Impressionist to speak on arts education

CLU event also features salsa dancing, drumming

Keynote speaker Jim Meskimen is a comedian, actor, impressionist, artist, arts educator and arts advocate.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Oct. 11, 2013) A keynote speech by a celebrity impressionist and breakout sessions featuring salsa dancing, drumming and Japanese ink painting will be part of a California Lutheran University symposium designed to improve access to arts education.

The 2013 Arts and Learning Symposium: Conversations, Connections, Critical Thinking will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, in CLU’s Lundring Events Center. This is the fourth year that CLU’s Graduate School of Education has provided the free hands-on training to educators for using art, dance, drama and music to teach a variety of subjects.

The event, which is partially sponsored by CLU’s Susan Greiser Price Arts Integration Program, will kick off All About the Arts Week at the university.

Keynote speaker Jim Meskimen is a comedian, actor, impressionist, artist, arts educator and arts advocate. This summer he received a standing ovation for his impressions at Radio City Music Hall as a semi-finalist on “America’s Got Talent.” His video “Shakespeare in Celebrity Voices” topped 750,000 views in 2011, and subsequent impressions videos have cemented him as a major YouTube talent.

JibJab showcased his impressions of political figures in the 2004 election in animated cartoons that also became Internet hits. The Australian “Today” show dubbed him “The World’s Greatest Impressionist.”

Meskimen’s many credits include films “Apollo 13,” “The Grinch” and “Frost/Nixon” and TV shows “Friends,” “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and “Rules of Engagement.” The son of actress Marion Ross, he had a thriving career in the ‘80s and ‘90s as a man-on-the-street interviewer for improvised TV and radio campaigns for products such as bank cards, coffee makers and grocery stores that won several major advertising awards.

Meskimen and others will lead interactive sessions in visual art, dance, theater and music. Presenters include salsa dancer Alina Canal, sumi-e painter Tomi Ito Levin, Carnegie Art Museum Curator of Education Martha Jimenez, CLU associate professor of education and Project ACT Director Michael McCambridge, drummer Jennifer Merlich, The Acting Center Director Tamra Meskimen and musician James Swing.

Participants will develop action plans during round-table discussions and leave with a variety of tools and ideas that they can use in their classrooms. The program will also feature a continental breakfast, lunch, a student art show and performances by students from Santa Susana and Thousand Oaks high schools.

Registration is requested by Oct. 25. To RSVP, go to For more information, contact Maureen Lorimer at or 805-493-3836.