VAPA Foundation


Collaborating to Inspire Students, Beautify our Community

The VAPA Foundation enhances the quality and access to arts education in the San Diego Unified School District by creating engaging opportunities for local students, artists, and organizations through vital collaborative programs, such as the Rainforest Art Project which facilitates unique hands-on experiences that break down learning barriers and ignite the creative potential in students.

With support from the VAPA Foundation, the Rainforest Art Project provides teachers with the resources needed to bring art and creative enrichment to their students. Through this program, students have created dozens of public mosaic artworks displayed at schools, as well as the creation of permanent public works of art.

“The VAPA Foundation believes that access to arts education is key to the development of young minds,” Jon Bailey, president of the VAPA Foundation Board of Directors shared with GB Magazine. “It is essential that students of all socioeconomic backgrounds have the opportunity to explore the wonders of expression through art.”

VAPA supports San Diego Unified School District teachers and thousands of students, creating in-depth arts education experiences in every classroom of every San Diego city school. The foundation accomplishes this through a variety of programs, including the VAPA Enhancement Program, which enables TK-12 SDUSD teachers to apply for VAPA-related artist residencies, field trips, professional development or materials that go beyond the school budget; honor concerts that enable students to audition, collaborate, and play together for the community in professional settings; recognizing students, teachers, administrators and community members who are committed to creating, teaching, and supporting arts education and building bridges between SDUSD and the host of local artists and organizations committed to transformative arts learning.

On May 20, the VAPA Foundation will hold its fourth annual Spotlight event, Beyond Brilliance, which will support the arts in the San Diego Unified School District and showcase the tremendous talents of visual and performing artists enrolled in the SDUSD. Co-chaired by VAPA Foundation President Emeritus Doreen Schonbrun and philanthropist Phyllis Epstein, the event will be held at The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center and will honor the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. The one-of-a-kind event will include a cocktail reception, culinary bites and drinks, pop-up entertainment, magnificent performances, and a live auction in the Baker Baum Concert Hall. The spectacular after-party is not to be missed and will feature decadent desserts, drinks, and the Preservation Jazz Band.

Within the first six years of funding, the VAPA Foundation has made a significant impact through its Enhancement Awards Program, granting more than $1.5 million to create enhanced arts education projects at SDUSD schools, recognizing more than 118 SDUSD teachers with awards. Nearly 15,478 SDUSD students have been served through projects including interactive field trips, artist residencies, professional development for teachers, and the purchase of equipment, and musical instruments for any arts discipline. And a very special thank you to our generous sponsor The San Diego Foundation for providing 12 art camps throughout the city.

For more information, please visit or contact Michael Camacho, Executive Director, at (858) 256-2700.


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Esteban Villanueva