Education Work

Donna is one of 3 singer's involved in the Austin Jazz Workshop, a granted program that goes into elementary schools to provide educational classes and performances that nurture the appreciation of music and the possibility of making music a career.

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ASPVA Student Qualifies for Presidential Scholar Finals

Joshua Banbury, ASPVA Voice Major and Presidential
Scholar Finalist

AUSTIN,TX--January 7, 2013--Joshua Banbury, a senior at The Austin School for the Performing and Visual Arts (ASPVA), has been selected as a finalist for the U.S. Presidential Scholar award. He has been training vocally with Donna Mittenthal, Robert Schneider, and Kirsten Watson under the direction of Nathaniel Mayfield, Artistic Director for ASPVA and Presidential Scholar Winner (1994, Music). Mayfield, a graduate of Juilliard and Columbia University explains, "Young Arts and the presidential scholarship ultimately gave me the confidence to pursue a professional career in music and the arts. The commission's belief in me, at such an impressionable age, inspired me to believe that with determination and hard work I could achieve success in life.I am delighted that Joshua will have similar opportunities, and I believe he has a good chance of winning." Banbury is also the recipient of a scholarship sponsored by the American Campus Communities Charity Foundation, an organization that has supported arts education at ASPVA since the school's inception in 2006. This 17 year old's drive comes from his love of the opera, and his parents, Alex and Jonafa Banbury, looked to the ASPVA to support his dream of singing and acting professionally.

At the request of the Commission on Presidential Scholars, which is appointed by the President of the United States, YoungArts serves as the exclusive nominating agency for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, the country's highest honor for high school seniors. Each year, twenty YoungArts winners are chosen as U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. They showcase their work at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC and are awarded as U.S. Presidential Scholars by the President of the United States at a White House ceremony. Banbury was selected among 10,000 applicants from across the United States, and is one of 20 vocal finalists who will also participate in YoungArts Week, which takes place in Miami each year in January. Carol de Cardenas, ASPVA Founder and Executive Director, will be in attendance to see their first student perform in the New World Center in Miami. "We are so proud of Joshua's hard work and dedication to honing both his academic and artistic talents. His teachers at ASPVA and I admire his fierce commitment and unwavering focus to his studies," comments de Cardenas. This prestigious opportunity enables participants to work with distinguished master teachers and mentors such as Robert Redford, Branford Marsalis and Debi Mazar. Like all YoungArts programs, YoungArts Week is designed to support young artists at a critical juncture in their lives and encourage their decision to pursue a career in the arts. YoungArts winners represent a dynamic group of artists who go on to become leading professional in their fields. Alumni are Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony award nominees. They dance with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the New York City Ballet, and play in the Chicago Symphony and New York Philharmonic Orchestras. Their work appears on the New York Times bestseller list, at The Museum of Modern Art and in the Sundance Film Festival. YoungArts Alumni include actresses Vanessa Williams, Viola Davis and Kerry Washington; four-time Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza; Executive Director of American Ballet Theater Rachel Moore; recording artists Nicki Minaj and Chris Young; musicians Terence Blanchard, Eric Owens, and Jennifer Koh; choreographer Desmond Richardson; and internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken. "It's an affirmation that you were right. Whether it was singing or dancing or acting, you knew that you were good enough to get there and people recognized it," explains Vanessa Williams, YoungArts Alumna (1981, Theater).

About The Austin School for the Performing and Visual Arts
The Austin School for the Performing and Visual Arts (ASPVA) is an environment that promotes academic success, exposes students to the variety of artistic endeavors, and challenges students to continue to develop and perfect their unique talents. ASPVA believes that the arts have the power to positively impact all areas of a child's life because of the unique ability of the arts to capture children's imaginations, motivating them to strive for excellence, and to see themselves and the world around them from new perspectives. ASPVA was established as a non-profit organization in 2006 and has served over 1,600 students grades K - 12 through their community outreach program. ASPVA began offering an accredited, full-time academic curriculum with an emphasis on the fine arts for grades 6 - 12 fall 2010 in their downtown location at 1110 Guadalupe Street, Austin, TX 78701. Registration is now open for spring 2013.

About American Campus Communities, Inc.
American Campus Communities is the nation's largest developer, owner and manager of high-quality student housing communities. They led the industry to a new plateau in 2004 when they became the first publicly traded student housing REIT (NYSE: ACC). Since 1996, they have developed more than $3.8 billion in properties for their own account and their university clients, and they have acquired in excess of $3.7 billion in student housing assets. The mission of the American Campus Charity Foundation was developed to support philanthropies that promote education, shelter and well-being, and to contribute to the charitable efforts of American Campus communities nationwide. Recipients of support from the Foundation include the Austin School for the Performing and Visual Arts, LifeWorks, The Rise School of Austin, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.