Hit songwriter Jackson Browne, a frequent performer of benefit concerts for charitable organizations, is back in Santa Monica to support arts education in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. This year, he will be joined for the first time by legendary singer/songwriter David Crosby as well as the band Venice.

The benefit to support the nonprofit For the Arts committee, is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, June 2nd, at the Santa Monica High School Barnum Hall Theater, 601 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. Tickets are $50, $100, $175 or $1,000.

“David has been friends with Venice and, obviously, Jackson Browne for many, many years and we’ve all done lots of charities together over the years,” says Kipp Lennon of Venice, explaining how Crosby came to be involved in the local fundraiser. “We called David to see if he would want to be involved in this one because we know how much he helps out his own school district up in the Santa Ynez area and how he loves to raise awareness about issues like this — having to do with the arts and public schools.”

When arts education in local public schools suffered a budget setback in 2002, parents Greg and Carol Coote began to spearhead an effort to raise the funds to keep the arts alive, according to For the Arts executive director Linda Gross. The group For the Arts was born under the umbrella of the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation.

The group is intended as a community-wide effort to raise awareness and an arts endowment to ensure that all students in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District receive an introduction to the arts disciplines of music, art, dance and drama.

Soon after For the Arts was founded, Jackson Browne, who has had three children come through the local school district as well as a nephew currently enrolled, decided to lend his talents to the fundraising efforts.

Crosby, known for his work with legendary rock groups The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, joins the fundraising efforts for the first time this year. Both Crosby and Browne have been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Student musicians will join the stars on stage for some songs under the musical direction of Grammy Award-winning arranger David Campbell.

For the Arts has goals for elementary, middle and high schools. The district’s high schools — Malibu High School, Santa Monica High School and Olympic High School — were the first three schools to reap the benefits of the endowment, according to Gross.

Problems with funding for the arts began in the late 1970s, according to Gross.

“Due to Proposition 13, the state reorganized how the arts were funded, leaving less money for our district,” says Gross.

For the last two years, the For the Arts benefit concert has raised approximately $100,000. This year, with the addition of Crosby, the group hopes to raise $150,000, says Gross.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, the umbrella group of For the Arts, is the nonprofit district-wide fundraising group that supports not just the arts, but also other school programs including science and sports.

Information, (310) 396-4557.