The Idyllwild community and the campus have a unique symbiotic relationship which truly takes a village to be successful.

“We are delighted to announce a most generous pledge by new Idyllwild Arts supporters, Dena and Lee Van Slyke,” said Ian Schoenleber, director of development.

Dena and Lee Van Slyke have been investing in Idyllwild real estate and attending the Jazz in the Pines festival since 2003. Dena, a real estate broker, investor, actress, writer and philanthropist, comes from a family of theatre artists.

Her father, Art Friedman, was a professor of Theater Arts at UCLA’s Film and Television Division from 1948 through 1990. Currently living in San Clemente with a second home in Idyllwild, Dena and Lee especially love to travel and be enthusiastic audience members.

Dena recently contacted Ian about gift opportunities at Idyllwild Arts. She and her husband were revising their living trust. Dena, having no children of her own, feels passionate about leaving a legacy of a positive impact on the world.

She chose Idyllwild Arts as the major recipient of her estate because of her love of Idyllwild, theatre, music and film. Dena said, “I’d like to think that I may be contributing to the development of the next Steven Spielberg or Barbra Streisand.”

Ian and Dena worked out a plan to designate an endowment gift of more than $1 million through Dena’s living trust. This gift, when funded, will increase Idyllwild Arts’ endowment, its permanent savings on which it earns interest, by greater than 20 percent. The endowment earnings will provide much needed financial aid, year after year, to deserving and talented Academy students of music, moving pictures and theatre.

More than 60 percent of Idyllwild Arts Academy students receive financial aid, which totals more than $5.5 million per year. The Summer Program also awards financial aid of greather than $500,000 each year.

Idyllwild Arts gives out far more financial aid than most independent schools, even though its endowment, at just $5 million, is much smaller than most schools.

Dena and Lee believe that “the world would be a better place if more people mentioned Idyllwild Arts in their estate plans. Young, talented students from all nationalities and financial backgrounds would get the support they need to develop their potential and expand their opportunities.”

“Dena and Lee’s amazing generosity will benefit many generations of students. Their gift is inspirational; it should serve as an example to all of us,” added Ian.

Idyllwild Arts Academy designated Exemplary School for 2013-2015

Once again, Idyllwild Arts Academy has been designated a 2013-2015 Exemplary School by Arts Schools Network, the nation’s largest professional membership organization of specialized arts schools.

Created to highlight a school’s commitment to excellence, this designation is presented to an Arts Schools Network member school in recognition of its efforts to strategically evaluate its purpose, operations and educational programs.

The Arts Schools Network recognized Idyllwild Arts Academy for its commitment to the philosophy of producing educated, thinking artists ready to take their place in the world of adult professionals. The arts faculty integrates academic ideals into the classroom and studio and its academic faculty use art to illuminate and make relevant the subject matter they teach.

“The Arts Schools Network is pleased to recognize the achievements of such a stellar school and congratulates Idyllwild Arts Academy for its highest quality instruction in arts education,” commented Kristy Callway, ASN executive director.

Another aspect of this designation recognizes the fact that the unique atmosphere of the school in which actors, musicians, dancers, painters, filmmakers and writers live, eat and study together provides an education no formal coursework can.

Students develop and maintain connections and collaborative ways of thinking that continue long after they’ve left Idyllwild Arts Academy that informs their further educational and career choices.

As we say goodbye to the stellar Class of 2013, we are gratified to have made a positive impact on these young artists.