[CalArts] – The Los Angeles City Council has approved a $1.225 million contract allowing the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) to continue offering the Sony Pictures Media Arts Program (SPMAP) across the City until 2016. This initiative provides free arts and media education to underserved young people in Los Angeles. After completing a successful decade of programming, the City agreed to enter into a new, five-year contract between DCA, the California Institute of the Arts Community Arts Partnership (CAP), and Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE).
The Sony Pictures Media Arts Program (SPMAP) is a public-private educational partnership between DCA, CAP, and SPE. It provides free artistic and technical training to middle school students in Los Angeles. The program offers students between the ages of 10 and 14 fundamentals in drawing, design, color approaches, animation, media technology, and art techniques. The program takes place in five locations throughout the City: Center for the Arts Eagle Rock; the William Reagh Los Angeles Photography Center; the Banning’s Landing Community Cultural Center; the Watts Towers Arts Center; and the San Fernando Gardens Community Service Center.
SPMAP was originally conceived and funded by Sony Pictures Entertainment, and was developed by the three partners as a program to address the need for high quality arts training. The program’s focus on animation techniques emerged from an interest to cultivate and inspire young, locally based student talent with fundamental arts skills and tools required in the entertainment industry’s growing fields of art direction and animation. Instruction is provided on state-of-the-art computers and video equipment.
“Sony Pictures is proud of the success of SPMAP and the many talented youth who have taken part in the program over the past decade. We are incredibly pleased to continue this partnership, and look forward to inspiring a new generation of artists and animators,” says Janice Pober, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Social Responsibility, Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The Department of Cultural Affairs oversees and administers SPMAP, determines program sites, and coordinates partnerships. Sony Pictures Entertainment provides a variety of ongoing support, including donations of the latest computer and video equipment exclusively for each SPMAP site. The equipment is applied to art instruction, demonstration, and an introduction to computer-generated art and animation techniques. CalArts Community Arts Partnership provides the instruction and curriculum development, and oversees the annual independent evaluation of SPMAP. CAP hires and trains SPMAP instructors, CalArts’ student instructors, and faculty from CalArts’ Animation Programs. Known for its innovative curriculum and methods, CAP is in the national vanguard of animation training.
“We are thrilled about a five-year commitment from the Los Angeles City Council and Sony Pictures Entertainment to the youth of our city,” said CAP Director Glenna Avila. “Animation takes hard work, long hours, and a dedication to excellence—this program demonstrated that all of these things coupled with exemplary instructors can lead students on a creative and productive pathway.”
As Olga Garay-English, DCA’s Executive Director, points out: “SPMAP is a unique partnership between the public sector, the entertainment industry, and higher education. It would be impossible to talk about the success of this program during the last 10 years without talking about the partners. This new commitment will give an opportunity to many talented and deserving students to receive an arts education, and help them pursue their careers in the entertainment industry.”
Combining creative and technical training, the one-of-a-kind SPMAP program opens pathways to college and careers in media and the arts, and creates a national model for arts education partnerships. Approximately 300 students a year go through this innovative after-school program, with many later attending CalArts and other institutions of higher learning.
About Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE)
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; a global channel network; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of entertainment in 159 countries. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com/.
About CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP)
For the past 22 years, the CAP program has mentored youth between the ages of 10 and 18 at 60 sites throughout LA County—employing some 60 CalArts faculty members, and nearly 300 student instructors to deliver free instruction in fine art, photography, printmaking, graphic design, digital media, animation, video, jazz, world music, chamber music, theater, puppetry, dance, and creative writing. Educating more than 8,000 youths each year, the CAP program has received numerous accolades—including the John Anson Ford Human Relations Award from the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations in 2008, the Ovation Award for Community Outreach from the Los Angeles Stage Alliance in 2006, and in 2004, the Coming Up Taller Award—a national recognition of outstanding community arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s young people, providing youth with learning opportunities and chances to contribute to their communities. For additional information, go to http://calarts.edu/cap.
About California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
CalArts is recognized internationally as a leading laboratory for the visual, performing, media and literary arts. Housing six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts educates professional artists in an intensive learning environment founded on art making excellence, creative experimentation, cross-pollination among diverse artistic disciplines, and a broad context of social and cultural understanding. CalArts also operates the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles. For additional information, go to http://calarts.edu/.
About the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA)
The Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) generates and supports high quality arts and cultural experiences for Los Angeles’ 4 million residents and 26 million annual visitors. DCA advances the social and economic impact of the arts and ensures access to diverse and enriching cultural activities through: grant making, marketing, public art, community arts programming, arts education, and building partnerships with artists and arts and cultural organizations in neighborhoods throughout the City of Los Angeles.
DCA’s operating budget and managed portfolio totaled $38.2 million in fiscal year 2010/11. It consisted of: $9.5 million in funds from the Public Works Improvements Arts Program (PWIAP); $8.9 million in City related and indirect cost allocations; $8.7 million from the Private Arts Development Fee Program (ADF); $7.7 million in Transient Occupancy Tax funds; and over $3.4 million in private and public funds raised from foundation, corporate, government, and individual donors.
DCA significantly supports artists and cultural projects through its Public Art Division by administering a portfolio totaling $18.2 million in PWIAP and ADF funds in FY10/11. DCA’s Marketing and Development Division has raised over $18.5 million since FY07/08 to re-grant to LA-based artists and arts and cultural organizations for special grant initiatives and to support DCA’s special programming and facilities. DCA also grants approximately $2.2 million annually to over 280 artists and nonprofit arts and cultural organizations through its long-established Grants Administration Division.
DCA provides arts and cultural programming through its Community Arts Division, managing numerous neighborhood arts and cultural centers, theaters, historic sites, and educational initiatives. DCA’s Marketing and Development Division also markets the City’s arts and cultural events through development and collaboration with strategic partners, design and production of creative catalogs, publications, and promotional materials, and management of the culturela.org website visited by over 3 million people annually.