Help sent from angels above

Angels for the Arts at Saddleback is a fundraising and support organization for the Performing and Visual Arts at Saddleback College. (Saddleback College)

Angels for the Arts at Saddleback is a fundraising and support organization for the Performing and Visual Arts at Saddleback College. (Saddleback College)

Raised in a small town in Northern California, Amos Alexander Burns got involved in film production in middle school. Making a few short films in high school, Burns got his first job as a camera operator for an action sports company called Velocity Video and also interned with Golden Leaf Pictures.

“After a few years I decided it was time to get serious about film production,” Burns said. “I heard great things about Saddleback College’s CTVR program so I moved down to Mission Viejo about four and a half years ago. Going from a slow paced small town to the crazy busyness of Orange County is still quite a bit of a culture shock.”

His experience with the CTVR program “changed his life” and the “down-to-earth approach of the program was refreshing.” He tried learning everything he could and chose the Angels for the Arts scholarship because he was constantly giving it his all in the arts. That dedication both inside and out definitely shined and he was selected to receive the scholarship.

Angels for the Arts at Saddleback College is a fundraising and support organization for the Division of Fine Arts and Media Technology where members donate their time and continue to provide scholarships to deserving students helping further their pursuit in their field of arts.

“I was granted a scholarship of $1000 last year,” Edmund Cleofe said. “They were really great. I turned in an application of why I feel I should receive a scholarship and it’s been really helpful in paying things such as headshots and casting fees.”

Not just for actors, this program helps those studying in the fields of cinema/radio/TV, dance, music, photography, speech, theater and visual arts. They have also given the scholarship to those focused on journalism as it ties so closely to whom they help.

“Angels for the Arts is a friend and fundraising entity here on here on campus that works though the campus for the college,” said David Anderson, director of audience development and liaison for Angels for the Arts. “We’ve helped raise funds to support students and student scholarships as well as a whole bunch of faculty grants which support students. A lot of the faculty grants go towards scholarships and they also go to help sponsor students.”

Angels for the Arts winners range from journalism students to speech students, helping tremendously. They also brought nine life-sized bears on campus outside the library each representing a different culture or ethnicity. Joy Aldrich and Aileen May, members of Angels for The Arts , created these bears representing Persian, Native American, African, European, Mexican, Asian, Pacific Islander and South American Cultures.


Maria Mayenzet’s career has spanned over 25 years working in regional theater, film and television. She was nominated in 2009 by Saddleback College for Associate Faculty of the Year and is currently full-time in the Cinema, Television and Radio Department. She sees Angels for the Arts as “the best way to give back to young artists” through scholarships and grants to all the departments in the Division of Fine Arts and Media Technology.

Other board members also include Nina Welch who has been the Fine Arts Public Information’s Officer for eight years and has been on the Angels board for that same length of time. Welch is thrilled to be a part of the Angels having the opportunity to offer her expertise in publicity and marketing to get the word out on Angles for the Arts.

“I have been involved with the Angels for eight years as a staff member and have recently been appointed as a board member as well,” Welch said. “I’ve seen the board start with supporting the arts through children’s summer series, master classes with professional artists, hospitality for guest artists and raising funds for student scholarships to help enhance the student scholarship program to a higher amount of recipients and from $500 to $1000.”

To be eligible for the scholarship applicants must have never been a recipient of the award in previous years, they must show evidence of at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and must be currently enrolled in at least six units here on Saddleback campus. When applying applicants are scored on GPA, questions on the application, financial need, involvement in their department, an essay, early bird submission points and now they can also include faculty recommendations.

“It’s professors like Maria Mayenzet, Charlie Myers, Hiro Konishi, Kiku Terasaki, and Nils Taylors that really make our film department one of the best around,” Burns said. “This program taught me many valuable life lessons like the show must go on and always cover your ass.”

Burns never thought he would even go to college but because of what he had learned at Saddleback, he has gotten to do things like work as a paid director, assistant director, camera operator and editor. Thanks to the Angels for the Arts scholarship and professors here at Saddleback in the CTVR department he is able to truly follow his passions and “will never forget his experience here at Saddleback.”