FULLERTON – Artistic high school age children who are serious about a future in art can receive free courses at Cal State Fullerton through a partnership with Ryman Arts, an arts education program that fosters the development of talented young artists throughout Southern California.
In addition to the rigorous drawing and painting classes taught by professional artists, students will explore career paths, share their work in the community, and are inspired to build the skills, discipline and confidence for college and beyond.
"Ryman Arts provides high school students with 12-week courses, completely free of charge, on weekends. Students attend in addition to their regular high school classes," said Diane Brigham, Executive Director of Ryman Arts.
"Approximately 10 percent of our current students come from Orange County to our existing classes at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angele. With this initiative, we double our capacity from 300 to 600 a year, and can serve young artists from a much wider geographic area, making the program more accessible to many more talented high school artists across Southern California," Brigham said.
The first Orange County Ryman Arts classes at the arts studios of CSUF College of the Arts will begin in January.
According to Dr. Joe Arnold, Dean of the College of the Arts at CSUF, "The partnership CSUF has created with Ryman Arts adds a new important layer to the University's commitment to community outreach in the arts. This experience will also build a pathway to higher education for participating Ryman Arts students, some of whom may wish to continue their studies at CSUF when they reach the college level."
"The partnership with CSUF will also allow Ryman Arts students to take advantage of CSUF's dynamic Grand Central Art Center, which provides opportunities for community arts engagement and outreach," Arnold added. "Ryman Arts is a strong partner, as we can provide them with the benefits of our offerings, while the Ryman Arts students simultaneously add a layer to the rich arts community we are creating here."
Ryman Arts President, Marty Sklar, retired creative leader of Walt Disney Imagineering and one of six founders of the program, noted how pleased their namesake would be at the expansion into Orange County.
"Herb Ryman drew the first overall illustration of Disneyland for Walt Disney. Herb mentored many young artists, stressing the need to develop fundamental drawing and painting skills. That's what we stress at Ryman Arts," Sklar said.
Because Ryman Arts is focused on providing education to the most talented, regardless of their economic situation, the program is offered tuition-free. Outreach activities to students in lower-income communities help ensure access for students with the greatest need.
The Ryman Arts Board of Directors and other donors have raised nearly half of the organization's current $1.5 million funding campaign, including a challenge pledge of $500,000.
"We are reaching out to members of the Southern California community, and particularly to those in Orange County, who may be able to assist us with this vital program for gifted teens," Brigham noted.
"Based on the generosity of our donors, we will be able to fill the gap left by the decline in high school art programs," she said. "Further, we produce a stunning success in which more than 80 percent of our students come from low-income families, and more than 98 percent of them go on to higher education. For many of these students, they are the first in their family to do so."
With this expansion, Ryman Arts creates a college-going atmosphere with its weekend classes now offered on the campuses of two esteemed institutions of higher education: the new location at Cal State Fullerton on Saturdays, and the continuing location at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles on Sundays. The same program is offered at both sites; students choose the location and weekend day best for them. Admission to this free program is competitive, based on merit, and any high school student may apply. Applications are available at www.rymanarts.org.