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The California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) held an artistically-inspired birthday party to celebrate 30 years of excellence. It was a special evening to honor our position as California's bedrock to launching young talent into the entertainment industry. CSSSA is the only school of its kind in the entire country, and we have nurtured the growth of stars like Zac Ephron, Katharine McPhee, Oscar nominated animator Sanjay Patel, James Franco, and more.

In keeping with CSSSA's cutting-edge philosophy, the evening was an immersive experience, with the sights and sounds of performing and visual artistry. Ben Bourgeois Productions put the evening together by featuring working and recent alum demonstrating their expertise in elaborate showmanship.

Guests were welcomed by our signature cocktail and a jazz trio. While they feasted on Fig & Olive Canapés, student film and animation pieces displayed on walls. The voices of our creative writers colored the surroundings and a contemporary dancer performed live onstage. Theater students mingled with gala attendees while displaying a convergence of visual arts high-fashion designs.

The evening featured a silent auction with original work from renowned artists connected to CSSSA. Highlights included:

    Oscar nominated animator, Sanjay Patel and other CSSSA alums from Pixar

    Gemini G.E.L.: Allen Ginsberg's famous "Ballad of the Skeletons" print

    Accomplished collage artist, Phoebe Beasley

    Warner Bros. animation lithograph by Al Hirschfeld

    Rising contemporary artist, Erin Morrison

Both Katharine McPhee and Zac Efron were honored with our CSSSA "Alumni Inspiration Award."

Jordan Smith, Season 9 winner and top-selling artist in "The Voice" history, sung, "Somebody to Love." Kirsten Vangsness, CSSSA alum and "Criminal Minds" actress, was the emcee.

CSSSA alum and multidisciplinary artist, James Franco, said of his time, "CSSSA was unbelievably helpful. A fantastic experience. Up until that time I had not been in a place that was totally focused on art, nurturing artists. I had aspirations before, but this made me feel vindicated, understood. It was really miraculous. I opened up, my whole personality changed."

Sponsors of the evening included CBS, The Draper Foundation, The Dolgen Foundation, Axciom Corporation, Good Universe, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Union Bank, Westmount Asset Management.

Ongoing support for CSSSA provided by The Herb Alpert Foundation Emerging Young Artists, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Wonderful Company, and the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation.

Please View the Gallery of the Gala below:
Click on the Image to Enlarge