Robert Frost Auditorium Re-Opening Gala Event


The red carpet rolled out, on Saturday, September 29, to welcome Culver City leaders and community members, excited to be the first to experience the stunning new remodel of the historical landmark building, The Robert Frost Auditorium.

The evening kicked off with a cocktail event catered by Akasha and hosted by the Culver City Education Foundation as a fundraiser for The Arts Endowment, “A $10MM capital campaign over the next five years.”

The gala marked the culmination of a 9-year initiative, of which Former CCUSD Board President, Kathy Paspalis, remarks, “The vision to renovate and make it better than it ever was before, more usable by so many kids for years to come, is just amazing.”

“The whole experience…I call it…like a jazz ensemble,” Craig Hodgetts of architectural firm Hodgetts + Fung explains, “because the school district, the administration, all the creative and the board, were just amazing in terms of the harmony and the working together in realizing a vision…and rescuing one of the most significant buildings on the west coast. That’s no small accomplishment.”

The reinvention of the Frost came with no small price tag––a jaw-dropping $24MM dollars funded by Measure CC.

Paspalis added, “The bond [Measure CC] fixed the building, and the parcel tax [Measure K] is critical to keep the projects that kids need going and to be able to staff them, now that the buildings are fixed.”

The theater celebration included student performances––a beautiful rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” and an energetic performance of “Brand New Day” from the musical “The Wiz.”

Also featured, a memorable duo ensemble performance consisting of a typewriter, front desk bell, and orchestra performed by Culver City High School alum Brian Sonia-Wallace.

Poet Brian Sonia-Wallace known for his “Typewriter Poetry.” (Photo: Maximina Revis)

Janice Pober, SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) received a special dedication at the gala for her role in SPE’s district-wide funding for Academy of Visual Performing Arts (AVPA).

CC Council Member Daniel Lee acknowledged Sony’s commitment to [arts programming], “I think tonight was incredible and instructive in how businesses can interact with our community. Sony has been a leader in that respect. I think we should ask a similar level of commitment from other large businesses coming in like, Apple, Amazon, and Symantec.”

A sure characteristic making the night special and unique was its focus on the arts. Lee adds, “I have a whole lot of respect for the arts and how it can really influence and broadly shape young people as they mature. Whether they go into the arts, or engineering, or science or accounting, having that well-rounded base is very important. It influences their worldview, their viability in the job market, and last but not least, how they interact with other people.”

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