Celebrities Who Support the Arts (Part 2)
As a continuation of the piece on 5 celebrities who give time and money to charitable foundations, there was no problem finding 5 (and many) more who dedicate themselves to philanthropic measures aimed at the arts. Because of the lack of funding in public schools, many of these endeavors are specific to giving children and teens the ability to flourish through creative mediums.
The celebrities below are just some who do so:
Sir Elton John, well-known singer/songwriter is no slouch when it comes to his charitable works. Elton gives to over twenty various charities around the world. In his native England, John supports the National Youth Theatre, a nonprofit devoted to the social, personal and educational development of teens using the creative arts. Founded in 1956, the theatre was lauded as the first youth theatre in the world, and has fostered many of today’s celebrities like Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Dame Helen Mirren (the Queen), Colin Firth (A Single Man) and Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln). Those celebrities have gone on to pay it forward with their own philanthropic work.
The theatre has taught many of the London youth the love of Shakespeare and given them a lifelong appreciation of acting.
Dame Helen Mirren has been nominated and honored with numerous awards, including the Golden Globes, the Oscars, and BAFTA. As mentioned above, Mirren took part in the National Youth Theatre program and has gone on to give to over a dozen charities. Dame Mirren chose literature as the art in which she donates. Book Aid International gives books to disadvantaged youth from 12 countries, including Africa and Palestine. The nonprofit distributes books and journals every year to libraries, schools, hospitals and refugee camps and brings the powerful gift of imagination into the hands of children.
Oscar and Grammy Award Winner Jennifer Hudson was blessed with the gift of music and she gives back by supporting to Save the Music Foundation. With budget cuts in public schools, many children who could benefit and thrive through the arts fall through the cracks. Through VH1’s Save the Music Foundation, partnerships are formed with the schools districts to donate new musical instruments to elementary and middle schools. Many children who would not be able to afford to play music can do so through the work of the foundation and to those who donate like Ms. Hudson.
Award winner John Mayer has captivated audiences with his musical talents and songwriting. Many creative artists continue to give back by supporting foundations that offer the gift of support to those who do not have access to it. MusiCares, in association with Grammy.org, gives to needy musicians financial, medical and personal resources to get back on their feet. The organization is also heavily involved in human services issues that impact the welfare of those in the musical community.
Grammy Award winner Bonnie Raitt gives to Little Kids Rock brings music to the most economically disadvantaged public school districts. Aimed at giving children musical instruments and giving teachers instructions to educate the children, the organization offers ongoing donations to give instructors music curriculum in schools helping them to launch public school music programs like school marching bands.
Though budget cuts in public schools seem to keep the arts in public schools a bleak enterprise, celebrities are giving back and letting children in neglected communities know that there is hope.
Research within the last 10 years has proven that low-income children who have art as an outlet are three times more likely to succeed academically. Sadly, 6 million children in the United States have zero access to arts education. It appears obvious that those numbers are staggeringly contradictory. Luckily, the number of celebrities who use their visibility for philanthropic endeavors seem to be paying attention and using their status to support youth initiatives aimed at the arts.
Here are 5 of those celebrities:
Before starring in the hit show “The Office”, Krasinski wanted to be a teacher. Though he got the acting bug before he picked up the chalk to teach English, John Krasinski still finds time to give back to the literary arts today. With his work with 826 National and ScholarMatch, Krasinski sponsors a college student’s interest in the arts.
Using his Jason Mraz Foundation, Mraz involves himself with multiple organizations devoted to the arts. The Grammy winner supports VH1’s Save The Music Foundation and MusiCares among just two.
When Meryl Streep’s name is mentioned, her perfectly pitched acting performances come to mind. Ever the humble philanthropist, Streep and her husband donate money to Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts, Opus 118 Harlem School of Music and Vassar College. Though her acting life is very public, her work in preserving the arts for youth is relatively anonymous and therefore the epitome of philanthropy.
As an MTV & Grammar award-winning singer, Taylor Swift is one of the most visible and famous celebrities of her age. With her fame, Swift not only lends her support through spreading the word about the arts, she recently donated millions to the construction of an education center at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. In 2012, Swift donated tens of thousands to the music departments of six U.S. public schools.
As a celebrity who got his start in music at a very young age, Justin Timberlake has more reason to believe that music should be an integral part of a child’s life. With the founding of the Justin Timberlake Foundation, Timberlake has been able to parlay his celebrity status with his belief in the preservation of art education for children towards arts charities. Timberlake has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to his hometown in an effort to give back to his community.
Through celebrity works and donations, the arts programs in some schools are greatly enhanced. The struggle to bring art education to children is greatly eased by these celebrities using their money and fame to spread the word about the state of the arts in the U.S.
Lady Gaga’s performance at the Oscars surprised those who only know her as a larger-than-life eccentric performer. But another surprising fact may be her multiple philanthropic works – especially those aimed to open possibilities to youth in dire need of education, shelter and other aid.
Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball
Gaga recently raised over $80,000 and 30,000 hours of volunteer service from fans to aid homeless youth organizations. Through her Monster Ball Tour, where she partnered with Virgin Mobile, fans were offered VIP tickets to offer their community service to youth endangered and indigent teens.
A few more recipients Gaga backs is the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH). As a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention and ending of the homelessness of youth, NAEH and Re*Generation organizations have received support through Gaga’s celebrity. To inspire the youth at the homeless facility, Lady Gaga visited in full regalia and signed autographs. Re*Generation also partners with another non-profit, Green Chimneys, that opens avenues for LGBTQ, runaways and youth with emotional, learning and social issues.
Gaga also recently formed a duet with Tony Bennett for the Cheek to Cheek Tour (that has added more tour dates due to its popularity) to award organizations with youth-targeted programs and services that benefit the community. The winners of the are afforded VIP tickets and backstage passes. The 2015 tour comes out of a partnership between Exploring the Arts (co-founded by Bennett) and Born This Way Foundation (co-founded by Lady Gaga) — both committed to youth advancement.
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Tour
Though Lady Gaga’s heart is in the betterment of devastating conditions of needy youth, she lends her time and support to a surprising number of organizations — just some of them are listed below:
Those who are surprised by Lady Gaga’s idiosyncratic personas can add philanthropist to the list.
This year, Exploring the Arts (ETA) is partnering with Born This Way Foundation for a live concert tour featuring Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. The 2015 Cheek-To-Cheek tour will be taking applications from various youth-oriented non-profit organizations, and choosing one exceptional organization to spotlight in select cities.
Exploring the Arts, the nonprofit organization founded in 1999 by Tony Bennett and his wife Susan Benedetto, offers apprenticeship placement for teens and acts as a lifeline for students in public schools to prepare for college through art, craft, community service and traditional academic programs.
Joe Laurita, Santa Monica-based entrepreneur and philanthropist, was recently highlighted in the ETA newsletter for his most recent accomplishments as a long-standing sponsor and board member of Exploring the Arts. Through ETA, Joe and Art Director at Margaritaville Apparel Nick Kearney, helped advance the portfolio of an East LA student from Humanitas Academy of Art & Technology with an apprenticeship at Joe’s Margaritaville Apparel company.
Exploring the Arts has placed 500 teens in apprenticeship positions — many in Joe’s Margaritaville Apparel companies. The organization has been instrumental in cultivating art programs in New York City Public Schools and has expanded its programs to seven NYC schools this year — with a reach of over 3000 students.
If you’re a youth-oriented nonprofit hoping to apply for the 2015 Cheek-to-Cheek benefit, please visit their site: http://exploringthearts.org/cheektocheek