Liza Krassner's Story
Liza Krassner is a first-generation Filipino who came to California as a teenager and is currently an administrator at UCI’s Program in Public Health. She loves jazz. “It’s important to me. It is America’s original and greatest art form. It is diverse, unique, and encompasses almost everyone.” Liza also enjoys the dance arts, but especially the tango, which she dances socially whenever her time allows. “Jazz and tango are art forms built on improvisation”, she says, “It’s just like life – we have to constantly improvise.”
In 1997, Liza gave birth to a wonderful son who was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She later discovered that the tango had a tremendous impact on her understanding of the concept of connection through the movement of the dance. The discovery was truly healing, and this learned concept of non-verbal communication or “connection” with another individual on the dance floor was brought home to train her on being more in tune with her own son. This effect continues to be the driving force in her public service and philanthropic efforts in support of the arts in promoting inclusive communities. “Art is essential,” Liza says. “It educates and informs, teaches appreciation and empathy, promotes cultural understanding, and builds community.”
There is no doubt that the effect of the pandemic on the arts has been devastating. Liza’s thoughts are with the artists. “For many of us adjusting under quarantine, we continue to enjoy all the creative ways artists keep us entertained as they improvise in the way they deliver their art to us. They give back, and so should we.”
Public service for Liza centers around having an impact. Liza worked with the Irvine Barclay Theater through their ArtsReach program partnering with the Regional Center of Orange County in bringing in persons with developmental disabilities to enjoy a pre-show soundcheck with Grammy Nominee Dr. Bobby Rodriguez. After the event, she was approached by a parent who shared that she was a musician who gave up music altogether because her daughter who has autism could not tolerate her playing her instrument at home. “Thank you for the sensory-friendly theater performance for the attendees. It is healing to hear live music again,” she said. For Liza, this is impact. “Art heals,” she says, “one experience, one life at a time. And that matters to this caregiver.”
Liza received her B.A. in Psychology from UC Irvine and completed her Master in Public Administration at Cal State University at Long Beach. Liza currently serves as a member of the board of the Regional Center of Orange County, the Irvine Barclay Theater, and the Center Club of Costa Mesa. She is a regular volunteer and serves on the Advisory Board of KKJZ 88.1 FM, a public radio station broadcasting from Cal State Long Beach committed to the promotion of jazz. She currently lives in Irvine with her husband and oldest son. Her younger son is living in Washington, DC while in college, preparing for a life in public service.