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Meet and greet for PAC K-12 arts

Fundraiser: Michael Bolton appears at COC VIP event to benefit the PAC K-12 Arts Education Outreach

Posted: September 4, 2010 6:22 p.m.
Updated: September 5, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Left to right, Scott and Vanessa Wilk, Michael Bolton, Charlotte Kleeman, Jayne and Chris Fall at the special VIP meet and greet with Bolton to benefit arts in the SCV.

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It was the perfect summer evening for dining al fresco adjacent to the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center in Valencia. As guests waited the arrival of pop star Michael Bolton at a special fundraising VIP “meet and greet” to benefit the PAC K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program, guests enjoyed liquid mojitos as well as food from Mojito Caribbean Cuisine restaurant in Valencia.

The PAC K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program serves the 51,000 schoolchildren in the Santa Clarita Valley through school assemblies with professional artists, multiweek residencies and free bus-in programs to see world class artists during the school day at the PAC, located on the Valencia campus of College of the Canyons.

When Bolton arrived at the event, he spoke briefly about the importance of arts education.

“This program allows students to realize the powerful affect art can have on their lives” said Bolton. “It is not common for a college to take a leadership role in making these kinds of meaningful connections for K-12 students and congratulations are in order to the board and Chancellor (Dianne) Van Hook for making this happen.”

Guests then lined up to meet Bolton who stayed briefly for photos before rushing off to prepare for his evening concert.

An advisory committee of community leaders, including Rita Garasi, helps guide the PAC K-12 program.

“We very excited tonight. This is an opportunity for us to gather a group that is very supportive of children in the
SCV,” said Garasi. “Michael Bolton said how important it is to help children be exposed to the wonderful, empowering nature of the arts. We’re thrilled. It’s been a great turnout.”

Adam Philipson, managing director of the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons, said he appreciated the large turnout at the fundraising VIP event to benefit the Arts Education Outreach Program.

“Their attendance at this reception supports making a difference in the lives of the youth in the entire SCV,” Philipson said.

Philipson said 100 percent of the donations collected at the event will benefit the program.

“Last year we were able to reach 12,000 SCV school children through our program,” he said. “That’s a lot of hard work by many people. Due to that we have national recognition for this program and we can all be very proud of that fact.”

Philipson said all of the school districts in the SCV now participate in the multi-district consortium led by COC.

“It is unusual for a college to take a leadership role in this kind of program,” said Philipson. “It is a credit to the leadership at the college that it sees the value in this program for SCV children.”

Philipson said this year’s program will feature four diverse, educational bus-in performance opportunities for SCV students including “one of the finest mariachi groups in North America, the Peking Acrobats, the Pushcart Players — an award-winning professional theatre and arts-in-education company for young audiences and ‘The Mystery Of King Tut’ presented by Theatreworks USA.”

In addition, other programs available for area children include visual art, storytelling, puppet making and other workshops, a visit to the COC art gallery,  a Remo drum circle and additional enrichment experiences.

For more information about the PAC K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program contact Philipson at (661)362-5305 or e-mail


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