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Arts Umbrella continues to spark the minds of youth

Paul Moniz De Sa began with Arts Umbrella as a child taking classes after his father died, now he's its artistic director. 'It gave me the courage to move on to become a professional actor in film and theatre,' he says.

Founded in 1979, organization now offers classes to 20,000 across Metro Vancouver

Paul Moniz De Sa describes his continued dedication to the organization he took lessons from 5:37

Back in 1979, a group of Vancouver parents took on a brand new project as they felt the city lacked a central place where their children could be introduced to all forms of art in a gentle, encouraging way. 

That's how the non-profit Arts Umbrella organization was born.

Decades later the Granville Island centre is still known for its ability to spark young minds.

Now Arts Umbrella offers outreach classes all over the Lower Mainland — some for free — to encourage every child to try it and perhaps grab onto a hobby or realize a life goal that changes their path.

That's what happened to Paul Moniz De Sa who grew up in a large immigrant family and was the only one who showed a love of the arts and ended up taking classes after his father died.

"It gave me the courage to move on to become a professional actor in film and theatre," De Sa said.


Now Moniz De Sa is the artistic and musical director for the organization and has his son enrolled in the program.

Three out of five Arts Umbrella students need help to access the arts and funds raised at its annual Splash Gala event supports Arts Umbrella programs that reach more than 20,000 young people each year.

CBC is a sponsor of the event — an evening of student performances and an art auction featuring works from close to 100 prominent B.C. artists.

De Sa says for him it's a celebration of the arts community, so it's not just the people buying art but for the artists as well. 

Splash takes place Nov. 3, 2016 and you can view this year's art auction online.