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From the March Newsletter
Many readers will not know that very recently our President, Reon Boydstun Howard, suffered the loss of her dear mother, Phyllis. As a consequence we suggested that Reon need not write her usual monthly letter. She has way too many other things to attend to. It must have been a comfort to Reon and her family, and a tribute to her mom, that Anaheim United Methodist Church was so full for the funeral on February 23rd. People bore testimony to the fact that though property was her business people always came first. She was also a long standing member of the Arts Council.
So within the space of a few short months we have also said a final farewell to other members; Katherine Simon and Elsie Reed. It is almost impossible to rekindle the image of what these dear souls have meant to the arts community in the past. Too many of us only knew them as old people. But in their day they were bright, intelligent community leaders, people with immense vigor for whom nothing was too much trouble, who were adored by family and friends for their spirit, generosity and passion for the arts. And how do I know this? Because I went to all their funerals at AUMC and listened, often tearfully, to the outpourings of love and appreciation from their families and friends. It was a privilege just to have been there.
And it reminds me that those more senior members who so regularly attend our monthly meetings (or may have recently stopped because it becomes too hard to get out) have also been champions for the arts and deserve our grateful thanks. Yet more, these are the people whom we should most esteem and whose experience we might most draw upon for inspiration when it becomes us, in our turn, to bend our shoulders to the wheel.
At our January meeting Dorothy Rose reminded us of those we have lost were often great financial supporters of the arts. With their passing, support for non-profits can and does get severely hit. We are in need of those who will step into what I might call the "giving gaps" to keep alive the arts we care about.
Ironically there are currently millions of dollars sloshing around in vain attempts to get people elected to office whether here in Anaheim, or for Congress. The money does not just "slosh", it goes to waste when candidates either drop out or get defeated.
IF ONLY. If only those with so much money understood that investment in the arts would reap a far more profound benefit then ever putting some politician in office, or failing in the attempt. $1 million is chump change to some billionaires. That same money would transform generations to come if invested wisely in schools arts programs and great arts teachers. Of course there are a number of arts foundations who know this and to whom we are profoundly grateful. Still, it doesn't hurt to continue to make the case.
Speaking of arts programs, NAMM has now been and gone for this year, but not without a considerable injection of support and inspiration to the music program in schools of the Anaheim City School District. The way ahead for this program was more clearly delineated at a lunchtime session at Guinn Elementary on January 19th. Every child in the district will get opportunities to have hands on music lessons. Now, as we know, different kids have different talents; the actual learning of notation and playing an instrument is not for every child. Superintendent Dr. Linda Wagner, would relish the chance to introduce other performing arts into ACSD schools; but figuring out exactly how that can be done is another matter. I DO know that scope exists for talented actors and dancers to work in elementary schools as Guest Teachers. What an opportunity! Pick up the phone. Make an offer. Principals are waiting to hear from you. Meantime, our support goes out to the music program and we look forward to this arts initiative opening up other ways kids can experience the arts in the months to come.
Lastly, just a note that the somewhat experimental Paints Uncorked evening in Irvine went extremely well and it is therefore hoped that our own local version of this at Caffe Primo, on April 7th, will be a huge success. It's our big annual fundraiser! See the ad. lower down this newsletter and please put the date in your calendar.