- 2010 - May - 31st -

Local political and business leaders support education foundation

  • Former Ambassador John Rood, the event chair, thanks donors and introduces (from left) Jeb Bush Jr., artist Romero Britto and former Gov. Jeb Bush. Bush said he was now Jeb Sr. and his son was Jeb.

  • Arts supporters Jo and Rick Rumrell, an attorney with Rumrell Costabel Warrington & Brock

  • Former Gov. Jeb Bush and retired Ambassador John Rood, who chaired the event.

  • Government relations consultant Marty Fiorentino and Jacksonville Civic Council Chair Peter Rummell.

  • Mayor John Peyton and his wife, Dr. Kathryn Pearson Peyton, greet patrons.

  • Dalton Agency Executive Vice President Michael Munz and Regions Financial Corp. North Florida Area Executive Marty Lanahan.

  • University of North Florida President John Delaney, Florida State College at Jacksonville general counsel Jeanne Miller and her father, John Craddock.

  • Ed Speich of Kemper and Monica Day of Zurich Insurance Services.

  • Columba Bush is the founder of Arts for Life!. Her husband, former Gov. Jeb Bush, is founder, chair and president of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, based in Tallahassee.

  • Government relations consultant Marty Fiorentino and his wife, Ch. 4 anchor Mary Baer.

From Staff

by Karen Brune Mathis
Managing Editor

Arts for Life! Celebration raised funds for young artists

 Former Gov. Jeb Bush and his wife, Columba, hosted the Arts for Life! Celebration recently Downtown at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

About 115 Northeast Florida political and business leaders attended the May 21 event to donate to the cause.

Retired Ambassador John Rood chaired the benefit and State Sen. John Thrasher and Mayor John Peyton served as honorary co-chairs.

The host committee consisted of business and political leaders: Gary and Nancy Chartrand, Jay and Tammy Demetree, Marty Fiorentino, Jeanne Godwin, Mike Hightower, Bart Hudson, Russell and Joannie Newton, Roger O’Steen, Tom and Betty Petway, Bob and Peggy Rothman, Peter and Lee Ann Rummell, Rick and Jo Rumrell, Lee and Dorothy Thomas and Michael Ward.

The benefit assisted Florida’s young artists with scholarships.

The silent auction alone raised $9,000 for a signed, limited edition serigraph, “Children of the World,” by Romero Britto. Two students performed.

The foundation has not reported how much money was raised, but it is used to support the scholarship program.

Bush served as governor from 1999 to 2007, then launched the Foundation for Excellence in Education, based in Tallahassee. Bush chairs the foundation.

Columba Bush started Arts for Life! in 1999 and the organization has since awarded $276,000 in scholarships to 276 Florida high-school graduates with talents in creative writing, dance, drama, music and the visual arts.

Annually, the Arts for Life! program recognizes 25 graduating high school seniors from across Florida for outstanding achievement in the arts.

Since the start, 34 students from Northeast Florida were awarded scholarships, the foundation reports, including one this year.

Danielle Cheiken of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts will be awarded a scholarship in music at the awards luncheon June 25 in Tampa. About 500 applicants competed for the 25 $1,000 scholarships.

Following Jeb Bush’s terms as governor, the Arts for Life! program became administered by the nonprofit Foundation for Excellence in Education.

In 2008, Romero Britto became the program’s first artist-in-residence.

Bush told the crowd that students “are motivated through arts in general and do better across the board” when they participate in artistic pursuits.

“It matters that we support the arts,” he said.




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