VAPA Foundation holds Beyond Brilliance event to support student art education

Rancho Santa Fe residents Lynda Kerr and Richard Kerr
(Lynda Kerr)

The VAPA Foundation held its Beyond Brilliance fundraiser on May 20 at the Conrad in La Jolla as part of its mission to promote arts education in local schools.

“Art education for me is something I have a great passion for,” said Rancho Santa Fe resident Lynda Kerr, who is on the events committee of the VAPA Foundation. “Art is always there if you feel isolated and alone. Sitting down and doing an art project, you can get lost in it and soothe your soul, so to speak.”

Dr. Jeff and Carol Chang, Lynda Kerr, Kasia Brzezicka and Jacopo Annese at the Beyond Brilliance fundraiser held May 20.
(Vincent Andrunas)

The event showcased students in the San Diego Unified School District, with culinary arts students mentored by Chef Giuseppe Ciuffa, photography by students mentored by Vincent Andrunas and Esteban Villanueva, and lighting and backstage support by students mentored by The Conrad Performing Arts Center professionals.

“Doing art projects can help children learn to collaborate with each other and just enjoy their own self-expression and create things that they value and want to share with their families and just feel good about themselves,” Kerr said.

According to the VAPA Foundation’s website, the Beyond Brilliance event honored The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation for supporting music in schools with support services and new instruments to underfunded music programs throughout the country. It was co-chaired by Doreen Schonbrun and Phyllis Epstein.

“It’s full of energy, and the kids entertain in various ways,” Kerr said. “There’s art and it’s very lively and full of color, music. It’s focused on the kids and how well they’re doing and what they can show us that they’ve learned.”

Kerr, who has been involved with San Diego Opera and other local arts organizations over the years, added that “art is always there if you feel isolated and alone.”

“The concept of space, scale, proportion, line and problem solving are all the fundamentals taught in art class and are vital in our day-to-day living,” said Kerr, who was an art major in college. “Most importantly, critical thinking skills honed through many years of creating art have given me the confidence to share my talents and abilities in many ways in my community.”

Last year, Kerr was part of a group of Rancho Santa Fe residents who visited Nicaragua to see girls from underserved communities who began attending a new nonprofit boarding school. She helped students create duct tape purses, bows for their and other crafts.

“Art can just be so uplifting to kids who are struggling,” Kerr said. “It’s a great diversion from our problems, the whole process of creating things.”

For more information on the VAPA Foundation, visit