September 21, 2003 – Hollywood: The Artists for a Better World 3rd annual Arts Festival, entitled “Unity Through Creativity,” took place from Sept 14-21st at Celebrity Centre International. The festival supported The Way to Happiness booklet, a common sense guide to successful living, by L. Ron Hubbard.
The kick off event was an “Artists March and Rally” on Sunday, September 14th. It was launched at Celebrity Centre International where artists began the march, carrying colorful balloons and placards with quotes from The Way to Happiness, and other sources, emphasizing the importance of the arts. They marched down Hollywood Boulevard to a rally location on Ivar Street, while handing out The Way to Happiness booklets and fliers inviting people to the Artists For A Better World 3rd annual Arts Festival. The marchers elicited positive reactions from public who honked and waved at them, and accepted the booklets with interest. The rally was highlighted with a variety of local performers, as well as speakers who supported the arts. These included Captain Downing of the Hollywood Police Department, and Jo Jo Sanchez with the Hollywood Partnership Against Drugs. After the rally, the marchers walked back to Celebrity Centre International for the Opening Night Concert featuring Singer/Sonwriter Brooke Ramel, whose music has been heard on radio and TV; Robbi Longley, classical guitarist who has done many performances; and “The Boneman” Jim Moseley, who has performed with Frank Sinatra, and recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
On Monday, September 15th there was a Music Career Seminar with a celebrity panel, including Harriet Schock, Platinum and Grammy nominated artist, and writer of hit single “Aint no way to treat a lady” by Helen Reddy; Mike Gormley, Music Manager with groups such as Oingo Boingo and The Bangles and currently managing international artists; Gilli Moon, award winning recording artist and founder of Warrior Girl Music and president of Songsalive; Geoff Levin, academy award nominee, and Billboard charting recording artist who has placed over 40 songs on film and TV; and Toni Koch, Artists and Repertoire representative with Warrior Girl Music and US Coordinator for Songsalive. Several up and coming musicians attended this seminar which provided valuable career tips. Attendee Julie Matsumoto enthused, “Excellent information! Great encouragement.”
Tuesday, Sept 16th was Theatre Night where the award winner from the “Mans Greatness” playwriting contest had her play presented which was produced and directed by Wren Taylor.
On Wednesday, September 17th was the Variety Showcase and Open Mic, produced by Tom Fair, which featured singers, songwriters and musicians performing primarily original material from a variety of genres including rock, folk, and blues.
Thursday, September 18th was the Artists Networking Event which featured speakers from various Artist Associations, and performance from a number of artists. Speaker, Toni Koch remarked, “Everyone’s positive attitude is refreshing.”
Fri Sept 19 – Poet Leslie Silton hosted a Poets workshop. Mark Phillips sums it up great: “A festive mood was created as various poets and writers, first timers and seasoned writers got together to spontaneously write on topics randomly picked, chosen by each writer. It is amazing what writers can come up with in a matter of 8 minutes to compose a written piece. The night of writing was very successful and a good time was had by all.”
Sat Sept 20th and Sun Sept 21
Throughout the weekend an array of artwork was displayed on the grounds and drew in many people who in the aesthetic and inspirational presentations. Especially notable were the hand-carved paintings done by Manual Toapanta, an elderly gentleman of Spanish descent who has spent numerous years carving paintings of various city scenes. Manual states that he sees the picture of what he wants to create and then goes about carving it, and adding colorful paint to bring it to life.
Not only were there paintings on display, but attendees at the festival also got a chance to partake in the creativity. Those of various levels of artistic skill could try their hand at drawing live models. Kids were delighted to have their faces painted, and to enjoy making sculptures in clay. On one part of the grounds there were lovely scenic paintings which one would assume were done by adults. However, when approaching the area they were hung, one encountered kids no older than 10 years of age, and when asking where the creators of the paintings were, a friendly young child proudly claimed that he had done several of them, and the rest were done by other kids 10 or under!
Instructor Esmerelda has been able to bring out the best in her young students, several of whom spent time painting during the weekend. Quite a remarkable site.
Artists were happy to come and be part of this uplifting environment. One artist states:
The number of possibilities which opened up for me as a result of the Arts Festival were so great as to make the show one of the most memorable and worthwhile experiences of the year. Thanks so much for doing what you are doing. .. Yours is a special group. With AFABW I am among my greatest friends. Love, Richard Campbell
On the grounds were also booths for various groups such as Songsalive!, a songwriters network founded by Gilli Moon, Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a group handling the abuses of psychiatry, and The Way to Happiness Foundation, which publishes the The Way to Happiness booklet, which is a common sense guide to better living, by L. Ron Hubbard.
There was no shortage of things to take part in during Saturday afternoon, with Poetry readings in the Rose Garden Café, hosted by Russell Salamon, and a Way to Happiness concert produced by Tom Fair in the Garden Pavilion. Tom has written songs for each of the main concepts of The Way to Happiness, many of which he performed with his band at the concert, as well as having other guest performers from the community do their original songs. In the theatre there was a Vocal Breakthroughs Workshop with Jeannie Deva, renowned singers and actors coach, who imparted valuable tools to the attendees so they could expand in their creative fields.. And in room 101 was a Screenwriters Workshop with Screenwriter David Bartlett who got rave successes from the people who came such as the following: “The seminar was amazing. I learned more in these few hours that I didn’t think was possible. I’m so happy that I came and would happily pay for a longer course!” SS
The day of creativity on Saturday culminated with an Awards Event & Concert in the evening, acknowledging top artists who have been working hard to change conditions for the better, both through their art and community involvement. The event was produced by AFABW member and Festival Producer, Barbara Cordova. Barbara chose top performers, many of whom had “better world” messages as part of their works. President of Artists For A Better World International, George Alger, was the MC of the event, and past awardees and celebrities presented the awards to this years winners. Attendee Lorita Garcia said, “The awards event was like the academy awards – well structured, organized and totally entertaining.” AFABW Award winner, Gilli Moon, said “Barbara, thank you so much for having me and Songsalive here and at the festival. I feel so honored and humble to be given the award. I’d love to continue this liaison of love and strength between our organizations.” Attendee Randy Tobin remarked, “This was a great collection and validation of artists and their individual missions into the world around them. A wonderful evening of art, music and communication!”
Sunday Sept 21st the arts on the grounds continued. Other activities included Part B of the Screenwriters Workshop; an Improv Workshop with the Really Spontaneous Theatre Co.; a “How to Achieve your Goals Workshop” with Joyce Wallace, Career Consultant; and a Multi-denominational Sunday Service, produced by Annette Jonsson of the Church of Scientology Choir. The Choir performed, along with a guest singer from the Los Angeles Police Department, who graced the stage with a Yiddish song. Attendee Diane Peloquin said, “Excellent Sunday Service. Having the speakers of different faiths was brilliant and moving. The singer form the LAPD moved me to tears. It was a beautifully planned and executed service.” Attendee Marsha Haywood said, “It was awesome hearing the similarities of the different religions.”
Artists For A Better World International is dedicated to building a worldwide network of artists who share a vision of creating a better world through aesthetics. There are associated groups in Canada, England and South Africa, with individual members around the globe.