Article written the November 2003 issue of Kensington Outlook in Berkeley, California.
At a time when school districts are slashing their curricula, students in Kensington enjoy courses in such areas as art thanks to the likes of Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Alex Adelman.
Adelman, an art dealer who runs the online Masterworks Fine Arts Inc., has donated works of art to the Kensington Education Foundation’s Garden Party auction since 1998. In four years, those donation raised more than $45,000 for the school to support art, science, computer and other programs.
Despite moving out of Kensington and not having children, Adelman continues to donate works of art to support the elementary school.
“I still have roots in the community. I still have friends in the community,” he said. “I’ve always believed the first priority in any community has to do with education.”
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Garden Party, an annual fundraising event that combines food, drink, live music and both a silent and live auction. For many in the community, the gala represents the social event of the year. But the Garden Party also accounts for more
than half of the Kensington Education Foundation’s annual $170,000 budget.
This year with continued pressure on finances in Sacramento as well as the budget pressures on the West Contra Costa Unified School District, foundation members say it is more important than ever to bring in money to keep the programs it funds going.
“We’re faced with more drastic cutbacks next year and we have the feeling we are going to have to pick up more programs to cover what the district can’t” said Esther Hill, president of the Kensington Education Foundation.
In addition to the fine art being offered, auction items range from a day on the Delta with science teacher Jan Lovell to a day in the life of a Tugboat donated by Ted Blanckenburg. There are also getaways including one to Ventana at Big Sur, a ride in the KGO helicopter and the private tasting of reserve wines and a cave tour for six people at the Moon Mountain Vineyard.
The Oakland-based real estate firm Grubb & Co. is underwriting part of the cost of theevent this year with a $3,500 donation.
The Garden Party will begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday Nov. 8 at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 1 Lawson Road in Kensington. Advance tickets can be purchased for $45 each by calling Christy Wise at 558-1842 or at the door for $50 each.