Abbe Levine Receives National Arts Schools Network Award
Abbe Levine, an alumna of Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA), has received the 2019 Outstanding Arts School Alumni Award from the Arts Schools Network (ASN), the nation's largest professional membership organization of specialized arts schools. Created to foster artistic and academic achievement in talented young people, this honor is bestowed annually upon one former student of an ASN school whose commitment to excellence is demonstrated through outstanding accomplishment in the areas of citizenship, arts and academics. The award will be presented at the annual ASN Conference, October 22-25, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla.
Levine has dedicated the past 15 years of her career to arts education, in addition to making strides as an accomplished writer. She is the founding dean of arts at California School of the Arts - San Gabriel Valley (CSArts-SGV), which opened in August 2017 through an effort by OCSA to offer its award-winning arts and academic programs to more students. In her role, she has overseen the establishment of 10 arts conservatories, built essential relationships in the Duarte and San Gabriel Valley communities, and laid organizational foundations that will serve the school for years to come.
Levine began teaching at OCSA in 2004 and soon became the co-director of the Creative Writing Conservatory. Recognized for her leadership, she was promoted to director of arts enrichment and program expansion, where she greatly expanded OCSA's summer community program, before directing her attention to opening future schools.
"OCSA changed my life at three different times, in three completely different ways," shared Levine. "As a freshman in high school, OCSA was the place where I could be authentically myself, take risks and discover a number of different passions. Just out of college, OCSA changed my life again when I was hired as a screenwriting teacher. I fell in love with the classroom and went back to school to receive my M.F.A. so that I would be able to devote my life to teaching my art. Then, when [OCSA Founder and Executive Director] Ralph Opacic trusted me with the enormous responsibility of opening OCSA's first sister school, CSArts-SGV, my life was completely turned upside down, once again. To have had a role in creating something that special, which is sure to impact thousands of kids for years to come, long after I'm gone, well, it makes me feel proud and humble at the same time, and exceptionally grateful."
In addition to her accomplishments in arts education, Levine is also a respected writer in the artist community, receiving degrees from the University of Southern California (B.F.A. in writing for screen and television) and University of California, Riverside (M.F.A. in creative writing and writing for the performing arts). She optioned a screenplay for TV's Hallmark Channel, and her writing has been a finalist in the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards and the Academy Nicholl Fellowships.
"Arts Schools Network is proud of all of our award recipients this year, and we look forward to recognizing their incredible achievement at our annual conference this fall," said Melissa Brookes, Managing Director of ASN.
Dedicated to excellence and leadership in arts education, ASN, a non-profit professional organization founded in 1981, is a dynamic resource for arts schools' leaders, innovative partners and members of arts education institutions. Its mission is to provide leaders in arts schools with quality resources, support, and networking opportunities. ASN has provided communications, programs, services, conferences and events to support these goals for more than 35 years. Visit the website at www.artsschoolsnetwork.org to learn more.