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Malissa Feruzzi Shriver Wins National Arts Education Award

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By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

May 2, 2014 – The nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts announced on Thursday that Santa Monica resident Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, former chair of the California Arts Council, will receive its 2014 Arts Education Award.

The award, presented by the Americans for the Arts, honors the best in arts education program design, execution and organizational leadership, according to officials.  Feruzzi Shriver is an advocate of art education, serving in a number of leadership positions both on a state and national level.

"Malissa Feruzzi Shriver's vision, dedication, passion, and work ethic to advocate for a robust arts education for every child in California are unprecedented," said Craig Watson, Director of the California Arts Council.

"Her leadership, first as a member and then Chair of the California Arts Council, and now as a private citizen has been nothing less than remarkable. Malissa's enthusiasm is infectious, her drive unmatched. We congratulate her on this much deserved national recognition and are proud to work alongside her in advancing arts education policy and practice in California."

The non-profit is honoring Feruzzi Shriver for her years of arts education advocacy, according to officials.  Some of her accomplishments include chairing the California team for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Education Leaders Institute, as well as co-founding CREATE CA (Core Reforms Engaging Arts to Educate), a statewide initiative to address the decline of art education in California schools. 

“I really believe that arts education is a social justice issue and that students who benefit the most get it the least,” Feruzzi Shriver told the Lookout. “I think that people misunderstand the impact of arts education.  It is really applied creativity and has a broad application for the field of design technology and the fine arts.”

In addition, she is the lead executive of Turnaround Arts California, served two terms on the California Arts Council, sits on the California Alliance for Arts Education policy board and serves as a trustee at the California Institute for the Arts.

“I really think that arts education should be reframed as applied creativity,” said Feruzzi Shriver. “If we expect to have a creative work force in the future, we need to educate our students in a different way other than rigid curriculums and standardized tests.”

Nationally, Feruzzi Shriver served on the boards for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), its Learning Advisory Board, the Western States Arts Federation and the Center for Research on Creativity.

Americans for the Arts presents six awards in various categories to recognize the achievement of individuals, organizations and programs that are committed to enriching the community through the arts.

"Our Local Arts Leadership Awards honorees have distinguished themselves as leaders in innovation, education, management and advocacy for the arts in communities across the country,” said Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. 

“Each of this year's honorees is driven by both a passion for their work and a deep belief in the power of the arts to transform individual lives and communities," Lynch said.

Feruzzi Shriver and the other honorees will be presented with their awards at the upcoming Americans for the Arts 2014 Annual Convention in Nashville during the Opening Plenary session, Friday, June 13, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Presentations will be live streamed online at

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