February 12, 2014


Funds will support the LA’s BEST After School Arts Program (ASAP) which provides Art Education to elementary school students at all 194 of its LAUSD sites

As the City of Los Angeles vigorously debates funding for arts programs in Los Angeles Unified School District, today, leaders from LA’s BEST After School Enrichment program convened in the Mayor’s Executive Conference Room in City Hall to receive a check for $119,000 for it's After School Arts Program (ASAP) from fresh stART, an event organized by the McCall Family Foundation to support programs that provide arts-related opportunities to at-risk students. Mayor Eric Garcetti dropped by to congratulate LA's BEST and thank fresh stART for their contribution.

LA's BEST and fresh stART

Earlier in the week, the Chinatown community pulled together to raise funds for Castelar elementary’s music program which is facing elimination due to budget cuts. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified School Board debated the future of arts education in the district as it attempts to finalize its arts budget. Meanhwile, due to innovative fundraising like the fresh stART event, LA’s BEST is able to keep art in a significant number of local schools. In fact, LA’s BEST will be able to continue the ASAP Strings Project at Castelar, which has been serving students there since 2010. LA’s BEST was the sole beneficiary of this year’s fundraising event, a two-hour art show featuring 175 artists and 330 curated pieces. Fresh stART was co-chaired by Cris McCall and Audrey Hanneman with Keanu Reeves serving as honorary chair. Hundreds of art lovers, including many Hollywood insiders, attended the exclusive event on February 1 in Santa Monica

Audrey Hanneman presented LA’s BEST with the check for $119,000 – a combination of the proceeds from admission sales, raffle ticket sales and 60 percent of the art sales.


“As school arts programs get slashed or the distribution of their funding debated, it’s critical that LA’s BEST is able to continue providing quality arts education through our after school arts program,” said Carla Sanger, President & CEO of LA’s BEST. “We’re honored to have benefited from this event. For fresh stART to raise such a staggering amount of money in just two hours, for the children of LA’s BEST, is overwhelming and outstanding.”

The After School Arts Program (ASAP) gives LA’s BEST students exposure to quality art education opportunities at all 194 sites through 10-week residencies in visual arts, music, dance and drama. Current 10-week residencies being placed at LA's BEST sites include: Traditional Dances of Brasil, Digital Photography, Chorus, Violin, Puppetry, Afro-Latin Percussion, Print-making, Music Theatre, Ballroom Dance, Collegiate Stepping, and Drama.

ASAP also offers a year-round orchestral strings program at Castelar, Shenandoah, and El Dorado elementary schools.

ASAP is an excellent example of the expanded-learning programs that LA’s BEST excels in. Expanded-learning programs are high-quality, engaging and hands-on activities that provide purposeful learning experiences outside of the traditional school day and year.

“We believe that exposure to the arts is a vital component of a well-rounded education,” said Mario Davila, Director of ASAP at LA’s BEST. “Numerous studies have consistently shown that children who participate in quality art programs demonstrate increased engagement in school, improved communication skills, higher levels of crossover learning, improved self-esteem and an increased appreciation of diverse perspectives.”

At fresh stART, LA’s BEST invited attendees to release their artistic inner-child, providing them with paints and a canvas bearing the outline of City Hall, drawn by an LA’s BEST ASAP student. Guests enjoyed adding their artistic touches to the piece, which through this fun and unique collaboration, was transformed into a work of art. This artwork was presented to fresh stART to memorialize the evening and as a thank you from LA’s BEST.

LA's BEST - Better Educated Students for Tomorrow - is a nationally recognized after school education, enrichment and recreation program serving more than 28,000 children with the greatest needs and fewest resources throughout the City of Los Angeles. LA's BEST After School Enrichment Program provides a safe haven for children ages 5 to 12 at 194 elementary school sites each day during the critical hours after school — at no cost to parents. Established in 1988, LA's BEST is a partnership including the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the private sector. LA’s BEST is part of Beyond the Bell, whose mission is to ensure that all children and youth in LAUSD have access to high quality, safe and supervised academic,enrichment, and recreation programs that inspire learning and achievement beyond the regular school day. For more information, please visit

“fresh stART, founded in 2001, is the bi-annual fundraising event of the McCall Family Foundation, a one- night art exhibition and sale with two distinct goals. Our primary goal is to fund programs that provide arts- related therapies to children designated "at-risk." Secondly, fresh stART strives to stimulate the arts in Los Angeles by providing potential collectors with a personal connection to both established and emerging artists. The McCall Family Foundation is a 501(c)(3). Sources of funding include the benefit exhibition and private and corporate donations. fresh stART operates wholly through the efforts of volunteers.”