Home / ARTS & CULTURE / ICOE Foundation for Education to Host 3rd Annual Autumn & the Arts Fundraiser to Celebrate Students, the Arts, and Education

ICOE Foundation for Education to Host 3rd Annual Autumn & the Arts Fundraiser to Celebrate Students, the Arts, and Education


The Foundation for Education, a non-profit organization that supports Imperial County students, will host its third annual Autumn & the Arts fundraiser on October 5, 2023, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The fundraiser will showcase the talents of local students through an art exhibit of winning pieces from the first annual Imperial County Arts Festival, which was held in May. Most of the artwork will be available for purchase, and 100% of the proceeds will go to the participating student artists in the form of scholarships.

Several teachers and students from around Imperial County are busy preparing for this exciting event. Wilson Junior High School Art teacher Miriam Marcuson and her students are creating beautiful ceramic vases to be exhibited and sold at the event. “My students are very proud to participate in Autumn & the Arts,” shared Miriam Marcuson. “It is the culmination of the hard work on their ceramic projects. Ceramics is particularly popular among my students, and they are excited to know that their pieces will be exhibited and sold to help raise funds for scholarships that will benefit students in need.”

Wilson Junior High School student Camila Rojas, who won first and third place in the Sculpture category of the Imperial County Arts Festival in May (Junior Division), shared that she enjoys her art class. “Art makes me feel happy because I am able to express myself with art. I find Mrs. Marcuson’s class very comforting.”

“I hope that one day, all children will have access to an art class because I see how it changes students’ perspectives on what education is,” added Mrs. Marcuson. “Art classes are more hands-on, and students enjoy collaborating, especially in this age group. My students sit in groups, help each other, and learn from each other. There is a lot of collaboration, and creation with their hands using their imagination. I love seeing their faces light up when they create something beautiful.”

Calexico High School Culinary Arts Teacher, Chef Nuñez, and his students are also busy experimenting with different flavors and presentations as they prepare for the event for which they will provide an assortment of desserts.

“Autumn & the Arts is a very important event for my students because they get to prepare all the pastries for the event”, Chef Nuñez said. “This event helps prepare them for the real world. When they graduate from high school and pursue a career in the culinary arts, they’ll have all these cooking and baking techniques, as well as front-of-the-house techniques. Autumn & the Arts is a great opportunity for my students along with other events we participate in around the Valley, and we are very proud and thankful for the opportunity to participate.”

“The culinary arts class has taught me so many skills that will help me throughout my entire life,” said Kay Vasquez, a Calexico High School student enrolled in Chef Nuñez’s culinary arts class. “We are learning how to safely handle food. I enjoy learning new techniques, new recipes, sauces, and how to make dishes look very pretty!”

“We are excited to see the incredible artwork and desserts that our students have prepared for Autumn & the Arts! It always brings such joy to share the amazing talent and creativity of our students with the community. We are very grateful for the passion and dedication of our teachers, who go above and beyond to instill in their students a love of art and to showcase their creations,” said Dr. Todd Finnell, County Superintendent of Schools and President of the Foundation for Education.

In addition, the Foundation will auction several signature items, including a sculpture donated by Debi Smerdon from DS Arts Studio, a photograph donated by Letty Guerra of Monarch Iconography, and a mosaic sculpture designed by Sunflower Elementary School students in partnership with the Rainforest Art Project. Participants will also enjoy live music and a dinner.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will support the Foundation’s scholarship program, which provides financial assistance to some of Imperial County’s most vulnerable students, including those enrolled in alternative education schools, special education programs, or Imperial Pathways Charter School, ICOE’s drop-out recovery program for individuals 17 and over.

“The Foundation’s scholarship program has made a real difference in my life,” said Alexia Quiñones, a 2023 scholarship recipient and 2023 Valley Academy School graduate. “This scholarship made it possible for me to pursue my goal of becoming a medical assistant. The Foundation for Education’s contribution to my education is very much appreciated and will allow me to continue to focus on my studies. I hope to one day serve other families as a care provider and the Foundation’s assistance makes my goal that much more reachable.”

In 2023, the Foundation awarded $18,350 in scholarships to 31 students. Over the past three years, the Foundation has awarded close to $35,000 in scholarships, impacting the lives of local students and their families throughout Imperial County. As the Foundation continues to grow, the number of students supported also increases, which would not be possible without the support and generous contributions from the community.

“We are so grateful for the support that the Foundation for Education has received. We encourage everyone to attend the Autumn & the Arts fundraiser and help us continue to support Imperial County students,” added Dr. Todd Finnell.

Tickets are $100 and will help support the Foundation for Education’s scholarship program and art initiatives. Tickets are still available for purchase on the Foundation for Education website: foundation.icoe.org/fundraiser.

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