The Clarissa Creative Foundation was born out of our Founder’s strongly-held values of
achieving excellence, thinking positively, and giving back.
I am grateful for the gifts of art and music. I find joy and healing through music and painting; the arts serve as an emotional outlet and tool for self-discovery in my life. As an arts instructor, I have witnessed that same relationship between artistic development and personal growth in my students. Children grow in confidence and awareness when they dedicate themselves to artistic pursuits. Unfortunately, many families lack access and funding for this transformative education.
A few years ago, I met 2 young musicians who were refugees. They possessed the rare combination of incredible talent and exceptional discipline, but could not afford the instruction required to progress. After hearing them play, I took action by offering them lessons at a heavily discounted rate. We worked hard together and fed off each other’s enthusiasm during the process. They participated in California music teacher evaluations and received State Honors. Shortly after, their circumstances changed and they were able to devote more resources towards developing their talents. I was grateful to be there for them in the interim period.
Recently, I met another student who had studied piano for 6 years and had to quit due to financial circumstances. I taught this student for free with the understanding that he must work hard. He practiced for hours a day. At my recital, he played with determination and passion. I received more compliments from the audience for him than any other student! His performance was a highlight of my teaching career.
I have always believed in giving back. Our talents and abilities are not our own; they have come wired into our DNA for the purpose of sharing with and blessing others. The beauty of this world is that each person is given a unique set of strengths. I’ll share what knowledge I possess freely, and if you share what you possess, our community is enhanced. Everyone plays a different role in society. I have taken it upon myself to find those students who need access to high quality arts instruction. If I share my talents with them, and they turn around and uplift others, we become a better people and society. Being generous is a joy and a blessing; our lives become meaningful by what we give.
Joy can be cultivated, created, and shared.
Clarissa Lee Bio:
Clarissa Lee is an arts educator who has spent her life making the arts more accessible to her community. In high school, she was selected to send artwork to Moscow through Russia’s Heart-to-Heart Airlift. She won multiple awards in both the Scholastic Art Awards (including a Hallmark Award) and city-wide Art Olympics. She earned top ratings at the state music festivals and served as guest accompanist for school choirs. Early in her career she worked for the nonprofit organization Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS). She has championed the arts by serving as art and music docent for schools in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Diego. Clarissa has performed for the community as an accompanist and solo pianist, most notably at the National Day of Prayer in Los Angeles, the Steinway Gallery in Walnut Creek, Piedmont Piano in Oakland, the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, and solo shows for the Los Angeles Temple. Ms. Lee holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art, a Diploma in Piano Performance with Distinction from the Royal Schools of Music, and is a Master in Education (Visual Arts) candidate from University of Phoenix. She is a member of the Music Teachers Association of California and the National Arts Education Association. Her work was recently selected to be in the juried exhibition, “That Which Surrounds You,” at Arts Benicia.