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March, 2015 Recently, the perennial issue of funding, or rather the lack of it, in public education systems has been brought to the fore once more. On this occasion, American film director David Lynch made an impassioned plea to correct what he described as the “pathetic” tendency of governments worldwide to cut funding to the arts as a first resort in the name of austerity. Lynch was speaking in Brisbane, Australia as he paid tribute to the public investment in Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art, where a collection of his lesser known works – paintings, prints, installations and photographs – will be shown through June 7, 2015. It is not the first time that such sentiments have been expressed, and probably not the last, but it is welcome in the face of what in recent years has seen the decimation of public arts education in so many parts of the world. As regular readers of The ArtLA Magazine will know, education is a major part of our core purpose at ArtLA.com. I know there is so much more to accomplish, but I would also like to acknowledge the great work that is already being achieved. One shining star in the mission to implement arts education in public schools is Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, former Chair of the California Arts Council and Executive Director of Turnaround Arts CA. Malissa, in conjunction with Frank Gehry, has recruited celebrities to each become artist mentors at a public school in California. So far Malissa has received the support of such luminaries as Jason Mraz, Forest Whitaker, Kerry Washington, Rashida Jones, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Marc Anthony, Tim Robbins, Chad Smith and Russell Simmons. The validity of arts education is self-evident in this month’s ArtLA Magazine, as both Susan Stamm Evans, Sheila Fein, David Skernick, and this issue’s featured designer, Melinda Mandell, all had the foundation of their careers laid in the classroom. In addition, the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation extends the opportunities of art-centered education to many children that would probably be marooned in a desert of cultural despair. We at ArtLA will continue to champion the cause and the inherent value to society that education in the arts affords all members of a civilized society.
 

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