The California State Summer School Arts Foundation (The CSSSA Foundation) Awards Two Outstanding Performing Artists With Prestigious College Scholarships

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College scholarships spotlight two top students from the California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA). Students demonstrate excellence and are awarded with college funding that paves the way to a bright artistic future.

(L-R) Yazmin Curiel-Ruth, Cal Pritner Scholarship Awardee, Blake Brewer, Mel Swope Performing Arts Scholarship Awardee

(L-R) Yazmin Curiel-Ruth, Cal Pritner Scholarship Awardee, Blake Brewer, Mel Swope Performing Arts Scholarship Awardee

Both students are dedicated to the arts, actively seeking out opportunities in their hometowns and they have each cultivated their talents successfully.

The California State Summer School Arts Foundation (The CSSSA Foundation) is pleased to introduce two outstanding students who earned prestigious scholarships for their excellence in the performing arts.

Yazmin Curiel-Ruth from the Central Valley in California, was awarded $10,000 through the Cal Pritner Scholarship. Blake Brewer from Inglewood, California, was awarded $10,000 through the Mel Swope Performing Arts Scholarship.

Both students are dedicated to the arts, actively seeking out opportunities in their hometowns and they have each cultivated their talents successfully. As students attending the 2015 session of California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA), Yazmin and Blake both studied theater.

CSSSA is a four-week, intensive pre-college program for talented and motivated high school students in the arts, held on the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) campus in Valencia. CSSSA has an annual student body of over 500 young artists from California and an additional 20 students admitted from other states and countries. CSSSA offers a unique opportunity for students to spend one month immersed in a creative laboratory experiencing the inspiring and rigorous daily life of a professional artist.

Yazmin Curiel-Ruth, Cal Pritner Scholarship Awardee:

Yazmin Curiel-Ruth is notably the first-ever recipient of the Cal Pritner Scholarship. Cal Pritner was a beloved CSSSA faculty member who influenced 20 years of theater students. He brought expertise from serving as chair of the Illinois State University’s Department of Theater, working as the founding artistic director of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and helping shape Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Co. Pritner passed away last year, and the scholarship was set up to honor his legacy by continuing to contribute to the success of theater students.

Curiel-Ruth’s talent in theater clearly stood out to CSSSA’s faculty. Theater Chair, B.J. Dodge, noted, “She avails herself of all that is offered, and has been a model of responsibility in preparation, complete joy in discovery, and stays open to the possibilities that true exploration offers. We have complete confidence in her gifts as an artist, and her ability to be successful in her chosen field.”

Blake Brewer, Mel Swope Performing Arts Scholarship Awardee:

Blake Brewer is the second-ever recipient of the Mel Swope Performing Arts Scholarship. Mel Swope is Founding Director Emeritus of the CSSSA Foundation Board, having served for 30 years to support the school. He helped establish the board while producing and directing the TV series “Fame” in 1983. This $10,000 annual college scholarship is presented to one outstanding music, theater or dance student at CSSSA who demonstrates excellence.

Brewer exhibited top talent as an actor, singer, and physical comedy practitioner in class. He distinguished himself in every area of study and was a leader among classmates. Brewer stated, “CSSSA has solidified my aspirations of a lifetime career in the arts by allowing me to fully express myself without boundaries! I feel so honored to have studied theatre in such a unique environment!”

Brewer exhibited top talent as an actor, singer, and physical comedy practitioner in class. He distinguished himself in every area of study and was a leader among classmates. Brewer stated, “CSSSA has solidified my aspirations of a lifetime career in the arts by allowing me to fully express myself without boundaries! I feel so honored to have studied theatre in such a unique environment!”

The Cal Pritner Scholarship and the Mel Swope Performing Arts Scholarship are given on an annual basis at the conclusion of the CSSSA Program. The scholarships are funded by individual donors and the CSSSA Foundation.

CSSSA Foundation
The CSSSA Foundation provides critical funding support to CSSSA through a model public-private partnership ensuring that no qualified student is turned away from CSSSA due to financial circumstances. It also provides a pathway for alumni as they move on to college and career opportunities through the Bridge to College program, with lead funding provided by the Herb Alpert Foundation and additional funding provided by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and individual donors. Bridge to College is a rich resource designed to prepare students for a creative life by furnishing college scholarship opportunities and advancement information by discipline.

Applications will be available for CSSSA Summer 2016 beginning December 2015 at http://www.csssa.org. For more information on Bridge to College, college scholarships or to donate, visit csssaf.org

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David Escobar-Cambay

David Escobar-Cambay
C4 Global Communications
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