My niece Julia (pictured) just graduated from a public high school that is completely dedicated to performing and visual arts. You have to audition to get in and the dedication and talent of the students is phenomenal. These kids, from the jazz players to the dancers to the filmmakers to the actors to the visual artists to the opera singers to the gospel choir to the vocal ensemble (whew!) are already performing at a professional level. And no, they aren't rich kids who have spent their lives being tutored in the arts. The mix is as diverse as the county they live in. The common denominator is their intense passion for what they do.
I have to commend my sister, who as a single mom, searched high and low for public programs to serve her two talented kids. Now they're 18 and 20, both outstanding artists and ready to make their mark on the world.
The ceremony was held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in downtown LA, home to the Oscars for many years.
My sister, mom and I (pictured) all laughed as we sat down in our plush orchestra seats: "I wonder whose famous butt sat here on Oscar night!"
The "show" for lack of a better word (oh yeah, diplomas were handed out but we were there for the talent) lasted over 4 hours and blew our minds. We saw experimental abstract theater, jazz improv, piano, dance, film, art...
I'm so incredibly proud of my niece and have to admit, it's nice being from a family that CELEBRATES when someone declares themself an art major (rather than disowning them as some can do).
Viva el arte!