If my folks were still with us, they would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this summer, on August 14th, in the middle of the pandemic, forest fires, racial unrest, economic uncertainty and political friction. If they were still here, they would celebrate the life they shared together, supporting inclusion, diversity, freedom of expression and love for all. They would show gratitude for the one constant in their lives – being able to count on each other in case one were to fall. As the direction of life detours, their road is now my road. In their passing, they not only handed me the torch, but handed down their passions for making the lives of others better – supported, and encouraged through creativity. I will continue to walk down this path with the recognition and compassion for those who may need a hand to stay their own course. It may not be an easy road to tread, but if I can contribute to a positive outcome for even just one child, one student, one emerging artist or teacher, then the journey, no matter how challenging, is worth every step.
Since our inaugural newsletter last spring, I want to share with you the projects that are in process and those now completed. Since the onset of COVID-19, the road forward has felt more like a trek, muddled with hurdles and pot holes, detours and dead ends, but with a bit of grit, and a lot of help from friends, we covered some miles. Our renewed mission — to ensure that all youth have access to an arts education by providing support to under-resourced communities and programs – has born fruit. We would like to share these successes with you, and invite you to support our growing community of artists, educators, youth, and the organizations that empower them.
Please read on to learn more. You are receiving this newsletter because you are a trusted and welcomed friend and supporter of my parents, their work, and their vision for an equitable world where art is not a privilege, but a human value shared and needed by us all.
All the best to you in these challenging times.
About the Arts Education Initiative
The Mel and Leta Ramos Family Foundation’s Arts Education Initiative foregrounds arts education as critical to the development of student achievement, civic engagement and leadership. Research in the creative fields has shown that an arts education leads to greater student success in general, and an engaged and more prosperous citizenship. That is why we choose to focus our efforts on art education as as foundational to community wellness. In under-funded urban neighborhoods and communities, our youth often lack access to ongoing immersion in, or even exposure to, the arts than more economically privileged children and teens enjoy, both in school and after school programs, in private instruction and civic engagement. Through our directed grant-making, we commit to supporting schools, universities, non-profit and community-based programs that further inclusive arts education for all young people.
Collaboration with A.G. Geiger
Fine Arts and Books
Beginning in August, 2020, the Foundation partnered with A.G. Geiger Fine Arts and Books of Los Angeles to sell catalogues, books and postcards from our inventory, including selected signed lithographs, featuring Mel’s iconic Cat Woman. Proceeds from the sale of items will be split 50/50 with the Foundation, and in support of our newly-seeded Ramos Foundation Apprenticeship with LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions). The Apprenticeships nurture and train college students and young adults by providing comprehensive, hands-on skill development in the non-profit arts field. The books and prints will remain available for purchase for a limited time at:
For more information about our funding priorities, community impact, or how you can support the Arts Education Initiative as a donor or partner, please contact me at: Rochelle@melramos.com
We have to make sure the arts are taught in schools, and we have to support students in their advancement in arts education…exercising creative expression is vital.
– Rochelle, quoted in an interview in Cal State East Bay magazine, which featured the Foundation’s creation of a need-based student Teaching Artist Opportunity award.
As part of our legacy work to ensure that all youth have access to an arts education, The Mel & Leta Ramos Family Foundation gifted the following organizations and programs:
- Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) for art kits for summer (online) art camp
- Cal State East Bay Teaching Artist Opportunity
- LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) Apprenticeship Program
- Creative Growth Art Center
- Cal State Sacramento’s Student Emergency Fund
- Arts for Oakland Kids
- Gratitude NOW!
Auctions and Institutional Gifts:
Crocker Art Museum – Gift of Mel’s painting, The Princess
Crocker Art Museum Annual Auction – Wonder Woman, woodcut with acrylic paint
LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) Auction – Hunt for the Best, lithograph
PBS KVIE Sacramento – Cat Woman #1, framed lithograph
Ramos Family Foundation in the Media:
Cal State East Bay Magazine, Summer 2020
A.G. Geiger Presents (Podcast Interview)
LA Weekly “Bookseller’s Holiday: National Non-Profit Month Edition”
Feature article by Michael Delgado, August 20, 2020
For information about the Foundation and how you can support our Arts Education Initiative,
please contact Rochelle@melramos.com
You may also make an online donation at: https://www.ebcf.org/donate/donate-to-mel-and-leta-ramos-family-foundation-fund/