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Art exhibit goes metal

Local artist sculpts using recycled objects

Posted: January 13, 2009 9:14 p.m.
Updated: January 14, 2009 8:30 a.m.

Sylmar residents Kascandra and Brandon Watson view Westfield's first public art exhibit, "Torched Whimsical Welding," Tuesday. The exhibit features brightly colored metal sculptures created by Diane Foderaro.

A girl on roller blades with wild, swinging blonde braids and a short red skirt caught the eyes of shoppers who couldn't help but notice the skater's scrap-metal composition as they entered the Westfield Valencia Town Center on Tuesday.

Westfield officials recently unveiled their first public art exhibit, "Torched Whimsical Welding," featuring local artist Diane Foderaro and her award-winning sculpture "The Roller Derby Queen."

The city of Santa Clarita is sponsoring the exhibit, which showcases five of Foderaro's brightly colored metal sculptures titled "Mermaid," "Sugar Plum," "The Roller Derby Queen," "Bird Lady" and "Molly."

Westfield officials set aside a 20-by-20 foot "Town Center Art Space" near the main entrance to display the works of local artists, said Jeff Barber, city arts and events supervisor.

Officials will change the art displays every three months, he said.

Westfield partnered with the city's Arts and Events Office to give local artists a creative outlet, said Theone Miller, Westfield marketing director.

"We hope the community will come out and take a look at the different displays," she said. "It gives them an opportunity to see what people in the area are doing."

Foderaro's sculptures are on display because of her involvement with the Santa Clarita Artists Association, she said.

"The Roller Derby Queen" took best of show at the artists association's fund raising event, Art Classic, on Nov. 8.

"We thought displaying her sculptures would be a great way to kick off the art exhibit," Barber said. "They're very colorful and imaginative."

Foderaro, a first-grade teacher at Plum Canyon Elementary School, creates her sculptures out of discarded metal in her free time.

"Several years ago, I decided to explore my desire to sculpt," Foderaro said on "I now have a great passion for metal and the way fire allows it to merge into new shapes. I love breathing new life into discarded metal objects ... I often combine old pieces with new ones."

Foderaro gets her ideas from her surroundings.

"One simple metal item will stimulate the image of a new character, and it is really exciting to see that new ‘person' emerge from a pile of metal pieces," she said.

Foderaro created "Queen" after a trip to a swap meet, where she found a pair of beat-up children's roller blades.

"I knew the moment I saw them they'd become a sculpture eventually." she said.
Foderaro shares her art with her 20 students.

"We do lots of painting. Children absolutely love to paint," she said. "Also, I'm teaching lots of music. My kids are really excited about learning jazz, and we're doing lots of rhythmic dance during our P.E. time. You can really create that way, so you get lots of exercise as well as enjoy music and movement."

She also wants to promote art in the community.

"Life would be better if everyone took a little time to develop their creativity because it really develops the whole person," Foderaro said.

Miller agrees.

"(Art is) vital to people's lives; whether they enjoy creating it, sharing it, talking about it," he said. "It sort of creates a meeting point for everyone."

Foderaro wants people to walk away from her exhibit inspired and contemplative.

"I hope my pieces make people smile," she said. "The little bit of time that I've been at the exhibit I see people talking with one another, sort of scratching their heads and smiling. Art should help to stimulate creativity in others ... "

Westfield will display Foderaro's sculptures until they unveil the next art exhibit March 8.
"Our mission is to promote and support arts programs to benefit the citizens," Barber said.


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