grant applications totaling $85,565, but in the end, the foundation awarded 21 schools $25,000 in partially or fully funded grants to help fund art programs.

Trena Pitchford, director of development for the foundation, said the requests speak to the district's need for supporting arts in the classroom after several years of state budget cuts that have averaged $5 million each year.

“Because they're facing five straight years of budget cuts, they have hard decisions to make,” she said of Burbank Unified's school officials. “They do support arts education, but because so much was eliminated in all of these years, we've been working very hard to bring arts education back to the students.”

Visual arts instructor and first-year teacher Lauren Masters sought help from Burbank Arts For All to supplement her budget for art supplies, which averages just $4 per student.

When the foundation doubled her budget to $8 per student, Masters said she cried.

She purchased big-ticket items to last for years to come, such as quality X-Acto knives and boards, and a rack that allows students to dry and preserve paintings until they're ready for framing.

Masters said the tools have improved the professional grade of her classroom as students prepare their portfolios of drawings and paintings for college applications.

The foundation's recent grant allocations bring the total given to Burbank schools since 2006 to $176,369.

Six of 11 Burbank elementary schools won grant money, along with all three middle schools and all three high schools.

Monterey High and Community Day schools both applied for and won the grant for the first time.

Principal Ann Brooks said Monterey High would use the $1,000 to send 30 of the school's 200 students to visit two Los Angeles museums — the Getty and the Museum of Modern Art.

“We have kids who have not explored Los Angeles as much as they could to find out about the arts,” she said. “We want the kids to have a broader depth of art experience than what we can offer.”

At Community Day School, Principal Chris Krohn said students will use the $500 in grant money to create a graphic novel, like the one they recently produced with seven stories about bullying that the Burbank Senior Artists Colony funded.

Krohn said the $500 could fund a second book for students new to the school next semester.

“It's not a lot, but anything for us is great,” Krohn said. “It's a wonderful chance for us to be able to give our kids an experience they've never had.”


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


Copyright © 2019, Burbank Leader
EDITION: California | U.S. & World