Singer/songwriter Jackson Browne joins forces with international recording artists Venice and very special guests for the fifth annual benefit concert to support For The Arts at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 31st, at Barnum Hall Theater, Santa Monica High School campus, 600 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica.
Student musicians from local Santa Monica and Malibu schools will perform with the artists on stage.
“We as artists don’t just go and do concerts, we invite the student musicians to do songs together,” says Kipp Lennon, vocalist for the band Venice and co-founder of Artists for the Arts Foundation (AFTAF). “In a sense, we’re like a living example of what we want to encourage in the students, because the night becomes about them, not just a bunch of artists playing songs and raising money.”
Artists for the Arts Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fundraising for the benefit of arts in public schools, began as an effort to donate more profits from benefit concerts to their cause.
“About five years ago we were invited to do a benefit concert with Jackson Browne,” Lennon says. “After that, we realized how frustrating it is to raise a lot of money but only give a portion of it. We’ve learned, though, and gotten corporate sponsorships to underwrite the costs of putting on a benefit like this, so that 100 percent of the ticket sales, every penny can go to the fund to benefit kids. We [Artists for the Arts Foundation] are going on our third year producing it ourselves, and it’s been a blast.”
“This year we’re not allowed to advertise who the special guest is, but we’re telling people it’s a very special guest,” Lennon says. “For legal reasons we can’t say who it is, but it is going to be a great time.” Past concerts have included David Crosby, Ozomatli, and Fred Martin and the Levite Camp.
Although it is currently local, Lennon hopes to expand the program to address public schools nationwide.
“Jackson (Browne) started doing this because his nephew was going to SaMoHi (Santa Monica High School), but we could get people around the country to go to their old school districts to raise the money.
“It’s not just about getting big names to perform, it’s about the kids.”
For The Arts, a community-wide effort to raise awareness of an arts endowment to ensure that every student in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District receives a broad introduction to the arts as part of their education, will receive 100 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales to the concert.