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Art Classic XX draws crowd

Art in all of its visual forms is celebrated at event held at Hart Hall

Posted: October 28, 2009 8:44 p.m.
Updated: October 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Artists who captured gold or silver awards for their art pose for a group photo with Laurie Morgan (second from right, front row) president of the Santa Clarita Artists' Association.

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Inspiration filled the warm autumn air recently when the Santa Clarita Artists’ Association held its 20th annual Art Classic Gala at Hart Hall in Newhall.

More than 300 guests were in attendance to peruse the visual art on display and enjoy an afternoon amidst a sea of creativity.

The gallery boasted more than 100 works of original art representing more than 60 members of the association.

The artwork encompassed a wide range of subjects and styles including impressionism, realism, plein air, figurative, landscape, abstract, wildlife and still life.

The selection of art mediums included watercolor, acrylic, oil, sculpture, photography, mixed media and graphics and allowed guests the chance to explore the big picture of local art, one piece at a time.

Laurie Morgan, president of the Artists’ Association, said that the event brought community members together who help make the association’s mission a reality.

“So many people here today have helped us make visual art more visible to the community,” said Morgan. “It is the reason we are here and continue to get stronger with each passing year.”

Morgan was not the only member who noticed an increase in support during the afternoon affair.

“People’s awareness of our local art is just getting better and better,” said association member Jane Mick. “It is so great to be a part of the association and watch as it grows. This is our way of getting feedback from fellow artists and community members. Because of this (event), we are able to improve ourselves and learn from each other in a lot of important ways.”

Feedback was given in the form of the Classics’ annual art competition, which awarded gold and silver medals to winners in various art categories.

Guests also had a chance to vote for their favorite artwork for the People’s Choice Award given annually to the artist who receives the most ballots for an individual piece of work.  

Member Robert Petrovit said he appreciates that people are given the chance to discover their own appreciation for the artwork on display.

“I do what I like to do and this event lets me admire other artists and what they produce,” said Petrovit. “Everyone is given the opportunity to experience the art here and it’s a wonderful thing to see, both in what is being presented all around as well as people’s response to it.”

Guests wandered through the hall’s patio doors to join friends and fellow members at tables underneath a sun-lit awning.

Wafting through the light afternoon breeze were the smooth sounds of the RGB Jazz Trio. The sultry rhythms added to the relaxed atmosphere as guests sipped fine wine and nibbled at a tasty selection of hors d’oeuvres.

Among those who attended was Dianne Van Hook, chancellor of College of the Canyons.

“This event is extremely important, not only to who we are as a city, but also on an individual and personal level,” said Van Hook. “When people engage in art, they are able to remove pre-conceived notions about what they can do. They are free to interpret the world differently and get away from structure. When undergoing a project that is art related, people are given the opportunity to look at what is possible, not just what’s next.”

Councilwoman Marsha McLean said the Santa Clarita City Council has long supported the arts.

“We see art as diverse as the people in our community and we support the value it has on our lives,” she said.

McLean was one of the key players in the City Council’s recent addition of an arts commission, organized with the role to advise the Council and staff members on local matters of the arts.

The commission will work to promote, support and develop arts and culture for the benefit of the community.

Morgan said she hopes the commission will help perk people’s ears to the importance of building a foundation of art for years to come.

“I am so happy to be a part of this world of art that is being created all around us,” said Morgan. “Now with the help of the commission, we can work together to keep striving toward our goals.”

But the Classic is only one way that the Artists’ Association rallies to create opportunities to view art.

Visual art is on exhibit throughout the Santa Clarita Valley in venues such as the Canyon Theatre Guild, Capelli Beauty Salon, Artistic Smiles Family Dentistry and Orthodontics, Tournament Players Club and Providence Holy Cross outpatient centers, among others.

One piece of visual art was created during the fundraiser to be presented to Providence Holy Cross.

Another unique activity during the Art Classic allowed guests to discover the artist inside by drawing his or her own creations onto small squares on a poster board. The interactive piece of art resulted in an overall quilt-like effect.

“We know that getting people involved in art is just one more way to get excited by it,” said member, Peggy Patti.

The Artists’ Association hosts a number of programs during the year to benefit the SCV. Among the programs are various youth awards.

An annual scholarship of $1,000 is awarded to a graduating senior from the William S. Hart Union School District or a college student in the SCV.

In addition, the Association also conducts the Providence Holy Cross Art of Healing contest and awards a savings bond to an elementary school student in the SCV.

Youth are also given a chance to participate in the Newhall Street Art Festival with a special booth set up for children to engage in hands-on experiences with the visual arts.

Among many pieces of interest at the Art Classic was the sculpture “Journey” created by member, Idelle Okman Tyzbir.

Incorporating the elements of wood, metal, glass and copper into a fluid spectacle of twists and turns, Tyzbir explained the artistic process that made her piece one of genuine interest among attendees.

“Life has many twists and turns and reminds us to go with the flow,” said Tyzbir. “One element glides into another and that’s part of what makes art and life so wonderful. That’s exactly why I called it ‘Journey.’”

Co-chairs of the event were Shirley Checkos, winner of the People’s Choice Award and Zony Gordon.

The nonprofit association was founded by 10 artists in 1989 with the mission to improve the cultural aspects of Santa Clarita by “Making Visual Art Visible.”

The organization continues to support creative growth and self-expression through a range of efforts to incorporate artistic opportunities into the community.

Guest Jim Mcdevitt had his own perceptions of what makes art a priceless part of life.

“I always enjoy coming to this event and seeing the wide variety of talent on display,” said Mcdevitt. “I get a special thrill when I look into the colors, structures and stories that represent life. It triggers a feeling inside that I can’t describe, but I don’t think I’m supposed to be able to. I think I’m just supposed to feel it and I feel fortunate that I do.”

For more information about the Santa Clarita Artists’ Association visit


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