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Black Tie International:
Inner-City Arts Honors The Walt Disney Company
Mayor Eric Garectti presented Senior Executive Vice President and CFO of The Walt Disney Company, Jay Rasulo with the "Philanthropic Leadership " Award on behalf of The Walt Disney Company. Photo by: Nick Underwood 
Mayor Eric Garectti presented Senior Executive Vice President and CFO of The Walt Disney Company, Jay Rasulo with the "Philanthropic Leadership " Award on behalf of The Walt Disney Company. Photo by: Nick Underwood 
Inner-City Arts Honors the Walt Disney Company
and Celebrates its 25th Anniversary at 2014 Imagine Awards
Disney Grants $1 Million to Inner-City Arts' Creativity Lab



Los Angeles, CA (November 7, 2014) – Inner-City Arts, a vibrant arts education campus and oasis of learning, achievement and creativity for underserved children in the heart of Skid Row, honored The Walt Disney Company with the Philanthropic Leadership Award at its 2014 Imagine Awards, tonight at The Theatre at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles. The event celebrated the 25th anniversary of the organization and its mission to unlock the creativity of young people. ABC7 Eyewitness News Anchor Phillip Palmer, hosted. 


The Imagine Awards Honorary Committee included such notable Los Angeles philanthropists and leaders as J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath, Wallis Annenberg, Mark Bradford, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Glorya Kaufman, Jimmy Kimmel, Melanie and Richard Lundquist, Michael Maltzan and Amy Murphy and Monica and Phil Rosenthal. Inner-City Arts board member Vera Campbell, chaired.


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti presented the Philanthropic Leadership Award to Jay Rasulo, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, The Walt Disney Company who accepted on Disney’s behalf.  Highlighting his acceptance and bringing unanimous applause from the over 800 attendees was his surprise announcement that Disney will grant $1 million to Inner City Arts to support program development and expansion of the organization’s Creativity Lab over three years. The funds will additionally be utilized to found a Creativity Lab endowment. The Creativity Lab, created by Inner-City Arts Co- Founder Bob Bates in 2011, and supported initially by a start-up grant from Disney, has a central purpose – to encourage students to pursue tasks and challenges using creative thinking and creative problem solving.


“Today, creativity is fast becoming the main currency of a global economy that rewards new ideas and problem-solving skills,” said Rasulo.  “It’s only by expanding their imaginations that our kids will be able to realize their biggest dreams, and take all of us with them to new heights of possibility. As a company built on creativity and innovation, Disney is proud to work with Inner-City Arts to provide even more kids with the tools, resources and inspiration they need to build the future they imagine is possible.”


Inner-City Arts President & CEO, Bob Smiland, remarked “We are excited to build on the foundation of our nearly two decade collaboration with The Walt Disney Company. This significant gift will help Inner-City Arts continue to unlock the creative potential
 and expand the capacity for innovation of thousands of young people from
underserved neighborhoods.”


The evening began with a reception and silent auction in the lobby and upstairs tiers of The Theatre at Ace Hotel, the magnificently restored, Spanish-Gothic style, 1600-seat theatre, originally built in 1927.  Following the program, the lobby was transformed into an after-party setting, complete with DJ.


Three-time Tony Award nominee, Judy Kuhn, who sang the title role in Disney’s Pocahontas as well as in the sequel Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World performed Colors of the Wind from the original film as well as

Mother’s Spiritual and The Best is Yet to Come.  Swiss composer and world-renowned cellist, Martin Tillman was also featured along with Sal Lozano and The Imagine Awards House Band and bluegrass band, Miskey Mountain Boys.


Among the evening’s speakers, Vincent Caldera, Inner-City Arts student and recipient of the 2014 Barbara J. Schreter Scholarship, was one of a number of current students, alumni and teachers who spoke of how their lives have been touched by the organization.  Rory Pullens, Executive Director of Arts Education for the Los Angeles Unified School District celebrated the 25 year partnership between Inner-City Arts and LAUSD while Inner-City Arts Board Chair, Craig Benell extolled the creativity born of the organization’s quarter century of commitment to the city’s young people.


In celebration of Inner-City Arts’ 25th anniversary, Board Member Crosby Haffner announced the re-launch of a program of collaborations with contemporary artists to produce fine art limited editions. Los Angeles-based artist Alexandra Grant’s series of five prints for Inner-City Arts, Letters from Century of the Self (2014), displayed at the event, capture images that address questions of identity and one’s concept of self. The complete series is limited to an edition of 50 and may be purchased for $1,250 with all proceeds benefitting Inner-City Arts. To learn more about the program, visit  For questions and purchase options,
please call (213) 627-9621 or email


Founded in 1989 as a learning oasis in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, Inner-City Arts cultivates a sense of agency and possibility within Los Angeles’ youth through the transformational power of creativity. In partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District and other schools in underserved areas, Inner-City Arts provides a safe and supportive environment for young people to express themselves, explore their creativity, and develop essential life skills. Professional teaching artists engage students in the visual, media and performing arts in authentic studio settings. Services include instructional day classes for K-8 students, afterschool and weekend workshops for middle and high school students, diverse and innovative performances in the Rosenthal Theater for community audiences, and creativity-based professional development for teachers and
other educators.


About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments:  media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. Being a good corporate citizen is a time-honored Disney tradition. Through contributions, collaborations with local organizations, in-kind gifts and volunteering, Disney helps to brighten the lives of kids and families in need and strengthen communities around the world. In 2013, the Company donated nearly $370 million in cash, in-kind support and products, and Disney VoluntEARS gave over 667,000 hours of service. For more information, visit   or



joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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