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‘Big Bang’ Benefit Bolsters UC San Diego Student Engagement Through the Arts April 6

ArtPower! fundraiser will honor Joan Jordan Bernstein and Rita and Richard Atkinson


  • Kristin Luciani

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  • Kristin Luciani

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UC San Diego students learn from professional dancers and choreographers through ArtPower!’s Dance Master Classes.

Arts patrons and campus supporters will come together Sunday, April 6 for the University of California, San Diego’s annual Big Bang at ArtPower! fundraiser. Chaired by ArtPower! supporter Martha Dennis, the celebration includes a festive brunch and special performance by the Escher String Quartet. In addition, donors Joan Jordan Bernstein and Rita and Richard Atkinson will be recognized for their generosity, vision and leadership support. All proceeds will benefit the organization’s student engagement programs, with the goal of creating the ArtPower! Student Engagement Endowment Fund. The event is open to the public.

Now in its 10th anniversary season, ArtPower! at UC San Diego is the campus’s premier multi-arts presenter, offering creative experiences in music, dance, film, exhibition and food for the campus and San Diego community. A primary goal of the organization is to make the arts engaging and accessible for both university and K-12 students throughout the community. To this end, ArtPower! offers reduced-price student tickets and activities ranging from concerts in residence halls to hands-on workshops with performing artists. This year alone, the organization’s student engagement programs will reach more than 3,000 young people.

“Student engagement is at the heart of ArtPower!’s mission. At every event we do, we see and hear stories of young lives being inspired and transformed,” said Kathryn Martin, interim director of ArtPower!. “These programs simply would not be possible without the support of the community. Through the leadership of Joan, Rita and Richard, and event chair Martha Dennis, ArtPower! is raising new funds to create an endowment to ensure this organizational commitment continues.”

Joan Jordan Bernstein and Rita and Richard Atkinson, the honorees of the 2014 Big Bang, are longtime supporters of ArtPower! Bernstein is an inaugural member of Power!Players, a group of community friends who provide financial support for the organization’s programing, artistic direction and engagement activities, as well as advocate for the arts and arts education in San Diego. A campus supporter since 1991, Bernstein is also a UC San Diego Chancellor’s Associate and Town and Gown member.

In addition to UC San Diego students, ArtPower! reaches K-12 audiences through special free matinee performances.

Along with Bernstein, Rita and Richard Atkinson—former president of the University of California and former chancellor of UC San Diego—belong to ArtPower!’s 20+ Club, which recognizes donors who have supported the organization and its predecessor funds for more than 20 years. To help build support for student engagement activities, the Atkinsons gave $100,000 last summer—$50,000 of it to be used for a matching gift opportunity to inspire fellow donors.

Funds raised through the Big Bang event will benefit ArtPower! student engagement programs providing:

  • Free Matinee Performances – In addition to UC San Diego students, ArtPower! reaches K-12 audiences through special free matinee performances to introduce San Diego’s youth to the performing arts—and to life on a university campus.
  • Dance Master Classes – UC San Diego students learn from professional dancers and choreographers. Taught by some of the best artists in the field, master classes provide new perspectives and inspiration for aspiring dance professionals. ArtPower! also works with transcenDANCE Youth Arts Project, a local nonprofit that cultivates young performers in San Diego.
  • Sound Labs – A series of dynamic hands-on workshops and demonstrations with musicians and performers from around the globe. These “lab” engagements provide UC San Diego students the opportunity to engage with new ways of music making and music sharing.
  • Film Practicum – In the spirit of hands-on teaching and learning, film practicum connects undergraduate mentors with film production students at San Diego’s High Tech High Media Arts.
  • Filmatic Festival – A unique event for film fanatics, this event offers UC San Diego undergraduate and graduate students the chance to screen their films and network with industry professionals.

The Big Bang at ArtPower! takes place at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 6 at the UC San Diego Faculty Club. Open to the public, the celebration includes brunch and live performances. Tickets are $250. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (858) 534-7657 or email To learn more about ArtPower! at UC San Diego, visit

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