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Art by Association

Making visual art visible. This is what inspires the Santa Clarita Artists’ Association. SCAA is a long- standing arts organization in Santa Clarita (established in 1989), whose mission is to “promote art in the Santa Clarita Valley by making visu- al art visible.” Their efforts include community outreach to provide free arts education and access to the public, including monthly demon- strations, ongoing art exhibits, and a scholarship program for art students, and special arts events.

One of the organization’s most recent community outreach programs com- bined the talents of the SCAA and The ARTree in the creation of a mural for the garden shed at the Santa Clarita Community Gardens, located in Central Park on Bouquet Canyon Road. SCAA cooperates with other arts organizations and agencies in the SCV, like the City of Santa Clarita Arts Commission, 661Arts, The ARTree, and associa- tions and guilds focused on spe- cific art forms (photography, quilt- ing, etc.). Alma Juarez of ARTree designed the logo and led the effort with SCAA member Laurie Finkelstein. With the help of a crew of talented volunteers (including Cheri Marcovitch, Patty O’Hearn, Sue Prout, Lorlinda Osborne, Idelle and Erin Tyzbir, Emma Barnett, and Nicole Meyer “and her entou- rage from Starbucks”), the shed was

transformed from a bland, beige structure to a dynamic and beautiful work of art.

It’s obvious that Community Gardens participants appreciate what it’s added to their space. “It’s beautiful, really amazing,” says Keith Robison of Castaic. “They had a tiny picture and from that they hand-sketched it [the mural art] on the shed and it just came to life.”

Claire Self, a founding member of the Community Gardens, and Cindy Allen, who just began working her plot in January of this year, echoed Keith’s reaction. Self, who is the volunteer coordinator who manages garden space, pointed out that the cooperative effort fits well with the SC Community Gardens’ philoso- phy of mutuality. “We’re a commu- nity here. Everyone helps and sup- ports everyone else.” This is also the spirit of Santa Clarita Artists’ Association.

SCAA was established as a 501(c)3 non-profit by local artists who want- ed to “share their expertise, knowl- edge, and enthusiasm for art.” SCAA members—from beginners and ama- teur artists, to established profession- als—seek to support, encourage, and enrich fellow artists’ skills, opportu- nities, and career development. One of the key ways they accomplish this is by awarding an annual scholar- ship to an aspiring high school or art student.

The organization’s signature event, The Annual Art Classic, helps sup- port the scholarship program, and also serves other purposes. Laurie Morgan, 2011 Art Classic co-chair- person (with Shirley Checkos and

26 Santa Clarita Living Magazine December 2011 Newhall - Valencia 26 Santa Clarita Living Magazine December 2011 Newhall - Valencia

By De Jenkins

Patricia Thayer) explained that the event is a fundraiser, but it is also “a time for our members to show their best work, which is judged by profes- sionals. Plus, it’s a part of our com- munity outreach program, providing a ‘free day of art’ for local residents to see and enjoy our artwork.”

An early holiday gift Fundraising is a challenge for most non-profit organizations in Santa Clarita these days. Funding stood in the way of SCAA maintaining a gallery in Newhall. They’ve com- pensated by seeking other ongoing exhibit spaces, but it’s not the same as having a visible gallery. Morgan pointed out that the Newhall space was nice, but was not in a good foot-traffic location. Following our interview, SCAA announced that they had received “an early holi- day gift” from Westfield Valencia Town Center.

SCAA President,

Zony Gordon, let the public know about a new gallery space at 125 Town Center Drive (next to The Pottery

Barn). SCAA Co-Chairs

Sandy Fisher and Diane Bruckner were named to coordinate the gal- lery, a space where SCAA and other well-known artists can exhibit and/ or demonstrate their art techniques. The public is invited to a free grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony, art show and reception scheduled for December 12 from 4:00-8:00 pm. At that event, the “Spirit of the Arts” award will be presented to Westfield Valencia Town Center in recognition of its support of the visual arts.

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