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New committee seeks to bridge PAC to students

Program will extends capabilities of teachers, schools, official says

Posted: June 11, 2009 9:10 p.m.
Updated: June 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Local education and arts leaders have formed an arts advisory committee for the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center with the hopes of turning the center into a learning hub for students from kindergarten to 12th grade.

“Our vision is really to become a north county Music Center,” said Adam Philipson, managing director of the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center hosted by College of the Canyons.

The committee, which has been in formation over the past six to nine months, brings together 31 people representing education, the arts and businesses.

The members include: Remo Belli, Lisa Bloom, Michele Buttelman, Dr. Mitjl Capet, Daniel Catan, Sharlene Coleal, Nancy Copley, Vicki Engbrecht, Amanda Fischer, Dr. Judy Fish, Jasmine Foster, Rita Garasi, Daniel Goetz, Carl Goldman, Jeri Seratti Goldman, Dr. Barry Gribbons, Kathy Keysor Smith, Charlotte Kleeman, Frank Kleeman, Randy Moberg, Dr. Floyd Moos, Adam Philipson, Lori Marie Rios, David Schutz, Doreen Shine, Jack Shine, Jay Thomas, Ann Unger, Sabrina Utter, Rosalind Wayman and Doris Marie Zimmer.

Part of the plan, already in motion through grant funding, involves regular bus-ins from local schools to the Performing Arts Center.
Other activities will bring the performers to schools, he said.

The Saugus Union School District already has a partnership with the Music Center in Los Angeles where students experience the arts.

That partnership could soon be formed with the Performing Arts Center.

“I think we have that potential right here in our backyard,” Saugus Union School District Superintendent Judy Fish said. “We have our own programs and opportunities and experts right in the Santa Clarita Valley.”

Fish looks forward to being part of the committee.

“I think some exciting things are coming our way for the kids,” she said.

A partnership between school districts and the center would create an opportunity for performers and artists to illustrate the curriculum students learn in the classroom, said Rita Garasi, College of the Canyons Foundation board member.

“It’s a total package and it extends the capabilities of our teachers and our schools,” Garasi said.

Focusing on the arts in schools comes at an important time.

“The time now is more critical and crucial, because when you get into an economy where funds are being cut left and right, it’s usually the arts that are the first to go,” Philipson said.

While it may be easy to overlook the significance of the arts in a struggling economy, Philipson points to facts illustrating how exposure to the arts at a young age improves attendance in schools and test scores.

The goal of the committee is in line with what the college wants to center to become, said Floyd Moos, dean of fine and performing arts at College of the Canyons.

“What I hoped to do when I began this job a few years ago was to make the Performing Arts Center not just a passive venue where we wait for people to come,” Moos said.

Through an integration of the arts in schools, Moos hopes to see the arts as much a part of a person’s life as athletics.

“I think in 20 years, everyone will be doing this,” Moos said. “But the only way that can happen is if we do it at an early age.



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