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New names celebrated at arts event

1/17/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Student singers from the Akron School for the Arts perform during a holiday program. Musical groups will be among those performing at the Akron Civic Theatre event Feb. 1.
Photos courtesy of Friends of the Akron School for the Arts
WEST AKRON — Organizers are planning to celebrate the beginning of a new era for Akron Public Schools’ (APS) high school arts program at a fundraising event at the Akron Civic Theatre.

A Celebration of the Arts III will take place Feb. 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. and is a way for a booster group to raise money for the newly christened Akron School for the Arts (ASA).

Formerly known as the Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) program, the APS Board of Education approved the new name for the high school program in December after supporters from Advocates for the Akron Visual and Performing Arts (AAVPA) requested the change.

President George Bozeka, of West Akron, has been with the group since it was formed about six years ago and is the father of two graduates of the program. He said the organization thought a name change would help distinguish the school as separate from Firestone High School, where it has been based since the program was developed in the 1990s.

“We did a check and found out that the majority of the students in the program are outside the Firestone cluster and a number come from outside the district,” he said. “We thought it needed a name that better identified the program for what it is.”

Last year, the organization got a group of parents, educators and supporters together to consider ideas for names.

“We feel that going into the future, the name Akron School for the Arts better identifies what the program is,” Bozeka said.

With the change has also come a new name for the program’s supporters, who will be known as Friends of the Akron School for the Arts (FASA) once paperwork to change the nonprofit’s status is complete.

Looking ahead, FASA officials said they are happy the program will be based in its own wing of the new Firestone/Litchfield Community Learning Center school building, which is expected to open in the 2015-16 school year.

Bozeka said as AAVPA, the group held events at the Civic the first two years of its existence and then organized smaller fundraising events in subsequent years. This year’s event at the Civic is going to be a larger event similar to the first two because of the name changes that have taken place, Bozeka said.

The event will feature performances from ASA students in dance, theater and music, he added. There also will be displays of visual art at the event, which will take place in the Civic’s lobby.

“It’s a chance to show off all the things going on in the program,” Bozeka said.

The event includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, desserts, coffee, punch, a cash bar, a silent auction and a raffle. West Akron resident and ASA parent Eric Mansfield, formerly a reporter with WKYC Channel 3 in Cleveland, will be the master of ceremonies.

Money raised at the event will help FASA provide scholarships for ASA graduates, visiting artists and Master Class opportunities and needed equipment for the ASA programs, Bozeka said.

Ticket options are $40 for general admission for one; $65 for general admission for one, a complimentary raffle ticket and a choice of ASA student-created notecards or an original pin; and $90 for general admission for one, five complimentary raffle tickets, original notecards and pin.

For tickets, send a check made out to AAVPA to Sally Childs, 861 Hampton Ridge Drive, Akron, OH 44313, or call Childs at 330-865-6975. For details on FASA, call Bozeka at 330-571-0112.

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