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Herb Alpert Foundation Awards $315,000 in Scholarships to Students from The California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA)

Annual Scholarship Program demonstrates long term commitment to CSSSA’s highly motivated and talented students, paving the way for successful futures.

The Herb Alpert Foundation and the California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) are pleased to announce the 2016 recipients of the annual Herb Alpert Scholarships for Emerging Young Artists. The Herb Alpert Foundation annually provides 21 scholarships for CSSSA students in seven disciplines: animation, creative writing, dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. This visionary, long-term support from The Herb Alpert Foundation has provided over $3 million in college scholarship funding to date, fostering the creative spirit of these talented youth, and empowering them to grow and become vital members of their community.

The top-performing student in each arts discipline is awarded $40,000 over the course of four years to complete university-level study. Additional one-time awards of $2,500 are awarded to two high-achieving students from each of the seven disciplines. This comprises a grand total of $315,000 in scholarships awarded to CSSSA students for 2016 alone.

In determining who is awarded the scholarships, the chair of each discipline must find what sets a student apart from the others. CSSSA Film Chair Frederick Thornton described $40,000 awardee, Luke Ebora, as someone who has “set the gold standard of our film class this year, going above and beyond to not only make his own artistic works, but also that of his peers. He shows up early, stays late, and works his tail off the entire time. He lives in South Central Los Angeles, a neighborhood known for its harsh streets and bleak outcomes. Yet, Luke doesn’t let his economic situation hold him back and instead uses it to build an even stronger voice and champion of the downtrodden and forgotten.”

Beyond the commitment to the college scholarships, The Herb Alpert Foundation also provides an annual gift of $40,000 to CSSSA to support low-income, financial need scholarships. Established as a unique public-private partnership, the CSSSA Foundation ensures that no qualified student is denied access to CSSSA due to financial hardship. By opening the doors for youth through generous partners like the Herb Alpert Foundation, access and opportunity are provided for students that would otherwise not have the opportunity to attend the powerful and transformative CSSSA summer program. Once at CSSSA, they gain the possibility of being awarded one of these prestigious, life-changing college scholarships.

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. Approximately 40% of students receive financial aid to attend the summer arts program each year. 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.

Michael Fields, Director of CSSSA, says, “I always tell our students to live their art and to be bold. The students who are chosen to receive scholarships amplify this mantra. Thanks to the Herb Alpert Foundation partnering with CSSSA, these students have the unique opportunity to achieve their artistic goals by attending further training at a college or conservatory.”

“It is our goal to empower extraordinary young talent by giving them the chance to progress and be successful in the arts,” says Rona Sebastian, President of the Herb Alpert Foundation. “The intent of our scholarships is to provide the means for their artistic exploration at a proven institution where they can learn, grow, and flourish.”

2016 Herb Alpert Emerging Young Artists $40,000 Scholarship Recipients: Luke Ebora, Film; Kim Nguyen, Music; Conor Broderick, Creative Writing; Andreana How, Visual Arts; Ian Debono, Dance; Hannah Saidiner, Animation; Saul Esqueda, Theater.

2016 Herb Alpert Emerging Young Artists $2,500 Scholarship Recipients: Sofia McCurry, Theater; Jonathan Chen, Visual Arts; Justyne Greenlaw, Dance; Aaron Saliman, Creative Writing; Autumn Stern, Creative Writing; Chitra Dassapa, Music; Jerry Liu, Music; Kate Medina, Visual Arts; Robert Diehl, Theater; Elinor Phillips, Film; Taliha Scott, Dance; Joshua Cloud, Animation; Junming Huang, Animation; Violet Hull, Film.

As a launching pad from high school to college, the CSSSA program offers graduates three units of California State University course credit and names them “California Arts Scholars” which distinguishes CSSSA graduates from their peers as they proceed to college and an arts career. CSSSA alumni have access to additional college scholarships at affiliate institutions through the CSSSA Foundation Bridge to College program.

Kim Nguyen, the Music recipient of the $40,000 award, stated, “Thank you for this prestigious honor. I am humbled beyond the capability of words, and I never could have anticipated being awarded this generous scholarship. I promise to facilitate perseverance, and pursue my education to the highest degree in order to be able to bring out the best in those around me, and bring out the best in myself in the process. Thank you for believing in me, and I promise that your gift will make the world a better place through my actions.”

Applications will be available for CSSSA Summer 2017 beginning December 2016 at For more information on Bridge to College, college scholarships or to donate, visit