RESULTS OF "Wish Upon a Star"

One of the first of many far-reaching benefits of last year's "Wish Upon a Star" arrived at ECA this week as students in Studio 70 finally gained access to a water cooler!  This generous donation by the grandfather of Theatre Dept. student Rebecca Brewer will be a welcome relief to hard-working students in movement classes for years to come!

PACE's 1st annual "Wish Upon A Star" Benefit Dinner

on June 6th was an enormous success! 

PACE's 1st Annual 'Wish Upon A Star' Benefit Dinner was held in New Haven Center Church's newly renovated Pratt Hall  and featured honored guest Emcee Jocelyn Maminta of WTNH Channel 8.  City of New Haven Mayor Toni Harp spoke as special guest and New Haven’s Director of Arts, Culture and Tourism Andrew Wolf attended to support ECA's mission.

Highlights of the evening included student and faculty performances, speeches by ECA Director Jason Hiruo and ECA Alumni President Raymond Arnold, and a live and silent auction featuring tickets to Carnegie Hall, memberships to the Bruce Museum, a gourmet dinner prepared by New Haven's chef Jake Koski, and many more popular items.

The list of 'Wish Upon A Star' supporters includes: Carnegie Hall, The Bruce Museum, The Bushnell, Shubert Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, and all of the ECA parents who attended in support of the exceptional Arts Education their children receive at ECA!



Funds raised at 'Wish Upon A Star' will directly support the ECA Departments, the Guest Artist Network, the ECA Global Fund and the design of a new course: Technical Production and Design.

Please read Mayor Toni Harp's speech in support of ECA below as well as Director Jason Hiruo's words of gratitude to supporters and passion for ECA's mission!

For more information on sponsorship levels, to donate to ECA through PACE, to read more details about the 'Wish Upon A Star' Benefit Dinner, or to join PACE, visit the PACE website.

100% of your tax deductible contributions go to ECA because PACE and 'Wish Upon A Star' are entirely run by volunteers.

Read about the success of the 'Wish Upon a Star' Benefit Dinner in the New Haven Independent by clicking the following link:


New Haven Independent Celebrates PACE 'Wish Upon A Star' Benefit









Mayor Toni Harp's speech:

Good evening everybody! I’m so excited to be among all of you for this festive occasion! Not only are we together for this gala event, we are united in our appreciation for the Educational Center for the Arts!

I’m grateful to have been invited here tonight – I appreciate the opportunity to share a few thoughts about ECA. It has an amazing faculty and staff, they prompt incredible creativity in their students, and that is reflected in dazzling displays of art.

I read something just recently about how the creative process generates the same benefit to our brain that aerobic exercise does for our bodies. ECA can be considered New Haven’s fitness center for the minds of these young artists!

As a part of the New Haven community, ECA is one of the many great outlets in the city where artists can express themselves and display their talent and abilities. Only good things have come from this program – I am confident many more will.

Beyond that, I believe ECA embodies the vitally important role New Haven plays in our region. This city is the economic, educational, transportation, and yes – cultural hub for literally hundreds of thousands of area residents.

As just one example of this, next week the city will host the 20th annual edition of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. And year ‘round, people come into New Haven for art shows, live music, theatrical productions, special events. 

ECA plays that role for students from nearly 25 percent of Connecticut’s cities and towns. Think how that helps perpetuate New Haven’s place in the arts world!

Just think how that makes New Haven an incubator for creative energy and collaborative talent. My friends, ECA is a window into the future of Connecticut’s cultural hub. We must support ECA. We must keep its windows and doors open to the potential of all those students from all those cities and towns who want to be creative here.

I’m grateful to all of you here tonight for your support of this school. At the same time, going forward, I encourage you to do all you can to continue making this school the wonderful, nurturing, creative place it has been and will be. New Haven is so fortunate to be the home of ECA.

Thank you very much.

Director Jason Hiruo's Speech:

Thank you all for coming this evening. It is incredible to see the people gathered in this room to support ECA, to support our students, to support our teachers. There is no greater vehicle for a school’s progress than its stakeholders coming together.

First, I want to extend our special thanks to New Haven’s Center Church and Mr. Luis Pagan for Pratt Hall and all of your contributions. I want to thank PACE and Beatrix Roeller for your time, your energy, and your spirit. Your support continues to be amazing. I want to thank the efforts of the 'Wish Upon A Star' Benefit committee, its volunteers, and the ECA department chairs for their support.

Tonight we are focused on celebrating the worth and value in ECA and its students’ pursuit of the arts. Tonight we recognize the impact that ECA has on our children and our communities in the region – 27 of them to be exact. We celebrate the impact that ECA has on the individual, because ECA welcomes students to an opportunity to create, to express themselves, to accept individuality, and to be accepted.

In its simplest form, ECA is unique as we help develop student confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. We believe strongly that the arts aren't somehow just an additional part of our life, but instead we feel that the arts are at the core of our life. We help to develop innovators for our world, and to see this in progress within each school day is a tremendous reward for the ECA staff.  I know this is true for you as parents and community members.

At ECA, the Arts isn’t just what you do, it’s who you are. We embrace students as artists and creative thinkers, and as individuals that make a difference. It is through our music, our writing and literature, our paintings and sculptures, our monologues, our voices, and our dance that we tell the story of our past and our passions, and at the same time we express our hopes for the future. Artists challenge our thinking and perspectives in ways that many cannot. They expand our understandings, and push us to view our world in new and unexpected ways - in ways that build new life and new meanings.

Because we can do this at ECA, we see great success and growth in our students. We will continue to become the model for excellence in the arts and we will get there with your support and commitment to learning.

Tonight, as you sit with your friends, family and colleagues, remember why we are here. We are here to continue the growth of our school and our students. ECA students now and to come have a place in our world, in our museums, our stages, our concert halls, our lecture halls and libraries. We want them to experience the richness of arts programs, and beyond. Our students have a future in the arts community, in the arts world-- whether it's as a hobby, or a profession, or as an appreciative observer….or as an innovator relying on their creative skills to solve world problems.


It is important for us to remember that both individually and collectively, we all have a stake in the arts, every single one of us.

SO, I thank you again very much for coming out this evening.

PACE Parents for Arts Centered Education