October 14, 2019

Fresh Focus 2015 at Leica L.A.


The Fourth Annual “Fresh Focus Photography Auction Fundraiser” was a big winner for City Hearts: Kids Say Yes to the Arts.


Fresh Focus 2015 at Leica L.A.

Participants look over the many types of color and B/W photographs available for auction at the Leica Gallery in West Hollywood to benefit City Hearts.

City Hearts: Kids Say Yes to the Arts held its Fourth Annual Fresh Focus Photography Auction fundraiser on Sunday, November 1, at the Leica Gallery in West Hollywood.

The event was truly stunning. The Gallery space is exquisite and showed off the many photographs donated by some of the most well-known gallery photographers, members of the prestigious American Society of Cinematographers, as well as long-time City Hearts friends and supporters including actor Jeff Bridges, City Hearts teachers Brian Nieman and Raul Vega and Topanga’s own cinematograher James Chressanthis, artist Robin Becker, local photographer Katie Dalsemer, and artist Felice Willat.

A highlight of the event was the exhibit new and old friends saw as they entered Leica, 20 images by City Hearts photography students.


Fresh Focus 2015 at Leica L.A.

Some of the young photography students at the show were from schools in Compton and traveled by bus to enjoy this exceptional experience.

Fifteen of those young photography students were from elementary and middle schools in Compton who travelled by bus to enjoy this exceptional experience.

Professional photographers Alex Elena, Andy Romanoff, Helen K. Garber, Van Styles and Kim Gottlieb-Walter arrived early to share their thoughts on photography and sign autographs for the students. It was a heartwarming experience to see City Hearts students bloom amid the praise of their talent and success.

Among noted guests were Alfre Woodard and her husband, Roderick Spencer. Invited by a key photo donor, Stefani Kong Uhler (who donated never-before-seen shots of Marlon Brando and legendary Vietnamese children from the movie, Apocalypse Now), Woodard and Spencer expressed interest in becoming more involved with City Hearts in the future. Topangan Jonathan Cake, a member of The Royal Shakespeare Company and actor in many projects including “Desperate Housewives,” with Woodard in the cast as well, caught the attention of nearly 200 attendees as he spoke about what City Hearts means to him and his experiences as a judge for the annual “Shakespeare Challenge.”

Very special Topanga ladies, Elaine Hanson, Jane Hoover, Kirsti Iredell, Karla Morrison, and Marsha Maus, volunteered at the bar, and brought the Topanga feel to the West Hollywood experience.


Fresh Focus 2015 at Leica L.A.

Topanga Nutcracker alumni are (l-r) Amelia Lampard, Esme Lee, Lily Hamilton and Nina Lowry.

“While our Hearts will always be in Topanga”, said event Chair, Pauline Rogers, “we must reach out and grow our event…and we hope Topanga supporters will grow with us. Being at Leica brings more attention from throughout the city, the country and the world. This is the best way to strengthen our organization which allows us to touch the lives of more and more needy children.”

There was more Topanga presence, too, with the help of Junior Board President, Amelia Lampard and her crew, Lily Hamiliton, Esme Lee and Nina Lowry, all members of the City Hearts Junior Board (who will also be seen in December starring in the 35th Annual Topanga Nutcracker Ballet). City Hearts Executive Director, Jane Donaldson, urged everyone to bid on the photographs and to help City Hearts grow.

“Leica was so pleased with the event, they’ve already invited us back for next year,” Donaldson told the crowd in attendance. “For those of you who couldn’t make it into town this year, please join us in October 2016—Same Place, Better Time.”

From everyone at City Hearts, we all want you to know: “We couldn’t do this without YOU!!!!”


Join City Hearts at an Open House on December 4, 4-6 p.m. to learn more about City Hearts and its exceptional work transforming the lives of the most impoverished children in the Southern California area. Friends, old and new, are welcome to come and see what we are about.

City Hearts office is located at 120 S. Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Pine Tree Circle, Suite 204, Topanga CA 90290. For more information: www.cityhearts.org; (310) 455-2898.