Kazuki Takizawa

Glass Artist

Newsletter: September 12 – September 26, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
My name is Kazuki Takizawa, and I am an artist residing in Los Angeles, California. Most of my current body of work exists in the form of three-dimensional glass sculptures and installations. Although I don’t limit myself to just using glass, my affinity for the art of glassblowing keeps me coming back to the material to utilize it as a means of expression. My journey as an artist took a pivotal turn a few years ago when I decided to openly talk about my diagnosis of bipolar disorder through my work in hopes to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Part of what I do as an artist is to create a visual image of the intangible things. Some things I reference in my work are still considered taboo to talk about in many cultures today, such as suicide and depression, however, beauty in human emotion is almost always expressed. 
How did you first become interested in art?
I first became serious about making art when I found out that it can be an outlet for my expression. Being born and raised in a bubble of Japanese community in Hong Kong, I’ve always felt a sense of isolation and had trouble communicating through language. When I flew to Hawaii to study glass art at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, I found the joy of being able to really express my emotions. As a child, I always enjoyed drawing and making things with my hands, but it wasn’t until I tried shaping molten glass for the first time in Hawaii that I really decided to become an artist. 
How can art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art?
Art has a unique way of affecting us all and engaging us as a community. I think the most powerful art is one that catches one’s attention and draws you in which is something I strive to make every day. Creating visually impactful work that draws people’s interest is the first step to making people feel like they want to learn more about the work. Art can also open up dialogues. I believe that a thoughtful, cohesive and powerful work of art can really stay in viewers memories and continue to affect us all. 
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
One question I get asked frequently during my public speaking events is “Do you feel more creative as an artist when you are depressed or affected by your mental illness?” and my answer is no. I do think that I draw inspiration from feelings such as depression, pain, and struggle to make my work, but I need to stay healthy in order to be productive. In the past, I had an irrational fear that if I became mentally healthy, I wouldn’t be able to create powerful work, but when my depression is severe, I am most likely not producing work. So, I do everything I can to stay mentally healthy so I can be productive and be creative.
To find out more about Kazuki’s work, visit https://www.kazukitakizawa.com/

Natasha Middleton

Artistic Director, Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre

School Director, Media City Dance

Newsletter: August 29 – September 12, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
For the past 18 years, I have been the Artistic Director of the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, and School Director of the Media City Dance in Burbank.  I created the first professional ballet company based in Burbank, and our first performance was in my studio in Burbank on Palm Avenue, with monthly performances to enrich the community in the art of Ballet. Through my school (Media City Dance) I trained several talented young dancers to later become members of the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre. Many productions were set using both local and international dancers. Soon after I brought the full- length ballet The Nutcracker to the Alex Theatre for 5 years. In 2003, we were invited to dance with the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra at the Starlight Bowl. In 2010, I created another Christmas classic The Little Match Girl at the Colony Theatre, and continued to bring numerous shows to that theatre. Eventually, the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre went on to perform at the Ford Amphitheatre for 3 seasons, the El Portal, the Wilshire Ebell, the Saban Theatre, and guest appearances for both film and television. In 2017, my ballet company collaborated with the Burbank Chamber Music Society in a performance using 6 dancers and 4 musicians. Also, in 2017 I created 2 more productions. First was the exciting and thrilling ballet Carmen, and others were Gayane and Remember Red Sunday, a dedication to the Armenian Genocide at the Alex Theatre. Presently, Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre is about the start its 2018 Southern California tour of Carmen. The school, Media City Dance, continues to train future stars as well as students of all ages and levels.
How did you first become interested in dance/choreography?
I started training in classical Russian Ballet at age 5 under the direction of my father, Andrei Tremaine. I am a third generation ballet dancer. My grandmother was with the Ballet Russes, and my father followed in his mothers footsteps, and joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. I continued the legacy by also becoming a ballerina. While I was dancing, my father created the Pacific Ballet Theatre in which I danced many roles such as the Nutcracker, Spartacus, Don Quixote and many more productions. I realized at a young age how much I enjoyed watching my father choreograph, and followed suit by starting to choreograph little dance routines. My father praised my work. Then I began directing ballets and musicals. But, I was still very busy as a dancer so needed to put choreography on hold. A few years later, I suffered a near fatal car accident that ended my ballet career.  Following the accident I was able to focus on becoming a professional choreographer full time. After my father retired, I eventually took over his company Pacific Ballet Theatre and re-named it Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre. I am always working and creating…happily.
How can art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
Art adds definition to a community. Art elevates a community to the extraordinary. I would like to see the Burbank City Council promote even more artistic programs and perhaps give more tax deductible grants so that even more people would actively engage. I would also like to see non-profit art societies gain more affordable access to city facilities, such as the Colony Theatre and the Starlight Bowl.
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
Burbank is founded on the Arts! The film studios captured the earliest theatre and dance on black and white film. We need to continue that tradition in the community not just for large corporations
To find out more about Natasha’s work, visit https://www.pacificballetdancetheatre.com/

Brian Chan

Artist

Newsletter: August 15 – August 28, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I am driven by the principle of re-creating beauty in brokenness.  My creative portfolio includes me being a visual artist, presently working in the mixed media of charcoal, ink and acrylic on various substrates.  I have been an exhibiting artist around the U.S. since my early twenties.  I am an author, having written an action-drama novel, entitled, Not Easily Broken, which is about a widowed father fighting to rescue his 6-year-old abducted daughter with his angry 15-year-old son alongside him.  I also authored, The Purple Curtain: Living Out Beauty in Faith & Culture from a Biblical Perspective.  Most recently, I authored, “Shadow,” in It Was Good: Performing Arts to the Glory of God, which is a chapter on the complexity and importance of good villainy!  I have been a professor at Biola University for the past 12 years, teaching on Beauty and Spirituality and on Theology of Heroes and Villains.  I am a regular speaker for conferences and workshops on the subjects of creativity, writing, and faith in the arts.  Some of these workshops for writers, producers, and actors take place at the CBS studio lot and Warner Bros.  I have five degrees, so I am and always will be a scholar at heart.  My full-time work is pastoring a ministry called, Creativity Catalyst (www.creativitycatalyst.la), whose aim is to cultivate creativity for the good of human flourishing.  We fulfill our aim in a two-fold function: to nurture the soul of the creative person and mobilize creatives to bring human flourishing in the world through craft and content.  I’m also a kung fu master, teaching a handful of select students privately, while continuing my own training under my master Eddie Chong in Sacramento.  I enjoy gardening and creating installations out of discarded items (ready-made materials).  All that I am and am becoming aims to fulfill a life-purpose, which I foresee will never be achieved but can only be passionately striven for.  Re-creating beauty out of brokenness for me happens when I try to minister to a troubled soul with my visual art.  It happens when I help my readers navigate through their reality with my stories.  I try to grant a more profound and robust view of beauty and creativity for the good of the world through theology and philosophy.  It happens when I try to enlighten minds on how to turn a weak situation around with a kung fu technique, enrich the writers and producers of my workshops on the richness and purpose of writing for human flourishing, or provide pastoral guidance to struggling artists on finding grace, truth, and freedom in order to triumph and succeed.  Re-creating beauty happens when I mobilize a group of creatives to bless those in need and the overlooked.  But I feel the most creative things that I do happens with me being a husband to my wife of 19 years and a father to my son, whom we so proudly adopted when he was two but raised since he was 10-days old.  I believe re-creating beauty is at the heart of God and will never be fulfilled in my lifetime but I try to do my part in this world and lead others on that path. People often ask me how do I do all that I do.  I live by six principles.  Firstly, I meet a lot of people who do a lot of things well!  They just don’t recognize themselves as being multi-talented.  It’s easier to look at someone else and think you’re not that (i.e. multi-talented) when you already are or perhaps more!  So I think having a healthy view of oneself that’s neither over inflated nor under appreciated is important.  Secondly, I follow true humanism, a view of the Renaissance period, where I think people can have the capacity to be many things.  Da Vinci as a creative person par excellence exemplified that.  It’s a special God-given capacity of the human being, allowing us to experience so much of life and who we are.  I embrace that.  Thirdly, I also funnel everything I do through my thematic life-aim of re-creating beauty, so to me it really feels like I’m doing one thing.  It just has multiple facets for its fulfillment.  I think it’s helpful to have a life purpose or life statement.  It helps to make sense of all that we do and also to filter out what we choose not to do.  My late mentor Howard G. Hendricks used to tell me, “What you say, ‘No,’ to determines what you say, ‘Yes, to.”  So true.  Fourthly, all of my art forms are a part of me.  It’s like Jackie Chan’s character in “The Karate Kid” said, “Kung fu is in everything.”   For me, art, writing, teaching, as well as kung fu are in everything.  If I were not doing these on some professional level, I would still be doing them.  If I aim to be good at what I do and maximize what I do with the resources I apportion for them, they will go somewhere.  Fifthly, I live by being realistic and having proper expectations.  I choose what is my full time work, which is ministry to creatives and changing the world with creativity.  So I don’t expect my art or writing career to progress as if I were putting 60 hours into it, but it doesn’t mean it won’t move on some significant level over the course of my life’s narrative, if I commit to excellence, discipline and maximizing them with the portion of time I give to them.  Therefore, I don’t beat myself up for not having achieved certain things by a certain time, which is easy to do in a culture where we gauge our success by comparing ourselves to others.  I have to be aware of my own narrative and not live someone else’s.  Lastly, I believe time is the one resource that can’t be earned or taken away.  You can’t gain more time and you can’t lose it.  Time is given and you can only manage it.  Life is a miracle everyday and, as long as I am alive, I have time.  Like a good artist who manages paint well on a canvas so to not make a muddy mess or a writer who manages words so to not make a convoluted garble, we are to live artistically by managing our allotted time to fashion a well-lived life.
How did you first become interested in art?
The arts started young for me.  I made a pencil drawing for which I received recognition from my family.  It was of an F-16 Thunderbird plane, which I copied off of a ball cap that my dad gave me from an airshow we attended at the Travis Air Force Base.  That being my first “significant” piece is meaningful, because among my fondest memories are of me attending the airshows with my parents, sitting on my dad’s shoulders and watching the jets roar by.  From that piece, my family validated my talent for drawing.  I was 6-years-old.  I think that early validation was key, encouraging me on a course in the arts and eventually taking it seriously.  I began submitting for juried shows when as a social worker my supervisor supported my work and encouraged me to put myself out there.  From then, I’ve exhibited around the U.S. in various shows.  Then it was renown artist Julienne Johnson who affirmed my work and challenged me to pursue the artistic course more fully, which again made a difference in the decisions I made as an artist.  I think the path of validations at poignant times in my journey mattered in the development of my artist life.  My creative writing started in elementary school as well.  I remember writing stories and reading them to my fourth grade class.   I received a lot of attention and praise for my stories, which contained my own illustrations.  Mrs. Parkhurst praised and encouraged my creative writing.  Again, I think that early validation was key.  Writing for me was, as J.R.R. Tolkien called it, a way to traverse in a ‘secondary world.’  I still have all of those stories saved in a box!  And yes, I do once in a while crack open that box to look at my old stories.  Kung fu started for me when I was seventeen.  My two masters from Hong Kong of two different disciplines recognized my talent for it and invested in training me.  There is such an art in kung fu that intrigues me.  I’ve been a hip-hop dancer too, having competed in old school dance battles in San Francisco, but that’s a whole other story.  Art and writing were my ways to explore the many life matters swirling in my spirit, re-imagine what life and the world could be, and venture into other worlds to understand my current reality.
How can art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
I have a great example.  When I was a pastor in Hollywood, my ministry served an innercity elementary school, and among the many charitable acts we did there, two artistic efforts continue to have a lasting impact.  We painted three murals, a castle with fairy tale characters, a tree that encouraged dreaming and imagination, and a map of the United States (which was on the ground).  Before these murals, the school appeared bare and worn.  But we saw the effect it had on the children when we added artistry, creativity and beauty to their environment.  They walked in smiling and excited.  The teachers told us the paintings helped to change the children’s moods.  The second thing we did was we purchased new text books on the story of Hugo Cabret for a classroom.  One day while we were working on one of the murals, the teacher of that classroom came out to us to thank us with tears rolling from her eyes.  Each of the kids had written us heartfelt thank you notes, saying how much it meant to them to have new story books.  Art, beauty and creativity cultivate a sense of worth, value, purpose, and goodness in the human spirit.  It reminds us that we are not bound to a context of chaos, meaninglessness, and indifference.  The 20th century Roman Catholic theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar wrote that a society that loses sight of beauty also loses sight of the good.  Truth, beauty and goodness go together.  While food, shelter and clothing help the body to survive, art, beauty and creativity help the human spirit to thrive.  We, artists, have a high calling and burden to cultivate and shape our community into a fertile place where the human spirit flourishes.  That’s why I love the efforts of the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission and the Burbank Art Association, which I am a proud member of, to promote the presence of the arts in our city.  Whether performances, spoken word, music, visual arts, stories, or gardening, the spectrum of the arts bears in my mind a sacred calling for artists to be brilliant and benevolent creative stewards of God’s good earth.
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
Picasso once said that the arts is not merely for decoration, but rather the arts have the power to construct and tear down.  Also, Madeleine L’Engle, author of, A Wrinkle in Time, wrote in her book, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, that true art reverses chaos.  Finally, my son Josiah gave an important quote.  As he was about to turn 5, I took him to a hiking trail in Burbank.  When we arrived at the trailhead, he came out of the car and said, “Wow!  This is so beautiful.”  I responded, “Yes, it is beautiful.”  He said, “This helps my heart.”  I think there are a lot of people wrestling with chaos in the world, in their lives, at their jobs, in their relationships, and in their hearts.  I remember when I first heard about the tragic end of actor Robin Williams.  It shocked and shook me.  I grew up with him and saw him as an icon of a happy human, because of all the laughter he brought people, including myself.  He used to give me one of those belly-aching laughs when you’re laughing so hard that your face turns red but no sound is coming out of your gaping smile.  His death spoke to me that chaos and destructiveness is still very prevalent in our society, and much of it exists at a subterranean level, buried well below the apparent view of others.  And sometimes, the chaos carries on with a level of profundity that alludes the comprehension of most, even its bearers.  So I resonate with Picasso and L’Engle that the creative works have power to construct and reverse chaos.  They have the power to re-create beauty in brokenness.  But we also ought to be wary of the potency of creativity to bring harm and destructiveness.  I resonate with my son, that beauty helps the heart.  As creative folks, we have a calling to be diligent in sharpening our craft and creating substantial content.  We have to dig beyond superficial perceptions or presumptions, which means growing in our own thinking.  We have a responsibility to be disciplined, to conquer procrastination, distraction, or complacency.   We should be sociologists, psychologists, historians, philosophers, and scholars to understand our city, our culture and our world better in order to know how to speak into it.  And, we have to not merely generate great ideas which remains in the private realm of the dreamer’s mind, but we have to sacrifice time, energy, and resources to do the hard work of creating in order that others can experience what we envision.  We, artists, move along a continuum of culture.  Sometimes we’re in the center of mainstream culture, but more often we have to function from the margins, for that’s where we are most effective.  It’s like the ancient prophets who spewed wisdom from the edges of society.  Artists function from the margins of society in order to see what others are not seeing, say what others do not want to say and point to a light that others are not perceiving.  In so doing, we help our city grow as a community and become a better place.  Imagine a painting that constantly brings a sense of joy and hope to an office.  Imagine a song that helps someone understand their pain so they can begin to heal.  Imagine a story that helps someone navigate through their depression.  Imagine a fashion designer creating a piece of clothing that helps someone feel the deeper meaning of their humanity.  Imagine an actor incarnate a character that helps someone capture the person they can become.  Imagine a poem that helps someone grasp hope amidst their dark space.  Imagine a creative project that makes the light come on for a classroom of kids.  Imagine a citywide arts festival that reminds everyone there is beauty and good in this world, despite what the hardships they’re experiencing.  I would say to our Burbank community, which I love being a part of, let’s nurture creativity from the schools to the streets and from the galleries to the offices.  Let’s raise up the arts of all media.  Let’s create an aesthetic environment of what is seen, heard, tasted, and felt in order to cultivate beauty in the souls who dwell in this place
To find out more about Brian’s work, visit https://brianseechan.com/

Jeanine Hattas Wilson

Artist

Newsletter: August 1 – August 14, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
Hattas Public Murals is a team of artists who do custom hand-painted murals and artwork for homes, businesses, and municipalities. We collaborate with each client to transform blank walls into something original that fits their needs, coordinates with their space, and makes a big impact. We work as a team to make sure the process moves smoothly from the initial consultation to the final brush stroke. It’s important to us to always be communicating with our clients to make sure their artwork is just how they imagined it … and hopefully even better! 
How did you first become interested in art?
Like most of my team, I have loved drawing and painting since I was a child. I have a twin sister, and we grew up drawing together every day. My parents strongly encouraged our interest, putting us in art classes since I can remember. Their support, and having fun with my sister, lead me on this very fulfilling path, always learning and growing as a professional artist. 
How do you think art can enrich a community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
When you think of a major city or an important period in history, you quickly conjure up images of that place or time’s architecture, statutes, paintings, writings, music, fashion and more. Art defines us as communities. It calls attention to our growth, passions, and skills, and lets us define what’s important to us at this moment in time. 
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
Art is a way to communicate across all cultures, languages, and time. We can look at a painting from 500 years ago and understand a story. We don’t have to speak Italian to see how powerful the Sistine Chapel is. We are captivated by the visual descriptions … the figures, colors, and movement tell us everything without speaking a word.
To find out more about Jeanine’s work, visit http://hattas.com/

Keith Rust

Roycroft Renaissance Artisan

Newsletter: July 18 – July 31, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I am a landscape painter that works in the style of the arts and crafts, and was recently accepted as a Roycroft Renaissance Artisan. I spent several years developing my style of painting which pays homage to the Arts & Crafts movement through the inspiring beauty of the great outdoors. I love traveling and capturing the spectacular beauty found in nature. I usually start off with an idea of a location I want to represent and then work on capturing the ideal composition as I scale and arrange all of the elements. After the design is finished, I begin blocking in the sky colors using layer upon layer of transparent acrylic washes. Once the sky is completed, I move to the background elements and then gradually progress forward. As the image comes together, I will often remix colors and repaint sections to better unite the whole. The final stage is to outline the middle-ground in darker variations of the colors and the foreground in black, giving the painting a sense of greater depth.
How did you first become interested in art?
My mother was a multimedia artist and painter, and my father was incredibly creative. From an early age I was always creating art, but it was through my first art professor, Mr. John Kaneko, that I discovered a real love of painting.  With his recommendation, I attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena to study illustration.  And after graduating with honors, I began working in the computer game industry as a game artist before advancing to the position of Art Director and Vice President of Creative Arts.  Eventually my interests shifted to becoming a high school art instructor and fine arts painter.
How do you think art can enrich a community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
Art is a creative process resulting in a unique form of expression that can serve to enrich the lives of those who interact with it. Within diverse communities, art has the unique ability to be relatable across culture and language, because art is a visual expression. I appreciate how businesses around Burbank have incorporated art in public spaces when designing their facilities, sharing enjoyment with others. 
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
Art is everywhere. If we look around our environments, just about everything that is not found in nature has been touched by an artist. The clothes we wear, the transportation we use, the homes we live in and the visuals we see were all designed by artists. The art we choose becomes an expression and extension of who we are as individuals. 
To find out more about Keith’s work, visit http://www.keithrustillustration.com/

Lynda A. N. Reyes

Artist

Newsletter: July 5 – July 19, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I am a visual artist, an art historian, and an author. I am a professional full time artist who maintains a studio in Glendale. I do transparent watercolor and oil paintings that are highly representational and yet they invite the viewers to ponder. I accept portrait commissions in oil and watercolor.
How did you first become interested in art?
I have been interested in the arts since elementary grades back in the Philippines. My art works were always displayed on bulletin boards. I would draw for my classmates the projects in our science class in high school. I then pursued my Bachelors in Fine Arts, majoring in painting in college. I excelled as an artist and finished my degree in 3 years at age 18. I did my first oil portrait of my grandmother based on a small old sepia photo when I was 17 years old. It is still in my studio to this day. After college, painting was relegated to the side because I had to seek employment, but my employment remained arts related. I came here in the US for my graduate studies. Then between motherhood, I went back to painting and then came my cancer and the urge to be alive became so strong that art zoomed into the picture.  My kids were very young and they needed me. Art became full time.
How do you think art can enrich a community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
This is a very loaded question and as an educator, a semester worth of class in Humanities may answer this. Humanities can be defined as the “best” that was thought of (philosophy), spoken (literature) and artistically rendered (visual and performing arts) by man. That entails a lot of deep thinking and creative thinking too.  Exposure to creative work in whatever media can strongly encourage creative thinking. I used to say to my students that exposure to the visual arts and performing arts would lead them to see and thus think beyond their nose. One is made to think beyond the ordinary! Imagine what that can lead to if there is constant exposure to the arts in the community’s everyday life! Everyone will eventually be a problem solver, a critical thinker.  Art can indeed enrich a community, but the approach should be systemic. People in the community can be engaged easily if they have been engaged early enough while still in elementary school. Art education that focuses, not just on techniques in art, but on creative thinking should be integral to the school system. Art teachers in elementary education should be exposed to a creativity enhancement workshop every year.  Art teachers should be creative themselves!  If it is too late for this, then exposure is best. Art should be more visible and accessible in the community.

If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
I can share with everyone who view my works the inspiration, courage, and optimism I got from art so that should they be confronted with a major battle in life like what I have experienced, they will continue the struggle to live with passion and determination.  They will cry for five minutes and on the sixth they should move on. With each painting that is finished comes strength, and with strength comes hope. Life continues. I have proven it! Art can help. You just have to let it enter your life. Give it a chance.

To find out more about Lynda’s work, visit http://lyndaanreyes.com/

Michael Hirsh

Ceramic Artist

Newsletter: June 20 – July 3, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I am a professional ceramic artist living and working in Burbank. In my home studio I create one of a kind pieces from clay. Most of my work involves shapes, textures, and bright colors reminiscent of the mid-century modern era. All my pieces are thrown on the wheel then hand carved. After firing I glaze my work by hand as well. You can find me selling my work at numerous art festivals in California and Colorado. When I’m not creating my work, I will be found teaching ceramics at the Betsy Lueke Creative Arts Center in Burbank.
How did you first become interested in ceramics?
My first introduction into clay came to me in middle school. I took my first class and was hooked! As a child I enjoyed building models and doing arts and crafts at school, so playing in clay was natural for me. Since clay was more fun than math or history I attended two different art schools, where I received my BFA and MFA in ceramics.
How do you think art can enrich a community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
I don’t think people realize how much art plays a part in our daily lives. Just about everything we see and do has had an artist’s hand in it. Art in communities helps stimulate conversation and creativity in its citizens, and gives vision for the future. Burbank does a wonderful job with its art programs. Where I teach at Betsy Lueke Creative Arts Center, they offer a wide variety of classes for all ages and all mediums. There is truly something for everyone there. We also have two different art associations that people can join to help them be more involved in the art community here in Burbank.
 If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
Art can invoke memories, create conversation, debates, and stimulate ideas. Letting yourself get involved with a work of art can be very satisfying, whether it’s painting, sculpture, or just a cool hotel sign. Have fun with it!
To find out more about Michael’s work, visit https://www.mjhceramics.com/

 

Wendy Wallace

Artist

Newsletter: June 6 – June 19, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I’m an artist, working primarily in acrylics. Whether I’m inspired by nature, working on social commentary pieces, or creating murals, it all usually involves bright colors and bold textures.When I’m not creating art, I like to create art opportunities. I currently serve on the board for the Burbank Art Association and organize pop-up exhibits around town for our members.
How did you first become interested in art?
I’ve always been interested in art and creativity in various forms, but I had several other careers behind me before finally becoming an artist later in life. It happened after I became a parent. One day I heard my child say “I can’t do this,” in reference to a homework assignment. Wanting to encourage her, I replied, “You haven’t even tried it yet. Give it a whirl.  And remember, nobody starts out perfect at anything.” It occurred to me a few days later that, as someone who has always said “I can’t paint,” I should take my own advice! This led me to take my first painting class through Burbank Parks & Rec. I was hooked immediately and haven’t looked back since. 
How do you think art can enrich a community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
We so often get so caught up in the everyday rat race of working, raising a family, and trying to schedule a million events that we just plain forget to look around at the beauty and ideas surrounding us. Local art within a community can spark a moment of joy, or make people pause and think. It can bring people together. It can give voice to things people struggle to say. Art is great at capturing ideas and inspiring conversation. Art not only enriches the physical aspects of our community, it also enriches the people encountering it who make up our communities. As for where to experience art in Burbank, there is a lot of great public art and murals around the city, as well as fantastic gallery spaces. But there are also many special events throughout the year specifically dedicated to showcasing the work of local artists. One such event takes place this Saturday, June 9th at the Burbank Town Center Macy’s in the 1st Floor Elevator Lobby. The store is graciously showcasing the artwork of several members of the Burbank Art Association and is hosting a reception from 3:00-5:00 p.m. If you can’t make the opening reception, the artwork will be up in the lobby all month, so definitely stop by.
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
The gift of art is that it inspires and can be done by anyone. It can bring out something special – and often unexpected – within all of us, no matter what the medium. If I’ve learned anything, it’s Don’t Be Afraid. Don’t worry that you’re not good enough, or haven’t gone to school for it, or haven’t been doing it since childhood. There are so many ways to express yourself – jump in and give it a try!
 To find out more about Wendy’s work, visit www.WendyWallaceArt.com

Katherine Large

Clarinetist

Newsletter: May 23 – June 5, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I’m a freelance clarinetist and private instructor working both in the LA/Orange county area as well as San Francisco.
How did you first become interested in music?
When I was in 6th grade, we had a choice between participating in band or PE, so I decided that I would audition on one instrument, and if I got it, it was meant to be. I chose clarinet, made it into band, and it only took about a week for me to know that music was the career for me. I was hooked to the new challenges that mastering an instrument presented. 
How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
Art has an amazing power, especially in trying times, of bringing people together and allowing them to relate and connect with one another – no matter the differences, and allow all of us to remember that we are more alike than different. Engaging with art is as easy as getting out of your comfort zone – visiting a museum, attending a concert, even if you think that it’s not your cup of tea – give it a try, you’d be surprised what beauty you’ll find!
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
How much art enhances our lives, even when we aren’t conscious of it around us. Giving yourself an extra moment to appreciate the beauty in a painting, to get lost in a Brahms symphony, to appreciate the difficulty of dance; taking small moments to appreciate art translates to greater appreciation of our own lives.

 

Mina Ho Ferrante

Artist

Newsletter: April 25 – May 9, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I was born and raised in Vietnam until I was 21 years old. I am the fourth generation of an artistic family. My great-grandfather was the artist of the Nguyen Dynasty’s royal court, and my grandma was the first professional woman artist of Vietnam. Before moving to the United States, I had a solo exhibition of silk paintings at the Fine Art Association of Ho Chi Minh city. The city’s daily news then named me “Vietnam’s youngest solo exhibition artist.” All the paintings were sold out, and part of the profit was donated to the families who suffered from a recent terribly destructive storm. In America, I attended the Academy of Art College, San Francisco. During the third year at The Academy of Art College, I was one of 35 students recruited from 13 top art colleges in America and Canada to attend Walt Disney’s Animation Training Boot Camp. Upon completing the “Boot Camp,” I was one of three students who received a scholarship and post-graduation offer to work for Disney Feature Animation Studios. At Walt Disney Animation I helped design movie sets for animation films including AtlantisTreasure PlanetHome on the RangeTarzan 2 and Lilo and Stitch 2Recently, in 2017, I had my solo exhibition in Ho-Chi-Minh City, Vietnam. The show was a success with 22 out of 28 paintings sold and significant media coverage. I also donated money from the sale of three paintings to charity to help Vietnamese orphans and other people in need. I am a member of the Portrait Society of America, California Art Club, Burbank Art Association, Pasadena Society of Artists, Glendale Art Association and Women Painters West. I am involved in annual international exhibitions and also received multiple awards from many juried art shows in America. I am currently pursuing my Master of Fine Art in Modern History of Art at Azusa Pacific University. I live in Burbank, California with my husband and three children. When not taking care of my family and painting, I volunteer in the community and write. I also teach drawing and painting classes for both adults and children. In 2016, I had my first book published. It’s a bilingual fiction titled Prince of the Sea, which I wrote and illustrated.
How did you first become interested in art?
As I mentioned above, I was born into an artistic family. Thanks to my grandma, uncles and aunts, I learned to draw before I could write. After the civil war ended in 1975, most of the people in Vietnam struggled with hardship, and so did my family. There were times that my family had nothing to eat as we lived in extreme poverty. However, now as I look back, my memories are filled with happy images of us singing songs, playing the guitar, citing poems or creating drawing and writing to share with each other in the family. To my family, during that time, religion and art were very important factors that helped us survive the miserable time. In other words, art helped to keep our hope up so that we still believed in a better future.
How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
I feel lucky that our family now lives in such a wonderful community as Burbank. There are so many opportunities for families and individuals to engaged in arts in this city. The Burbank Arts for All Foundation raises great funds to support art programs in Burbank public schools each year. And, as we all know, Burbank has such wonderful public schools with fantastic art and music programs.  Our great schools and their art and music programs are one of the main draws for people to move from other local areas to Burbank. Here, there are art fairs and festivals all year round. There are summer concerts (a lot of them are free or very affordable) where the residents can hang out, relax, make friends and create memories while enjoy music together. We have the great Creative Art Center, which offers a wide range of art classes and activities for kids and adults. And lastly, Burbank is the media center, the base for major studios, where movies and shows are made everyday. These studios not only give plenty of job opportunities to residents, but also provide inspiration and supports to students and young adults who are always in search of career direction and goals. Again, as I mentioned above: Art is a very important factor in human development and happiness. Therefore, a community with strong art will provide a healthy environment for citizen members, a place where we live and thrive happily; together in this place, we can build a better world.
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
I would tell parents of young kids that they should create a natural artistic environment at home to enable kids to be creative at anytime. Have materials such as paper, crayons and markers ready, so the younglings can doodle anytime they want. If you can’t afford a piano or a keyboard, get a guitar, a flute, a harmonica, tiny drums or some maracas. Turn off the TV, plug your ears and let the kids jam and be the rock stars!
To find out more about Mina’s work, visit http://www.minahoferrante.com/

Anna Zinsmeister

Handweaver and Spinner 

Instructor, Betsy Lueke Creative Arts Center

Newsletter: April 11 – April 24, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I’m a handweaver and a spinner. I’ve been teaching for over ten years at the Betsy Lueke Creative Arts Center. I’ve been in instructors’ exhibits at the Betsy Lueke Creative Arts Center too. I have a Master’s Degree in textiles from Cal State Northridge and before that I got my BA from Immaculate Heart College in Hollywood. I’m a member of the Greater Los Angeles Spinning Guild, the Southern California Handweavers Guild, and Textile Arts Los Angeles. The Southern California Handweavers Guild will be having an exhibit at the Old Town Newhall Library in Santa Clarita this summer. I hope to exhibit in that show. This weekend my weaving and spinning groups will be at the Huntington Gardens demonstrating. I use a drawloom, which is a complex loom, to create woven portraits. I recently did a double self-portrait which was in the California State Fair last summer. It won First prize.
How did you first become interested in textiles?
My mother had a loom which she used when I was very young but stopped because she became too busy with raising kids. The loom was always in our house but no one ever used it. When I was at Immaculate Heart College, someone petitioned for us to have a teacher come in and teach us weaving. She was a local weaver named Momo Nagano. I loved weaving and continued after graduating. I’ve been weaving now for 45 years. I really like the process of taking a bunch of threads and turning them into a fabric that you can hold and look at. As a spinner I can go ever further back and take fluff and turn it into thread and then fabric. I now have my mother’s loom as well as the drawloom. I used my mother’s loom to weave the pieces for my graduate show at Northridge. I also love teaching weaving. I’ve been teaching weaving almost as long as I’ve been a weaver.
How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
My students have a real connection with each other and what they are working on. They love to share their finished projects with each other. They take my classes to learn but also to engage with each other. When my kids were small I would go into their classes and teach the students about weaving. I think there could be more publicity in Burbank so people could find out more about what’s going on in the arts. The Burbank Channel had a nice piece several years back about the Burbank Parks and Recreation Department and what’s happening at the Betsy Lueke Creative Arts Center. It would be good to do this more often. Also the Burbank Leader has had articles about the photography shows at the library and Betsy Lueke Creative Arts Center, but it would be good to have more including more photos of what people are doing. I feel people in Burbank don’t use the Parks and Recreation Department as much as they could, maybe thinking the classes are mostly for kids. There are a lot of interesting adult classes. Most of my students don’t live in Burbank.
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
One of my favorite artists said it best: “Art is needed like sunshine.” I agree!
 To find out more about Anna’s work, visit https://schg.org/

Connie Towns Burr

Artist

Newsletter: March 28 – April 10, 2018 

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I have been painting watercolors now for over thirty years and have been selling my work as a full-time professional artist for over fifteen years. I love watercolors because of the freedom and fluidity that it offers me. My work over the years has evolved into what has been described as ethereal, light-infused and therapeutic. Currently my husband and I own and operate the Towns Burr Gallery in Burbank. CA
How did you first become interested in art?
I grew up in a large family and it was easy to get lost in the shuffle. So when I was around seven years old I decided one day that I would take up drawing. There were beautiful woods near where I lived and I found myself going out and sketching for hours.
How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
I ascribe to the saying “the earth without art is eh.” Art is something that can bring people together and help us appreciate others points of view. Art promotes diversity of culture, reflects the values of the community and can increase the local economy by bringing in tourism. People can get engaged in the Burbank art scene by visiting local galleries and attending their opening receptions.There they will be able to meet the artists and learn more about their work and thought processes.
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
Remember that art is everywhere you just need to be open to seeing it.
To find out more about Connie’s work, visit http://www.connietownsart.com and  www.townsburrgallery.com.

Erin Farrel

Writer

Newsletter: March 14 – March 28, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
During college at UCLA, I started writing novels. After several attempts, I finally found a plot that I felt was going somewhere, and I hope to finish and publish my first novel by the end of summer 2018
How did you first become interested in writing?
I became interested in writing through….reading (surprise! haha). I have always loved mystery romance novels and during college there were several points where I came up with story lines in my head and just started writing. I’ve learned a lot through the process, both about myself and about my abilities as a writer. I never thought of myself as a writer and sometimes when I have writer’s block I still don’t consider myself a writer, but I’m closer than ever to finishing my first book and I can’t wait to see the end result. 
How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
Burbank is a great place to become engaged in art! I believe that Burbank is now, more than ever, a growing town filled with young people trying to pursue the arts. Beyond that, Burbank schools are incredibly supportive of people pursuing artistic careers. I went to Burbank High School and was inundated with support. My English teachers were very supportive of people with different writing styles. I’ve always felt that my writing style is more “casual” than most published authors, and it’s not something I ever wish to change. I write how I speak, and in my opinion, it results in an honest and candid work product. I know that part of the reason that I have developed so much as a writer is because I had the support of my teachers from a young age, and they never tried to change who I was as a writer. From a writer’s perspective, writers tend to write about what they know. After living in Burbank for the entirety of my life, I can’t think of a better setting to include in my stories than Burbank.  
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
I would share that it’s important to pursue art, even if your work is never recognized on a large scale! Art is a way to express yourself and gives an outlet that goes beyond work and home life. Even though I haven’t published my written work yet, just the fact that I’ve been working towards a goal gives me an unparalleled sense of accomplishment and joy. So, pursue your art and support those around you who pursue theirs! Nothing but good can come of it.

Teri Richardson

Co-Founder and Teacher, GeneRaTion DCD

Newsletter: February 28 – March 14, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
GeneRaTion DCD is my daughter Amanda, my mother Lynne, and myself (Teri) teaching the three things we love–dance, art, and child development classes.  We believe in helping young preschoolers with school readiness as well as developing friendships, social skills and self esteem for all ages including our youth and adult community.  We taught all these classes at Burbank Parks and Recreation department for eighteen years. After a while, our students wanted a bigger space and more classes.  Along with their families, our students not only raised all the money to get us our studio, but they all pitched in to help build it together.  They donated their time, skills, and materials so that we could be debt-free and keep our classes affordable like the Parks and Rec. So really we think of it as their studio. Here we have a community of eighteen-month-old children to ninety-nine-year-old adults; it is about families and different generations coming together.  A year later they still water the flowers that they planted, taking as much pride in watching them grow as we do in watching our studio and families grow.We pride ourselves on our teacher assistant program.  Teaching responsibility and independence to children as young as five years old–we teach them how to warm up a class, run a class, choreograph, clean bathrooms, sweep, run the computer programs and how to greet people. They take pride in wearing our assistant t-shirts because they earned it. So this studio is very much run not only by us, but by the people who take our classes too. “DCD” stands for “dance,” “create,” and “discover.” My daughter teaches dance and represents the “dance” part–hip hop, ballet, jazz, choreography, etc. Through art my mother teaches school readiness and creativity, and represents “create.” I also teach dance and art,  but also have a love for teaching the little preschoolers–the “discover part” which includes teaching mommy and me school-readiness type classes. Our classes are affordable for the whole family, and our studio is a safe place for kids and everyone to dance, create, and discover.My daughter Amanda has been working  with the Burbank Parks and Rec since she was 12, and with the schools since she was 16 years old, teaching dance and choreographing for the show choirs in the middle schools and high schools in Burbank as well as other California and out of state schools.  My mom Lynne works for the schools in Orange county as well.  I also partner with schools and teach dance.  We have a love for teaching youth, as you can see!
How did you first become interested in art?
I started as a mother teaching my daughter, like my mother showed me. My mother is a professional artist, and my daughter is a professional dancer and choreographer. We are three generations teaching other generations what we love.  
How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
I am also part of the Random Act of Kindness Foundation. As a RAKtivist, we do free kindness raids in our community which is a good way to love and bring community together.  For instance, we’ve done things like make four hundred valentines for members at the Josyln Center, and six hundred thank you cards for our Burbank Fire Fighters after our fires last year.. . . we also flashmob “Thriller“ throughout our city for free to support local schools and businesses. Things like that encourage people to love their city and community while interacting and having fun together.
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
One thing that I’ve learned is that creating art provides a distraction, giving your brain a break from your usual thoughts and responsibilities. When I’m dancing, I don’t think about all the bad things going on. It’s your happy place.
To find out more about Teri’s work, visit http://www.generationdcd.com/home

Natalie Cottrell 

Dancer/Actress

Newsletter: February 15 – February 27, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I received my BFA in Musical Theatre–I’m a triple-threat performer! I am also a dance instructor who teaches a variety of dance classes at Rock Star Dance Fitness.
How did you first become interested in dance/acting?
I started dancing ballet when I was four back in El Paso, Texas and grew to love and appreciate technique and the art of dance. Acting wise, I volunteered weekly for the children’s ministry and put on acting and puppet skits!
How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
Art can help people become more confident, allow them to try new things, and stay fit and healthy as well. It benefits both self empowerment as well as physical and mental health.
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
It lets people express themselves, and be free.

Emily Lazernik

Musician

Newsletter: February 1 – February 13, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I am a freelance bassoonist and teacher in the LA area. I am especially interested in exploring new ways to use the bassoon in different musical genres such as electronic and rock music, and discovering ways to reach more people through interdisciplinary arts performances.
How did you first become interested in music?
My grandma was in a church choir while I was growing up. That was my first introduction to performing music. I always wanted to be up there singing with her but I couldn’t because it was just for adults. In fifth grade I had the opportunity to join band, and I began playing saxophone.
How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
Art of any kind can bring a community together by reaching across a broad spectrum of people. I have met so many different types of people through art that I would not have met otherwise! You can participate in the arts in your community by taking a class, volunteering at one of the many arts organizations, going to a museum, or attending a concert.
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
Art is for anyone and everyone! Regardless of experience, age, gender, race, socioeconomic background, or anything else. Don’t be afraid to get involved.

Rajasri Mallikarjuna

Composer

Secretary, Musicians at Play Foundation 

Production Editor, Alfred Music

Newsletter: January 17 – January 31, 2018

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I’m a composer, an editor at Alfred Music, and a board member of Musicians at Play Foundation (MAP). I recently finished writing a ballet called Draupadi, and I work on new piano, choral, and string products at the publishing company. I’m also currently organizing a composers’ workshop with MAP, to help local composers hear their music played live by professional-level instrumentalists and receive feedback from other musicians.
How did you first become interested in music?
I remember seeing a piano at a neighbor’s house at the age of five and feeling instantly drawn to the instrument. That neighbor became my piano teacher a few years later, and I have been involved in music ever since.
How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
Art is a result of human expression, and it can allow members of a community to feel more connected and understood by sharing different perspectives and experiences. Art can also be therapeutic, fun, educational, and exciting; regardless of how people are engaged with art, participation is healthy for both individuals and communities.  Burbank offers an array of interactive events and venues to experience various art forms. As a second-year resident of the city, I’ve loved attending the summer arts fair and seeing live music in downtown Burbank. I’ve been to wonderful concerts held by the Burbank Chamber Music Society, and I look forward to experiencing similar high-caliber events this year.
 If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
There are no limits when it comes to art; never hesitate to express yourself through it in your own, unique way.
To find out more about Raj’s work, visit http://www.musiciansatplay.org/

Trina Robinson-Kemie

Founder and Owner, Rock Star Dance Fitness in Burbank, CA

Founder, RS Confidence in Burbank, CA

Professional Dancer/Choreographer/Actress/Wellness Fitness Expert/Personal Coach/Entrepreneur

Newsletter: December 13 – December 26, 2017

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I am the founder of Rock Star Dance Fitness, which offers a variety of dance and fitness classes with cultural diversity with authenticity, for all ages and levels (specifically Adult Dance Fitness). We try to bring culture, fitness, arts and fun together in a no judgment- ego free community; and positive environment. We offer Hip-Hop, Musical Theatre, Afro-Caribbean Grooves, Ballet, Cardio Kick Boxing, Pop Pilates, Yin  Yoga, Tap, U-Jam, Zumba–and a variety of dance and fitness styles. There is no previous dance or fitness experience required here–you don’t have to be super fit or in shape.
How did you first become interested in dance?
It’s funny–I’ve been dancing since I was two years old in Miami, FL! In day care my mom put me in the dance studio, where I trained in ballet, jazz, tap, and gymnastics. When I was older I went to a performing arts high school, and learned more styles–Modern, African, Caribbean and Hip-Hop. Then I went to Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, where I majored in dance, with a jazz and theater concentration and received my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance . From there I went to New York City and got accepted to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Summer Intensive Program, where I trained as professional dancer in Modern Techniques, Contemporary, Jazz and Ballet and performance training. After the program I started working as a personal trainer and fitness instructor at some of the top corporate gyms in the country.   I have always had an affinity for fitness, so I decided to become a personal trainer and learned to train people and help them accomplish their goals. I have been able to combine my professional dance and fitness instruction backgrounds and ultimately merged dance and fitness skills in an artistic way. I was able to work with the Moulin Rouge premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and started my own Can-Can workout, while also doing off-Broadway productions and teaching.  After 9/11 I moved to California. I worked in marketing, business, sales, personal growth and development. I got married and had kids. After a while, I found that I had gained weight and had a lot of health problems–I felt like I was no longer myself. I decided that I had to make changes in my health, and told myself that one day I wanted to feel like a Rock Star. And that’s when I drew the logo. I want to help other people feel positive about themselves as an everyday person; for people to take care of their well-being so they can celebrate themselves. I also want other mothers out there to know that they can follow their passion, even if they have young kids like I did when I started. I know how it feels to be out of shape and over weight, and in a lot of pain, because I have been there too.
How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
By building great community together. There is a lot of commonality at Rock Star. People who come there appreciate the dancing, but also a lot of them are professional dancers, previous dancers or have always wanted to dance. There are students who want to learn how to teach others, as well. So I founded RS Confidence for people who want to perform and teach in an academy approach, but also be spiritually uplifted, trained and learn practical vocational skill sets and hands on training. It is about wellness, culture and performing arts. If people want to bring out their inner artist, we are here to help them develop those skills and give them a platform to do that. To put together productions where people can come and enjoy performing-arts -to bring people together, and give back to the community.
 If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
Art is a lifeline to your sanity and mental, emotional and social wellness. You need art as a creative, emotional outlet–to bring a sense of well-being to your spirit in order to feel more in sync with your soul. I really feel like if people lose any type of art or creativity, it can drive them to insanity, because they are not able to have a place of sanctuary or refuge to express themselves. I used to watch the TV program Super Soul Sundays, and on one episode there was a guy who was diagnosed with brain cancer. They didn’t know what to do about it. Then he started listening to music, playing music, and painting. Every time he went back, it got smaller and smaller. He felt that being engaged with art killed it. Art is a way to help things not build up and metastasize. Not holding on to that anger or resentment–that gives you the energy to release that and use it in art as an outlet for creativity. It’s like a free medicine. If you get hooked there are no side effects–the side effects are that it’s free! Lastly, I am thrilled to announce the launch of our new nonprofit called RS Confidence.  We are unveiling it at our holiday party this Saturday, December 16th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.  The event is free and we’d love to see you there ~  Rock Star Dance & Fitness at 517 N.Glenoaks, Burbank, CA 91502.  There will be special demos, live performances, prizes, raffles, health coaching and more.   

To find out more about Trina’s work, visit  http://rockstardancefitness.com/


Vsevolod Krawczeniuk

Director, Burbank Children’s Theatre Company

Newsletter: November 29 – December 12, 2017

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
“Burbank Children’s Theatre Company is a group of very talented and energetic professionals who perform vibrant and engaging plays for children and their families. We select plays that are educational, inspirational, and just plain fun. Many of our productions include audience participation, and children are always welcome to come up on stage after the show to explore the theatre. Our performers love to hang out, chat with the kids, and take pictures with the kids on the set. All of our performers are seasoned professionals with extensive backgrounds in theatre, film, and tv.”

How did you first become interested in theatre?
“My father was a professor at King’s College, a small Catholic liberal arts college in Wilkes-Barre, PA. King’s had a wonderful theatre department that would include one children’s theatre performance in its yearly repertoire. At an early age, my parents would take me to see these shows. Later, they began taking me to the other productions. I was exposed to Shakespeare, Strindberg, Ibsen, and a host of other great playwrights at a very young age.”

 How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
“Art is about “Us.” Art is communal and is not exclusive to one group. Art tells our collective stories. When we are hearing a play, watching a dance, listening to music, or viewing paintings and sculptures, we are gathering in a place and sharing a common experience. I think that is marvelous. I think Burbank is an absolutely amazing place. We have a school district and supporters who make teaching the arts a priority. We have a parks and rec department that offers various art classes taught by terrific teachers. The greater Los Angeles area is the media capital of the world. The most talented and creative people from all over the world come here to create their art. Many of them live and work in Burbank. That’s just plain awesome!”

If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
“If I could share with our community one thing about art, it would be my encouragement to explore. Artists are people who are trying to communicate their visions and passions with others. They are not working to please an elite group of critics; they are talking to all of us. The form may very, but the intention is the same. Please, go out and listen to the many voice out there. Find the ones who speak to you, and find the ones who challenge you. Also, find the artist within yourself. Find ways to express yourself and make your voice heard. You don’t have to be a Da Vinci or Mozart to express yourself to your fellow human beings.”

To find out more about Vsev’s work, visit https://www.facebook.com/BurbankChildrensTheatre/


Nicolina Logan

Co-Artistic Director, Burbank Chamber Music Society

Newsletter: November 16 – November 26, 2017

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
“I am a clarinetist and co-artistic director of the Burbank Chamber Music Society, a collective of LA area musicians that shares intimate concerts and performances with the people of Burbank. Our concerts feature woodwinds, voice, strings, brass, percussion, and world instruments in programs that celebrate traditional, popular, and contemporary works for small ensembles.”

How did you first become interested in music?
“When I was younger I was very fortunate to be exposed to many kinds of music in many different places–Riverdance tapes on TV, attending occasional musicals with live pit orchestras, hearing film scores, my father playing guitar and, like many, a brief series of piano lessons. I did not discover the clarinet or the world of orchestral and chamber music until I took music classes at John Muir and Burbank High, and thereafter studied music through college.”

How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
“It seems to me that in some way, everyone who lives makes a living in the arts. The “arts business” is everyone’s business, really, for art is everywhere–in everything that communicates with any of our (at least five) senses–whether that be inside the concert hall, or out. Something we want to do with the Burbank Chamber Music Society is to invite people to feel that chamber music–music made in small groups of some two to thirteen people, usually one to a part, without a conductor, played in an intimate space–is relevant to them, because it reflects a large part of their lives: conversation and communication. Much like the weekly Farmers’ Market, we want our concerts to be a community gathering place–an informal space for people of all ages to discover music, build friendships, and simply enjoy being together. Without a conductor, chamber music is very democratic, colleagues sharing, exploring, and implementing different ideas. For this it is known as the “music of friends,” and it is very much that way. A string quartet playing Haydn, or four people sharing their day at a dinner table–it seems in many ways so much the same. Being engaged with art is by no means limited to attending concerts, book readings, or seeing movies or plays. Art offers many things, and these experiences can offer an insulated opportunity to focus our senses, thoughts, feelings, and perceptions as guided by the shared experience of communicating this way. But in life outside the theater, this shared experience of art still does exist–and so being engaged can also mean finding it in any place it seems to be. Looking at a watercolor painting or ballet performance, or looking at the sunset; listening to Beethoven, or to the palm fronds rustling in the Santa Ana winds. Standing on a street corner, here in Burbank or anywhere, and asking, ‘How do I make a living in the arts?'”

If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
“In most newspapers, there is a section devoted to “the arts”–often “Arts & Entertainment” or, as NPR says, “Arts & Life.” I worked once as an theater usher, and got to see many performances of all kinds. Our job, among other things, was to guide the flow of people and manage events, watch out for flash photography or open-lid containers, and let people know when they were leaning a little too far over the balcony railing. Big-little things that sometimes people might not know that they need. One of my co-workers was an older gentleman who had been working there for many, many years. He was very perceptive, slightly eccentric, and often told jokes or stories to whomever he happened to be working with. If we were stationed inside the theater we always got to see some of the performance, and this was the case one day when we worked together. As the lights dimmed and people settled in to watch the show, we settled in to watch them. He surveyed the balcony section and then, as it all began, turned to me: ‘People come here, and they think that this is an escape from real life. But this is real life.'”

To find out more about Nicolina’s work, visit http://www.burbankchambermusicsociety.org


Jamie Butterworth 

President, Burbank Art Association

Co-Chair, Community Working Group, Burbank Arts for All Foundation

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
“I am an artist, mostly painting landscapes and abstracts in oil, but recently, I’ve been working on a series of birds. I just had a solo show of 30 of my paintings at the Geo Gallery during October.  A selection of work will be on display at Basecamp Dinette (1221 W Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91506) during November with a reception on Sunday, November 19 from 3-6 pm.
  I also teach art to elementary students after school at Edison Elementary and at Burbank Home School Campus.  I’ve been teaching for 3 years but I organized and volunteered in a lot of the arts programs and classes at Edison when my kids were in school there.  I do volunteer work now with the Burbank Arts for All Foundation, specifically with the Secret Art Show and Community Exchange. I’ve served for the past year and a half as the president of the Burbank Art Association and was the Programs Chair for several years before that.  This is a 50+ year old non-profit group of over 100 local artists with the mission to encourage creativity and showcase members’ work. In addition to visual arts, I have a few different musical projects going on.  I like to sing Americana and Jazz and play around town occasionally with my band.  We are planning to do some songs at the November 19 reception at Basecamp.

How did you first become interested in your art?
“My kids were taking art lessons from Randall Williams when they were little and I thought it looked fun and I wanted to try my hand.  I’d never tried art myself even though I had worked in creative careers.  I took a few more classes and bought my first set of brushes and paints in 2010.  For the next few years, I took all the drawing and painting classes I could at the Creative Arts Center, Burbank Adult School, and privately. I also volunteered in all the art classes during and after school at my daughters’ elementary and middle schools, learning art skills and also best teaching practices from the many teachers I observed.”

How do you think art can enrich our community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
“Personally, I find almost all of my community through art.  My social interactions are with the kids I teach and their parents, at Burbank Art Association events, with my fellow volunteers and staff of the Burbank Arts for All Foundation and people who attend their events, people I play music with, talking with the teachers and owner when I take my daughter to her guitar lessons at Burbank Music Academy, etc. So, I think the arts enrich our community by creating community.  Of course, art itself, in public places, makes our community more beautiful, interesting, vibrant and desirable — a mural lights up a wall. A public performance brings life — excitement and vitality — to an area.  (I just got back from New Orleans and the whole time I was there, my ears were preened for the next musical encounter that was waiting around each corner!)  The two organizations I mentioned above are great to engage with.  The Burbank Art Association is for visual artists of all levels and mediums.  We meet the third Wednesday of each month for a different art demonstration or presentation, and we have at least two group shows per year, as well as other opportunities to share work in pop-up shows, fairs, and solo shows.  Our Fall Member Show opens on November 3 at the Creative Arts Center with a reception from 7-9 pm. The Burbank Arts for All Foundation raises money to support arts programs in the Burbank public schools.  We have regular (almost) monthly Community Exchanges that welcome everyone, two Creative Circles Forums per year focused on creative career paths in our community, and two fundraisers — the Party on the Plaza Gala in the spring and the Secret Art Show in the fall.  The next Creative Circles Forum is Wednesday, November 8 at the Colony Theater at 7 pm with a one-hour panel discussion on Documentary Films. (or from Burbank Music Academy http://www.burbankartsforall.org/creative-circles-forum/There is also quite a bit of live music around Burbank.  Viva Cantina on Riverside has two stages with live music almost every day of the week, and just along Burbank Boulevard, The Park Bar and Grill has music every Monday, Friday, and Saturday night, D’Argenzio Wine Bar has live music every Thursday night from 7-9 pm, and the Moose Lodge has free Monday night Blues with Grammy-award winning Pete Anderson.”

If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
“Try it!  Try something, anything!  Go to one of the many paint nights offered around town, take a class at the Creative Arts Center, the Burbank Adult School, or Burbank Music Academy.  Try different visual arts mediums, oil, watercolor, pottery, or music or dance or theater!  Think about what you may have been interested in as a child or what you have admired others for doing, and do it! There’s an artist in everyone — it’s just a matter of finding your art form.  Experiment, discover your inner artist, and enjoy the many benefits.”

To find out more about Jamie’s work, visit http://www.jamiebutterworthart.com/