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Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland Premiere Benefited Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts

On February 25, 2010 in London, Disney's most recent film "Alice in Wonderland" directed by Tim Burton held its premiere in London to benefit a nonprofit organization that inspires children to love art.  The organization is called Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts (http://www.childrenandarts.org.uk/). 

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The organization's CEO, Jeremy Newton, strongly felt that "Alice in Wonderland" will inspire children in the United Kingdom (UK).  "We believe passionately in the power of classic storytelling to inspire children and to fire their imaginations," Newton said in an email interview.  

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales created this organization in 2002 after visiting children at a Pupil Referral Unit  who listened  to "Romeo and Juliet" story in 2000.  The children's reactions to the story inspired His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to buy all the children tickets to see the performance of "Romeo and Juliet."   "He (His Royal Highness) believed that not only should the best of the arts take place in the classroom but that every child should have the chance to see the best of the arts in venues around the UK," Newton said. 

The organization invited the Walt Disney Company to premiere Tim Burton's film after having helped to organize the Royal Gala Theatre Premiere of “Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens” in 2009 in the United Kingdom.  "We were delighted that the Disney Corporation shared our excitement about making the premiere a truly special occasion," Newton said. 

In hope to raise over £75,000 (equivalent to $112 650), Newton was hoping to fund Children & the Arts’ core program – Start. Through Start, Children & the Arts link both primary and secondary schools with local arts venues.

Through Start, 18,500 children in 2009 finally had the opportunity to attend plays, art galleries or orchestra performances for the first time in their lives.  These children lack access to the arts because their schools do not provide art education.  "Start exists to redress this balance so that the children involved experience a rich engagement with the arts, begin to feel comfortable in cultural spaces and become increasingly confident and creative in their own right," Newton said. 

This organization also offers other programs such as Great Art Quest, Music Quest Project and Poetry Quest.  In the Music Quest Project, the organization exposed hearing impaired children to the world of music by attending workshops and concerts.  Sign Language interpreters were present at such events to allow communication access for the children who have hearing loss.  Since 2008, the Great Art Quest gave over 1,800 children opportunities to visit a local art gallery narrated by storytellers and facilitated by visual artists to help them understand how to make art.  "For many of the children involved this was their first visit to an art gallery only a few miles away from their school. Taking part in the Great Art Quest has allowed these children to discover a wonderful world they didn’t know existed: a world of paintings and sculptures, inspiring artists and storytellers," Newton said.  "It has also allowed them to unlock their own hidden talents. Each year we arrange a special exhibition of the children’s work in a gallery in London. The children visibly grow in pride and confidence when they see their work on the walls. Children who might previously have thought they weren’t good at anything find something to be proud of."

This organization has three goals that the funds could help with.  Number one, Newton wants to expand the organization's Start Program to gain children's access to the rich network of arts experiences available in galleries, museums, theatres and concert halls around the United Kingdom.  Number two, the organization wants to develop a portfolio of “Quest” projects to cover all art forms – music, poetry, the visual arts, design, dance, photography, film and drama.  Finally, number three, the organization also wants to increase its influence at the national policy level. 

The organization has a large list of ambassadors who are illustrators, actors, comedians, musicians and authors.  Some of the ambassadors are as follows: Illustrator Quentin Blake (http://www.quentinblake.com/,) Actor Richard E Grant (www.richard-e-grant.com/),  Comedian Tim Minchin (http://www.timminchin.com/comedian/), Author Michael Morpurgo (http://www.michaelmorpurgo.com/) Musician Julian Lloyd Webber (http://www.julianlloydwebber.com/wep_4_83.asp).
 

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