April 5, 2010, Los Angeles, CA--The outstanding students recognized in the inaugural round of The Beutner Family Award for Excellence in the Arts are Diana Arterian (MFA, Writing, School of Critical Studies), Robert Cucuzza, (MFA, Directing, School of Theater), Alice Holland (BFA, Dance, The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance), Keaton Macon (MFA, Art, School of Art), Whitney Smith (BFA, Film and Video, School of Film/Video), Jesse Lee Stout (MFA, Graphic Design Program, School of Art) and Richard Valitutto (MFA, Piano, The Herb Alpert School of Music).
In fall 2009, Austin Beutner, Chair of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) Board of Trustees, and his wife Virginia made a gift of $1 million to help 20 exceptional CalArts students complete their studies and make strong entrances to professional life. The primary consideration for this award is the applicants' excellence in their chosen métiers and potential for promising careers in the arts.
"Austin and Virginia Beutner's prescient gift allows these talented and creative students to spend their final year at CalArts without incurring debt--providing the opportunity for them to make a smooth transition into the next phase of their artistic careers," said CalArts President Steven D. Lavine. "The Beutner Family Award affirms CalArts' commitment, not only to educate the artists of the future, but also to launch them into productive careers after graduation. Austin and Virginia's generosity will continue to make an enormous difference in the lives of these promising young artists long after graduation."
The Beutner Family Award is structured to provide, over the course of four years beginning in the 2010/11 academic year, five scholarships of up to $50,000 each to fund undergraduate and/or graduate students in their final year of study.
Due to the strength of this year's finalists, Austin and Virginia Beutner chose to select not five, but seven, students to receive this prestigious award--generously pledging additional funds to support two more students for the 2010/2011 academic year.
"Each applicant made such an impressive and heartfelt application for the award," said Virginia Beutner. "After getting to know the candidates and their work, we felt a personal connection to each one and a real desire to help them achieve their creative goals. We are truly honored to help support their work, their dreams, and the vision that each recipient has to make a difference in the world through their art."
"I am beyond grateful to receive the Beutner Family Scholarship Award," said BFA Dance candidate, Alice Holland. "This award has made it possible for me to complete my last year. Transitioning from student life into the real world can be difficult, but because of this family's gracious contribution I can focus on my career."
Diana Arterian, who is working toward her MFA in Writing, said, "Being chosen by Mr. and Mrs. Beutner and the selection committee is an honor. I feel new a sense of validation concerning my poetry and the directions in which I hope to take it."
The Beutner Family Award selection committee members were CalArts President Steven Lavine, Austin Beutner, Virginia Beutner, animator Stephen Hillenburg (Sponge Bob Square Pants), Herb Alpert School of Music faculty member Marc Lowenstein and Dean of Enrollment Management Carol Kim.
Austin Beutner is the First Deputy Mayor and Chief Executive of Economic Development and Business Policy for the City of Los Angeles. He is the retired President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Evercore Partners, which he co-founded in 1996. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, is Chairman of the Board of the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is also the founder and chairman of the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation. A strong supporter of the arts for young people, Beutner is the primary sponsor of the International Children's Film Festival held annually at REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater) in downtown Los Angeles and is Co-Chair of the advisory council of CalArts' Community Arts Partnership (CAP). The Beutners have four children.
California Institute of the Arts is recognized internationally as a leading laboratory for the visual, performing, media and literary arts. Housing six schools--Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater--CalArts educates professional artists in an intensive learning environment founded on artmaking excellence, creative experimentation, cross-pollination among diverse artistic disciplines, and a broad context of social and cultural understanding. CalArts also operates the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles.