October 20, 2023

Sony Pictures Entertainment Champions Arts Education

AVPA Film Sony screening 2023b

The Culver City Education Foundation (CCEF) takes great pride in making connections with local stakeholders, engaging them as partners to increase opportunities for our students. Culver City is lucky to have a robust creative community, and many have joined CCEF’s Business Partnership Program to positively impact our schools. Companies like Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) provide unparalleled resources for our students and educators, and CCEF is delighted to work closely with SPE to prioritize the district’s arts education goals. 

Under the leadership of Janice Pober, Sony Pictures Entertainment first donated to CCEF in 1991, and has been a generous partner ever since. SPE has a vested interest in nurturing creativity in young people and developing its future workforce. Unfortunately, the arts are often the first thing to disappear from the curriculum in difficult economic times. A leader among our local partners, SPE consistently steps forward to donate funding to help keep arts education programming available to our 7,000 students. 

Lani Monos, Vice President of Global Corporate Social Responsibility for SPE, said “Sony Pictures is dedicated to supporting the arts and fostering creativity and innovation in young people. We are proud to partner with a district devoted to investing in and acknowledging the importance of arts in a child’s education. We’ve created a wonderful partnership with CCUSD and CCEF to encourage a pipeline into the creative industry and to help prepare students for the jobs of the future.” 

Sony Pictures Entertainment funds many arts education programs, including Culver City High School’s Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (AVPA), Culver City’s Career & Technical Education (CTE) Arts Media and Entertainment programs, and the Front & Center Theatre Collaborative (FCTC). In fact, SPE played a pivotal role in the formation of the AVPA. SPE was also one of the lead donors to CCEF’s Arts Endowment fund when it was established in 2018.

Since 2009, The Front & Center Theatre Collaborative has connected schools with professional arts organizations to provide theater arts education for all CCUSD K-12 students. The arts partners: 24th Street Theatre, The Actors’ Gang, Center Theatre Group, Story Pirates, We Tell Stories and Young Storytellers coordinate theater programming across the entire district to best serve students at all grade levels.

artworxLA is a nonprofit arts education organization that places professional teaching artists in classrooms to inspire students’ curiosity for learning and amplify their voices on issues of local, national and global importance. Thanks to funding provided by SPE, artworxLA has partnered with CCUSD for more than 15 years. Through project-based learning, artworxLA works with Culver Park students on how to transfer the skills they learn in visual arts to the rest of their school day and lives.

In addition to funding these incredible programs, SPE has donated professional film and music production equipment to our middle and high school arts programs, including cameras, speakers, headphones and a recording sound booth. Julia Rottenberg, an AVPA Film student, shared just how life-changing their contributions can be:

“I came into the AVPA Film program as a huge movie nerd who knew nothing about the production process. Over the past few years, though, I’ve worked on numerous films of my own and can now confidently take on almost any role on a set. None of this growth would have been possible without the generous support of Sony Pictures Entertainment. They provided the C-stand I set up my first light on, the camera where I learned what “aperture” was, and the screening room where I showcased my first film as a director. Their support has led me to develop both the hard technical skills needed for a career in film production, as well as interpersonal skills in compromising and problem-solving on creative projects”.

Every year SPE hosts a screening event of CTE/AVPA student films on their studio lot, an incredible highlight for film students.  Each June, they grant a “Sony Pictures Scholarship” to a high school senior who has dreams of pursuing a career in film. For our educators, they present the “Teacher of the Year Award,” which includes a cash grant to CCUSD’s Teacher of the Year winner, along with a matching grant award for that teacher’s school PTA. SPE employees have also volunteered to make a difference at our schools through career panels, campus beautification projects and mentoring students in the Young Storytellers FCTC program.

What’s coming up next for Sony Pictures Entertainment and our schools? They have generously underwritten the costs for our CTE/AVPA Theatre students to have the unique opportunity to work with professional mentors and perform their fall production of “The Laramie Project” at The Center Theatre Group’s Kirk Douglas Theatre. You can attend the performances November 2-5, 2023 which include community conversations afterwards about the play’s challenging subject matter. Learn more at https://avpa.org/laramieproject/

Visit www.ccef4schools.org to learn more about the dynamic programs funded by donations to Culver City Education Foundation. CCEF’s mission is to support and enhance a quality education for Every Student. At Every CCUSD School. Every Day.