By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — She’s the daughter of one of the most famous comedians of his generation. Richard Pryor was a pioneer and now his daughter lives in Baltimore.

Rain Pryor is a devoted teacher and as Ron Matz reports, art fans have a chance to help her and her talented students Friday night.

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The students at the Connexions Academy for the Arts need your help. They hope to get some Friday night at a fundraiser at the Mark Cottman Gallery.

“The fundraiser is for the school Connexions. We’re trying to get money for them to produce the play ‘Gem of the Ocean’ by August Wilson,” said Mark Cottman, artist. “It was divine intervention. I created a painting of Richard Pryor and I asked my P.R. ladies to see if they could find Rain Pryor. Unbeknownst to me she lives in Baltimore and teaches at a school that’s in need. So we decided to have a fundraiser.”

“The school meant a lot to me. It gave me a chance to find out who I am as an artist. It exposed me to African drumming and different types of art that isn’t as appreciated as it should be,” said Diandree Dukes, Connexions Academy graduate.

Meet the students’ teacher — Rain Pryor, daughter of legendary comedian Richard Pryor.

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“We’re having a fundraiser tomorrow night to raise funds for Connexions Arts Academy. We’re trying to make it grow into an actual arts school. In order to do that, we need resources that we don’t have yet. It’s tomorrow night from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Mark Cottman Gallery. It’s a great way to support the kids,” said Rain Pryor. “We don’t have a dance floor, drums, a stage. We don’t even have a stage, all the stuff that you need. We’re trying to raise the funds, so the kids can have a great opportunity. Mark Cottman decided to host the event. Half of the proceeds will go to the kids at the school.”

“The fundraiser is extremely important. We have a limited number of resources. We are a city charter school, so we are a city public school. As a result, we have some budgetary issues as it pertains to the arts,” said Ernest Shaw, Head of Visual Performing Arts at the Connexions Academy for the Arts.

As part of Friday night’s fundraiser, Rain Pryor will deliver a monologue dedicated to her father.

“It gives me great inspiration to talk about my dad and his work. I look at some of these kids who are really funny and don’t even know they could be comedians if they want to. They could use that to become effective communicators. Humor is a great way to learn how to communicate,” said Pryor. “I cried when I saw Mark Cottman’s portrait. I miss my father so much. The pride I have to know how many people he touched all over the world by the work that he did. I’m going to a piece that I do in my show where I talk about what it was like growing up with him and what it was like trying to sneak out of the house, which is interesting when you have Richard Pryor as your father.”

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Friday night’s fundraiser at the Mark Cottman Gallery begins at 6 p.m. For ticket information, click here.