PBS SoCal KOCE Celebrated 45 Years with a Multi-Media Arts and Cultural Experience in Hollywood

Andrew Russell, President & CEO PBS SoCal and Pep Valdes event co-chair

Guests Enjoyed Arts Dance and Musical Performances Emblematic of Los Angeles – and PBS      

 LOS ANGELES, October 26, 2017 – PBS SoCal KOCE, the home to PBS for Greater Los Angeles and Southern California, celebrated its 45th Anniversary Saturday night at the Avalon in Hollywood. Nearly, 200 philanthropists, entertainers and celebrities including actor Jacqueline Bisset, actor and author Mathew Arkin, and writer Patricia Kellycame together for the event, where more than $600,000 was pledged to continue the organization’s educational and cultural initiatives across Southern California.

“Together we celebrate the legacy, and the original vision of PBS – to inspire, inform and entertain – which is as important today as it was in 1972 when KOCE was founded, and in 2011 when KOCE became PBS SoCal, and stepped into its new role as the primary station for the region,” said Andrew Russell, PBS SoCal President and CEO, who thanked and honored the dreamers, thinkers and creatives who make Southern California special. “We have advanced our important mission thanks to the tremendous support and generosity of our community. As we celebrate our history, we look forward to an exciting future in this dynamic community.”

A Multi-Media Experience

The PBS SoCal 45th Anniversary Celebration entertained guests with a dynamic multi-media arts and cultural experience that reflected the diversity and creativity of PBS and Southern California.

At the purple carpet, guests took photographs with L.A. illustrator and graffiti writer Jacori “Aiseborn” Perry as he painted a mural with the iconic PBS logo, surrounded by the artist’s signature abstract symmetrical design pattern that reflects the unique style and attitude of Los Angeles graffiti art.

Graffiti writer Jacori “Aiseborn” Perry and his mural

Inside, guests were treated to a program that combined live performance with images and video filling the thirteen massive screens placed around the historic stage and ballroom. Celebrities paired with Southern California performers took the delighted audience on a journey through three themes found at the heart of PBS: inspiration, truth and impact.

Rebecca Eaton, best known for introducing American audiences to popular PBS dramas such as Downton Abbey and Poldark, and executive producer of the PBS MASTERPIECE series, spoke about the inspiring power of beauty storytelling. Aerialist Dreya Weber, who recently designed and choreographed the aerials for Magic Mike Live and Cher Classic in Las Vegas, provided inspiration through a beautiful performance.

Rebecca Eaton, Executive Producer of PBS MASTERPIECE




Aerialist Dreya Weber

Matthew Arkin, critically acclaimed actor, author, and acting teacher, and Paul Navidad, an award-winning saxophonist, pianist, composer, and arranger, together reinforced the power of independent voices and the importance of truth – core elements to the PBS mission.

Matthew Arkin, actor, author
Paul Navidad, Saxophonist

And Erin Gruwell, a teacher, education activist, and the founder of the Freedom Writers Foundation, teamed up with opera singer Suzan Hanson, whose diverse operatic heroines range from Cio-Cio San in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly to the four heroines in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, to the Old Lady in Candide, to tell the story of the personal impact PBS has on the community touching and enhancing lives through its educational grassroots outreach and social impact initiatives.

Erin Gruwell, founder of the Freedom Writers Foundation
Opera singer Suzan Hanson

The festive night was capped off with dancing to the music of JT & Friends, a 45-member ensemble of horns, strings, woodwinds, keyboards, percussion and singers led by longtime PBS SoCal supporter John Tu.

The event sponsors included: co-chairs Pep & Renee Valdes, Marybelle and S. Paul Musco, Jenny Jones, Phillip N. and Mary A. Lyons, Jim and Kelly Mazzo, Vivian and James McCluney, L. Dennis and Susan R. Shapiro, John W. Carson Foundation, Snell & Wilmer and Bill O’Hare, Barry and Wendy Meyer, Southern California Edison, Steinmetz Foundation, Union Bank, and FivePoint.

PBS SoCal History

KOCE began its first broadcast on November 20, 1972 with episodes of The Electric Company and Sesame Street. Founded by the Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach, California, KOCE was a pioneering educational television station serving Orange County.  Over the years, KOCE expanded its content offerings and launched its PBS Ready to Learn service, which helps young children prepare for success in school.

In 2004, KOCE became an independent community licensee owned and operated by the KOCE-TV Foundation, and in 2011, KOCE became PBS SoCal and the new flagship PBS station for Greater Los Angeles and Southern California, expanding its service into Santa Barbara and Palm Springs.

Today, PBS SoCal KOCE is the most-watched public television station in Southern California and counts on the support of its 90,000 members. PBS SoCal content is available free through four broadcast channels, at pbssocal.org, on our mobile apps, and via connected TV services. The organization continues to provide the community with early education resources and cultural and educational experiences through partnerships, events, and grassroots outreach. PBS SoCal has offices and broadcast operations in Century City, Costa Mesa and Los Angeles. Connect with us at pbssocal.org, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Media Contact:  Tracy Smith

tsmith@pbssocal.org 310.237.4517