Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine HO15

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Local Parents Suppor t School Ar ts Programs SHORTCUTS GIVING BACK 80 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • H O L I D A Y 2 0 1 5 L ast spring, elementary students in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (MPUSD) participated in drawing workshops, mural projects, songwriting and music lessons, theater experiences and other programs led by professional artists. Jonathan Pangburn watched his son, now a third-grader, transform from a reluctant dance class participant to an enthusiastic performer. "The kids thoroughly enjoyed the dance lessons. The classes brought smiles to their faces. The fun was infectious, and the teacher was phe- nomenal," he says. Pangburn helped bring these arts programs to 12 schools by co-found- ing the MPUSD Fund for the Arts with fellow district parent Vanessa Diffenbaugh. The initiative has raised more than $65,000 since its launch last fall, and classroom programs for the current school year kick off later this year. Pangburn, Diffenbaugh and their colleagues are focusing on elementary schools, where funding for the arts is limited, and they're maximizing their impact through an Arts Council for Monterey County partnership. It's an unprecedented opportunity to bring arts programs to a district- wide student audience, explains Arts Council Executive Director Paulette Lynch. The community support also sends a strong message. "When kids realize that people care, it changes their attitude toward themselves and the community in which they live," she says. Teachers par- ticipating in MPUSD Fund for the Arts supported programs add that stu- dents develop confidence, expand cross-cultural awareness, forge friend- ships and cultivate creative interests through these ongoing arts activities. "With so much focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, achievement and testing, the arts regularly get left behind," says Pangburn. "That's especially unfortunate in primary schools, where kids develop so many of their interests and talents…Even if art is not their long-term career, this can be something that becomes a passion throughout their lives." The Community Foundation of the Monterey Peninsula manages donations for the MPUSD Fund for the Arts. To make a tax-deductible gift in support of the project, please visit or call 831/375-9712. —Renee Brincks Local father Jonathan Pangburn co-founded Fund for the Arts in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, partnering with the Arts Council for Monterey County to provide music, art and theater programs primarily in elementary school classrooms. Photo: Kelli Uldall

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