SANTA MONICA/MALIBU— The Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF) hosted their 11th For The Arts Benefit Concert on February 7, 2015. The proceeds from the event, which have totaled an accumulative $900,000, benefit arts programs throughout the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. As noted in a Canyon News report last January, “SMMEF was established in 1982 by a group of parents, community leaders, and local business owners.”

SMMEF ensures that Santa Monica and Malibu students receive comprehensive visual and performing arts programs, in addition to other academic enrichment programs.

“Colin Hay, front man of Men at Work, and Stephen Bishop headlined the For The Arts Benefit Concert this past Saturday at Santa Monica High School’s historic Barnum Hall, playing with outstanding student musicians who stole the spotlight,” according to a SMMEF news release, “All musicians were joined by student orchestra and choir members from Santa Monica, Malibu, and Olympic High Schools.”

The event was emceed by Cynthia Fox of 100.3 The Sound, and featured an auction featuring signed guitars, a drum kit, tickets to the 2016 Grammys, and a Las Vegas VIP weekend experience among other exciting prizes.

Art programs funded by SMMEF include providing recorders for all third graders, dance classes, additional musical instruction and instruments for students in need of financial support, guitar classes, middle and high school theater, and visual arts grants for teachers.

“Since 2004, the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation has been the beneficiary of annual benefit concerts that bring featured artists onstage with student musicians for a truly magical evening of music and philanthropy,” said the statement. “Featuring Venice every year as the house band, past concerts have included David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Billy Idol, America, and many other music icons, all of whom have donated their time and talents to perform.”

“Our annual collaboration with Artists for the Arts Foundation creates truly unique opportunities for our students and faculty to work hand-in-hand with amazing professional musical talent. These concerts create once-in-a-lifetime experiences while raising funds to ensure our arts programs can continue to benefit future generations of students,” says Kathleen Rawson, President of the SMMEF Board of Directors. “We’re so thankful for the support of Artists for the Arts, Colin Hay, Stephen Bishop, the members of the band Venice, our sponsors and the community members and parents who support this event every year.”