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Art in the Afternoon

Santa Clarita Artists' Association host 19th annual Art Classic Gala at Hart Hall in Newhall

Posted: November 29, 2008 8:11 p.m.
Updated: November 30, 2008 4:55 a.m.

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It may have been cold and blustery outside, but inside Hart Hall in Newhall the warm glow of original art brought more than 350 guests to experience the Santa Clarita Artists' Association's 19th annual Art Classic Gala. More than 100 works of original art were on display representing more than 60 artists. Styles and subjects ranged widely and included realism, impressionism, abstract, plein air, figurative, landscape, wildlife and still life.

Sandy Fisher, president of the Artists' Association, said more than half of the 120 members of the Artists's Association submitted art for judging in the show. Winners of the judged art show were awarded Gold or Silver medals during an afternoon ceremony.

"The exhibit's 108 pieces on display encompass all types of media including watercolor, acrylic, oil, sculpture, photography, mixed media and graphics," Fisher said. "It's a wide variety and encompasses all levels of artistic achievement."

The event, the only fundraiser of the year for the Artists' Association, also featured more than 60 pieces of art in live and silent auctions. Guests enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and wine as they wandered through the exhibit, stopping to admire and comment on favored pieces of art or stopped to place bids in the silent art auction. Musical performances by RGB outside and Steve Gail inside the hall added to the afternoon's ambiance.

Guest emcees and auctioneers of the Art Classic were Carl Goldman, Jeri Seratti Goldman and Don and Cheri Fleming.

"We've been big supporters of arts in the Santa Clarita Valley for a long time and anything we can do to help is critical for us," Carl Goldman said. "We're fans of the arts and we'd like to see more support community-wide."

Goldman's wife, Jeri Seratti Goldman, began her presentation to the audience by asking several meaningful questions.

"Can you imagine beginning life without art? What would the Louvre be without the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci or the Sistine Chapel be without the marvelous frescos by Michelangelo on the ceiling? What would a trip be to Florence without seeing Donatello's famous sculptures? What would a trip to the Getty be without viewing Vincent van Gogh's ‘Irises?'" she asked. "Life without art would simply be unthinkable. Art inspires, enlightens and entertains. It sparks the intellect and awakens the senses. Art is a universal language that unites humanity by illustrating the common threads of experience."

Seratti Goldman also offered up several reasons why individuals should support groups like the Artists' Association.

"It feels good. Art has a personal and positive impact on individuals, it services emotions, sparks imagination, spurs the intellect and uncovers possibilities," she said. "Art touches lives for the better. The value of art goes beyond its beauty and the power to move individuals."

Seratti Goldman said research shows art fuels economic growth and contributes to jobs and advancing tourism.

"Art education helps kids succeed in school because it improves their ability to learn in other areas such as math and language skills while it also increases self esteem," she said. "Art brings people together bridging social and cultural differences and encouraging civic engagements. Add it all up and it is clear that art strengthens the community."

Cheri Fleming said she was very happy to be part of such a wonderful event and ticked off a list of Artists' Association activities which include exhibits, scholarships, outreach and art education.

"The main mission of the Artists' Association is to expose the community to culture by promoting the visual arts in Santa Clarita by placing exhibits of work throughout the SCV," Fleming said.

Among the places where Artists' Association exhibits are on view are the Canyon Theatre Guild, Tournament Players Club, Capelli Beauty Salon, Providence Holy Cross outpatient centers, Artistic Smiles Family Dentistry and Orthodontics, and Fine Faucets.

"Also the Artists' Association has collaborated with other nonprofits like the Santa Clarita Symphony and the SCV Theatre Project to increase the cultural offerings of their events by providing a visual art component," Fleming said. "The Artists' Association seeks to be a source of artistic education and awareness to residents by providing the opportunity to enjoy art by both passive and hands-on activities."

Among the other activities Fleming noted are the Artists' Association annual award of a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating senior from the William S. Hart Union School District or a college student in the SCV; the award of a savings bond to an elementary student in the SCV for the Providence Holy Cross Art of Healing contest; and participation in the Street Art Festival with a booth where the youth can have a hands on experience with the visual arts."

At the October festival more than 900 children produced a work of art in the style of Jackson Pollack to take home. The Artists' Association has also offered children attending the Amgen Bike Tour of California in Santa Clarita the chance to paint on canvas.

Other activities involve working with cancer patients, their families and caregivers and judging elementary schools' art contests.

"So as you can see they make Carl and Jeri and Don and Cheri look like we're sleeping all the time. They're very busy people," Fleming said.

Janet Recchia, who won a Gold and Silver award, during the event said she enjoyed being part of the show.
"It's really enlightening for me, and the community, to be exposed to an event like this," she said. "We have so many performing arts events, but so few visual arts events."

Recchia is an art teacher at Fair Oaks Elementary School and also teaches private art students.

"This is my passion, I'm an art teacher and illustrator and this is really a joy to me," she said. "I‘m really happy to be a part of this group. This is really a great group of artists, I love them all."

Fisher said she was thrilled with the turnout for the show, which she believes is the largest ever for the benefit gala.

"We're part of the community and to have people become aware that we do exist and that we do some wonderful things for the community is very exciting," she said.

Mayor Bob Kellar said he was impressed at the growth in the Art Classic event.

"I think this is a magnificent event and I'm so excited to see so many people that have come this year," he said. "The Art Classic is getting larger and larger every year and the art on display is wonderful. I had no idea that we had this kind of talent in Santa Clarita."

Don Fleming, who donated his time for the second consecutive year as auctioneer, said he echoed Kellar's appreciation of the quality of the art.

"I can't believe the quality of the art. We've got some talented people in this community," he said.

Among the many purchasers of art at the Art Classic were Angela and Jeremy Moser, owners of, who purchased the sculpture "Sheba." The white granite sculpture of a cat by Susanna Petrovit captured the Silver award for sculpture.

The couple said they purchased the sculpture because of their business and because they liked the work.
"I guess it just appealed to us," Angela Moser said. "We own a cat business."

"It's very high end with sleek lines and very simple," Jeremy Moser said. "We're a local community business and this is a local artist so we like that we can give back at the same time we can enjoy this in our home."

The nonprofit Artists' Association was founded by 10 artists in 1989. The organization's mission is to improve the cultural aspects of Santa Clarita by "Making Visual Art Visible," and providing opportunities for creative growth and expression to the SCV.

The Santa Clarita Artists' Association hosts monthly meetings at 7 p.m. on the third Monday (except for holidays) of each month at Westfield Town Center Mall Community Room, where a well-known guest artist demonstrates their methods and technique. For information about joining the Santa Clarita Artists Association contact membership chairperson Dianne Foderaro by e-mail: or visit


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