The VAPA Foundation Announces 2020 VAPA Enhancement Program Recipients


Nineteen San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) teachers will receive awards to underwrite Visual And Performing Arts (VAPA)-related activities and purchases funded by the VAPA Foundation’s 2020-2021 VAPA Enhancement Program. The VAPA Enhancement Program, or VEP, enables any San Diego Unified teacher to apply for funds to enhance the quality of and access to arts education in the classroom or school. The VAPA Foundation funds arts enhancements not covered by a school’s budget.

This year, the VAPA Enhancement Program will fund field trips for interactive musical education and artist residencies in dance, theatre, music, and media arts. Funding for arts equipment ranges from ukuleles to voice recorders and digital music labs to a laser cutter for media sculpture. Each successful applicant linked the request to ongoing curriculum goals. Requests for funding ranged from $400 to $2,500.

For example, Mission Bay High School teacher Jean-Paul Balmat received a $2,500 award to purchase USB microphones that will allow students to produce quality solo recordings and “virtual ensemble” performances. His students will learn fundamental skills including microphone placement, audio input setup, acoustic problems, and utilize sound engineering apps like GarageBand or Audacity. Workshops over Zoom will connect these students into the professional world of audio engineering with a focus on current music industry needs, while giving these students the opportunity to create original music they can share with their community.

Michael Camacho, Executive Director of the VAPA Foundation, is “excited to see applications with greater emphasis in meeting California Arts Standards for students and the unique partnerships with local arts and culture organizations including Guitars in the Classroom, Arts for Learning, The Rosin Box Project, Ballet Folklorico en Aztlan, San Diego Creative Arts Project, and Transcendance.”

“Students spanning elementary, middle and high school throughout the district will directly benefit from VEP projects with additional impact expected to school communities through culminating student performances, art exhibitions and participation in state and national festivals. Plus, there is reach that extends to future years with the purchase of new equipment,” added Camacho.

This year, the VAPA Foundation has awarded a total of more than $26,000 and nearly $100,000 in VEP awards since its inception in 2017. This funding was made possible in part by a sponsorship from UC San Diego. In addition, donors from the community have recognized the link in-depth arts learning has on gains in school attendance, graduation rates, college readiness, civic pride and cultural awareness.

About the VAPA Foundation:

The VAPA Foundation believes that all students benefit from an education rich in the arts – from field trips to museums and theaters, to bringing professional artists into the classroom, to training teachers in their craft or best practices for arts integration. The VAPA Foundation is committed to connecting students and teachers to resources beyond the scope of a school budget and to recognizing student achievement in the visual and performing arts via recognitions, concerts and collaborations. For more information about the VAPA Foundation visit or call (619) 256-2700.

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