Reunited at the 23rd Annual Stars for the Arts Benefit

Saturday, September 25, 2021 - East Los Angeles’ “cornerstone for the arts” LAMusArt revived its annual gala, Stars for the Arts with a special evening of music, philanthropy and reunion!

LAMusArt hosted the 23rd annual Stars for the Arts Benefit Dinner and Concert on its East Los Angeles Campus to raise funds that will help re-engage students and thrive after a year of distance learning. Presented by the Jo Mitchell Foundation, the benefit began with a lively cocktail reception with entertainment from pianist, Matt Politano. Special experiences and items like a custom helicopter flight over Los Angeles and a 3-night stay at Villa Amor in Sayulita, MX encouraged guests to support LAMusArt with exciting perks!


As guests entered the school’s transformed courtyard for the dinner program, they were greeted with striking lighting highlighting LAMusArt’s Spanish-style architecture and echoing the creativity that happens behind each classroom door throughout the week. Orange and indigo lights provided by Envizion Group lit each archway where guests were seated.


LAMusArt’s Tuition-Free Jazz Ensemble appeared on two projector screens to provide streaming dinner entertainment for over 250 virtual and in-person guests. The debut music project was born out of a vision by Ensemble Director Dr. Isaac Lopez to create a medley of songs from leaders in the music industry who emerged from LA’s Eastside communities like East LA and Boyle Heights to highlight their musical achievements and give residents a sense of pride for artists who came from their own community.


“Just like the evocative music of our eastside community, LAMusArt is a communal cornerstone that unifies and emboldens its students. (They) give community members a place to not only engage in creative learning, but to celebrate the creative history of our community and to continue its legacy” Board Chair, Cynthia Pearson said. The “Eastside Music Project” 45-minute medley celebrated the achievements of musicians Herb Alpert, Lalo Guerrero, Los Lobos and current artists in popular music like La Santa Cecilia and Ozomatli.


Founder of Ozomatli and cultural ambassador, Wil-Dog Abers - who performed and recorded with the Jazz Ensemble - spoke on the importance of music education. “Music education is like a whole new language (...) It helps them connect with others and gives them skills and connections they can use throughout their lives.”


Before the dinner program came to a close, Executive Director Manuel Prieto shared how contributions made and continue to make a direct impact on LAMusArt’s programs, especially at the height of the pandemic. The organization “imparted almost 30,000 virtual lessons, produced 16 live stream shows featuring our teaching artists and some of the best California artists and ensembles and has reached over 20,000 households” and doubled student scholarships to promote accessibility. Prieto shared a few words at the event to honor The Odell Family and Jane Castruccio, who accepted the honor on behalf of the family. To carry out founder, Pearle Irene Odell’s legacy, “The onus is now on our community to foster the next generation of creative citizens.”

Stars for the Arts was sponsored by the Jo Mitchell Foundation, Jane and Lou Castruccio, Bank of Hope, First District Supervisor Hilda Solis, First Republic Bank, Union Bank, The Minguet Family, Arroyo Investment Group, Albertsons Companies Foundation, Ervin Cohen & Jessup, Overton, Lyman and Prince LLP, Lucas Horsfall, and Telacu Education Foundation.


To support LAMusArt and invest into its mission to provide access to equitable arts education, make a donation to their Thrive Campaign, to rebuild, restart and re-engage their community in East LA through arts education or donate to a general campaign at www.lamusart.org/donate.


Follow @LAMusArt on Facebook and Instagram and view photos of the evening’s events here. Watch the full stream on our YouTube Channel here. You can also view the virtual tribute book on our website.

Photography by CBGRPHY

Projection, Sound, Lighting by Envizion Group