Pamela Levine Fund

The Pamela Levine Arts Education Fund

Pamela Levine, Youth in Arts’ Executive Director from 1996 to 2006, passed away in April 2007 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Her passion and dedication to Youth in Arts and to our mission of arts education will always be remembered. With a generous donation in Pam’s memory from the Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation, Youth in Arts established The Pamela Levine Arts Education Fund. The Fund serves as seed funds for an endowment for Youth in Arts. Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Fund by making a note on your check or online donation that you wish to donate to this special cause.

The Pamela Levine Arts Education Leadership Award

Each year, Youth in Arts honors one or more individuals, or an organization, for exceptional work in providing or supporting arts education in Marin. Important criteria include effective collaboration and success in building links between programs and the community. Awardees are selected by the Staff and Board of Youth in Arts in collaboration with the family of Pam Levine. The $1,000 award is presented at a Youth in Arts community event.

2020 Recipient: Pepe Gonzalez

Principal Pepe Gonzalez and Administrative Assistant Anabella Reyes
Principal Pepe Gonzalez has won the 2020 award for his leadership and tireless advocacy for arts education at the elementary schools he leads. Mr. Gonzalez is the beloved principal of Laurel Dell and Short schools in San Rafael, where Youth in Arts’ teaching artists have been teaching visual arts and dance for nearly 20 years.

For the past four years, Principal Gonzalez has worked closely with Suzanne Joyal, Youth in Arts’ Director of Visual Arts, on an innovative sequential, scaffolded arts program designed to promote creativity, confidence and compassion through arts learning. Ms. Joyal presented the award at the Feb. 13 ribbon cutting to celebrate the reopening of the renovated Laurel Dell school. In giving him the award she also surprised him with a handmade book containing hundreds of cards with notes and drawings from students, staff and specialists saying why he is their hero.

“Mr. Gonzalez understands that the arts are about so much more than the pretty object we draw,” she said. “The arts offer students a safe space to explore their world, to stand up, to speak out, and to believe in themselves.”

Mr. Gonzalez has been a principal for more than 10 years and holds a master’s degree from Sonoma State University.

2019 Recipient: Shirl Buss

Dr. Shirl Buss, who helped develop a groundbreaking art and architecture program for elementary school children in San Rafael, is the 2019 recipient.

Dr. Buss was honored Dec. 13 at the YIA Gallery at an event that also celebrated the opening of Inspire, a show exploring the connection between teaching artists’ own work and the ideas they share with their students. Visual Arts Director Suzanne Joyal presented the $1,000 award to Dr. Buss on behalf of the Youth in Arts board and staff.

Dr. Buss is the heart of Youth in Arts’ Architects in Schools program, now in its fourth year. At Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael, she is a key member of a team of Youth in Arts mentor artists teaching design and build skills to 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. Buss is a designer, planner and educator whose work focuses on children, youth and the built environment. She holds a Masters in Early Childhood Development and an M.Arch and Ph.D from the UCLA Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Dr. Buss is the Y-PLAN Elementary Director at the Center for Cities + Schools, UC Berkeley.

Past Recipients

2018: Dr. Lynn Sondag of Dominican Universitywho created the collaborative murals between homeless members of the Downtown StreetTeam and Dominican students and developed an art program for kids in the Canal. She has been an active member in the Marin Arts Education and county arts planning process.

2017: Mike Roche, Owner of RileyStreet Art Supply, for supporting families displaced by the North Bay fires and consistently partnering with artists and arts organizations.

2016: Jane Kramer, founder and Executive Director of Enriching Lives Through Music (ELM) for bringing music to young people in the Canal.

2015: Susan Andrews, for founding and leading Oak Hill School and making sure all students on the autism spectrum receive arts education programs.

2014: Cassandra Flipper, for leading Bread & Roses, and providing performing arts experiences for thousands of children.

2013: Julia James, Teaching Artist, for her wonderful visual arts work with students and celebrating their work through Gallery exhibits.

2012: Carol Cooper, for building a model arts program as Head of School at Willow Creek Academy, and for working at the county level to build arts education resources.

2011: Betty Lituanio, for working to ensure children of all abilities have opportunities to participate in the arts.

2010: Joan Capurro, Vice President, Bank of Marin for business leadership in the arts.

2009: Joy Phoenix and Ingrid Purcell, for their long time volunteer service on the board of Youth in Arts, respectively running the Photography Team and creating the Volunteer Program for the Italian Street Painting Festival.

2008: Marty Meade, Teaching Artist, for her exemplary work with students of all ages and abilities, including highly at-risk youth.

From the Levine Family

Pam lived a full and rewarding life in her 52 years. She was born in Brooklyn, grew up in New York and moved to the Bay Area in 1977 to complete doctoral work in Psychology. She married Dr. Stephen Levine in 1982 and was deeply proud of her children Jacob and Sasha. Before coming to Youth in Arts, Pam was President of RVSC (now the Yes Foundation) and served on the Ross Valley District School Board. At Youth in Arts, Pam oversaw the expansion of the organization and received extensive accolades for her work. Pam’s soul was sweet, artistic and overflowing with love. A sculptor and dancer in her youth, she was dedicated to enriching the Marin community through the arts and arts education. Pam, a non-smoker, would have liked to give thanks to all who showed their love and support during her three-and-a-half year battle with lung cancer.