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Laurene Weste: Painting the town: Public art in the SCV

Posted: February 21, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 21, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Residents who spend time out and about in Santa Clarita are bound to come across local art. From outdoor pieces like the iconic California Bear Project to indoor galleries featuring art created by local students, Santa Clarita’s art showcases our community’s own unique identity in an imaginative way.

Local art is flourishing in Santa Clarita. Currently, our city is home to seven different venues that showcase rotating galleries of local art pieces. Each gallery highlights a different artist and medium, helping encourage residents to find what speaks to them personally.

One of the city’s longest-standing supporters for art is the Westfield Valencia Town Center, which is home to three of the city’s art spaces.

Town Center houses several rotating art installations each year. The Town Center Art Space, located adjacent to Sisley Restaurant, was the first public gallery space to be designated at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.

Now through May 16, the space is home to “Fantasy Frenzy” by artist Steph Darling. This whimsical free exhibit includes light-hearted art pieces and paintings that explore words and the images they produce.

Town Center is also home to the Community Wall, which displays art created by talented and artistic Santa Clarita students. Now through May 15, the space features a DFYIT Art Project Exhibit created by junior high and high school students who are members of the inspirational Drug Free Youth in Town movement.

Adjacent to the Community Wall is a space formerly known as “Small Spaces, Big Stories,” which is being reimagined into a fresh, new exhibit focusing on trees. Stay tuned for more as the gallery takes root.

The Santa Clarita Public Library is also a big part of the city’s art program, and each local branch is currently home to a different display. Now through April 14, the Canyon Country branch library is home to a unique exhibit called “The Seasoned Artist.”

Curated by local artist Lorelle Miller, this gallery showcases work by several local seniors and will evolve week after week as the featured artists work on producing beautiful paintings in a variety of media.

The gallery is an inspiration for visitors and represents the zest for learning and expression at every age.

From Feb. 22 through March 5, residents can also stop by the Valencia branch library to see another free, inspirational exhibit called the “Souls of Hope” project. Created by local photographer and Santa Clarita Arts

Commissioner Gary Choppe’, the exhibition honors the local Bridge to Home shelter and includes a selection of images of shelter clients in an effort to give insight into their lives and encourage support from the community.

The Old Town Newhall branch library is home to a display of several different art disciplines with a gallery called “Creative Mediums: Explorations in Oil, Watercolor and Acrylic.” The free exhibit will be available through June 10.

Santa Clarita youth can also create art to be displayed within the library by attending ARTree events at the Old Town Newhall branch library on the first and second Friday of each month.

Further down Main Street, Santa Clarita residents can experience the impact of art on the senses with Art Slam, featured as part of the city’s popular Thursdays @ Newhall series.

This interactive public art offering will transform Main Street into a free, themed open-air gallery on the first Thursday of every month from March through October. Art Slam kicks off on March 6 with a gallery celebrating

Women’s History Month through live art creation, photo shoots, music and more created solely by local female artists.

Of course, residents can still view public art at the place that started it all: the First Floor Gallery at City Hall. Now through May 15, the space is home to “Shadows,” a unique exhibit that explores the role of light and shade in art through photography, painting and more.

Art enhances our enjoyment of life, and we have plenty of free opportunities to view it around Santa Clarita from our local and talented art community. To learn more about free art exhibits around town, or to submit your own idea for consideration, visit

Mayor Laurene Weste is a Santa Clarita City Council member and can be reached at:



Carlitos: Posted: February 21, 2014 4:44 a.m.

Waste of the taxpayer resources. This person has lost contact with reality. Art is not in the top ten issues on VOTERS minds.
1. High property taxes in the City.
2. Crime
3. Brush fires.
4. Stop building expensive unneeded libraries.
5. Stop wasting money making roads pretty, then doing it again because it sucked.
6. Sodium chloride.
7. Let Cemex mine operate now.
8. No more bike races blocking traffic.
9. Leave Newhall alone, no more roundabouts.
10. Politicians with conflicts of interest: sun sets in the Weste! --edited.

ricketzz: Posted: February 21, 2014 6:11 a.m.

You can't force art and when we are half an hour from a dozen killer museums you can't compete, either. This is a bedroom community with a couple or three small colleges and a couple industrial parks; we are not Santa Fe, nor Scottsdale nor Palm Springs. We are the city around Wally World.

philellis: Posted: February 21, 2014 8:02 a.m.

I didn't know more libraries wee being built. A visit to the Newhall library shows that it is quite full - obviously, there is a need that is being fulfilled. Why do you want to see Cemex operating now? Have you no concern for our health?

lars1: Posted: February 21, 2014 8:08 a.m.

The "art projects" and unnecessary and out of place landscaping are both grandmother tchotchkes, knickknack items that elderly grandmothers keep around their houses. That is all they can come up with!

The city has SERIOUS ISSUES and needs competent people running the show.
Billboards, Chloride Tax Increase, Increasing taxes, Traffic and lack of signal timing, deteriorating roads, getting good paying jobs, keeping small business running, accountable and open city, crime etc are not important. --edited.

EgbertSouse4U: Posted: February 21, 2014 8:19 a.m.

Gee.... thanks for selling us out on the chloride tax scam, Weste. We are going to kick you to the curb in the next election like we did to Ender. Why don't you stop with all the smoke and mirrors already.

17trillion: Posted: February 21, 2014 8:34 a.m.

"Women’s History Month"

I want to throw up! When do I get my own month?

technologist: Posted: February 21, 2014 9:37 a.m.

Women's History Month sanctions gender bias.

CaptGene: Posted: February 21, 2014 10:25 a.m.

Just curious, will The Mighty Signal give equal status to the people running against Weste? To be fair, TMS should now afford Acosta, Harte, Ferdman and the rest the same exposure they have given candidate Weste and publish their opinions in the columnist section.

therightstuff: Posted: February 21, 2014 12:30 p.m.

Women's History Month? How insensitive to those in California who are trying to decide which shower to use. You hateful bigots!

Carlitos: Posted: February 21, 2014 1:21 p.m.

Weste should decorate the assisted living home in Fantasyland.

philellis: Posted: February 21, 2014 2:11 p.m.

Women's History Month? How insensitive to those in California who are trying to decide which shower to use. You hateful bigots!

TRS, don't wory, with the drought, showers may soon be outlawed. Hopefully, instead, we'll be given odd/even days or, heaven forbid, M/F days.

chefgirl358: Posted: February 21, 2014 3:05 p.m.

Is she drunk? SCV is a cultural wasteland. There is really a very limited selection of artwork in this area, and there is certainly NOTHING in the culinary world, not only are there no decent medium - high end restaurants (there isn't enough interest here from the community to support one - Melisse restaurant tried and failed) there is also nothing in the realm of professional culinary classes (Sur La Table or a culinary school - COC doesn't count) or a decent restaurant supply store anywhere in the vicinity. Thankfully we have beautiful museums all over the place 30 minutes away in any given direction (ok maybe not East), but none of those things are here, which is fine, but I wish she and others on the council would quit trying to make SCV something it isn't or making bs claims as to what offerings the city has. Ventura has lots of great art, Ojai is an actual artist's community, Pasadena has beautiful museums - lots of them, and of course West LA, Santa Barbara has several types, Carpinteria has a small but really lovely museum, both Getty centers...I could go on and on, there are tons of museums of all different types in surrounding cities and counties, but the closest thing we have here to anything cool is William Hart's house or the Adobe house in Tesoro Del Valle. But there is certainly NOTHING that comes to my mind that correlates any type of ART with SCV. I think the closest thing to art in SCV is Color Me Mine or Build A Bear.

For the record, I'm a woman and I think it's LUDICROUS to have a "women's history month." I've never seen Men's history month! I can see having the different cultures (Black history month, Hispanic history month, American history, etc.) but to break it down by Gender??? Um, no. That's just lame.

philellis: Posted: February 21, 2014 4:08 p.m.

Well, I guess if you are going to dismiss the only culinary school, then you can say that there is no culinary school. But I have no idea why you would want to be so dismissive. BTW, COC also has changing art displays. And, if you think that our community is deficient in ART, why to you seem so against improving it?

chefgirl358: Posted: February 21, 2014 7:56 p.m.

COC offers a daytime only program and classes that are weeks or months long. There are many places such as Sur La Table that offer one night classes or small schools like Let's Get Cooking in Westlake Village or some in Pasadena, that offer a variety of programs and classes, day and night. I could name a jillion others all over the place (Ventura, Ojai, Hollywood, Burbank, Culver City, etc)

I'm not against improving art, I am just skeptical that the people who make those decisions (Bouquet Bug, roundabout art proposals) have the ability to actually improve anything. If they hired someone from an actual museum or highly respected art institute, I'd have a lot more faith in their endeavors. It just seems like the city leaders here want to make this community into total poseurs, like themselves. --edited.

ricketzz: Posted: February 22, 2014 5:18 a.m.

Now that we have landscaped the medians with 5 kinds of plants there is a drought. Brilliant.

cms96: Posted: February 23, 2014 3:38 p.m.

I Think the artwork thru-out the city has been a brilliant idea!
With the city ignoring the traffic congestion, and lack of proper infrastructure for the growth of the city it has given me and my children opportunity to view the artwork while waiting in traffic or for our hour
trip across town!

lars1: Posted: February 24, 2014 5:00 p.m.

The quality of dining, arts and entertainment here is pathetic. Just because something is here does not mean it is good. One case not representative of shopping local for quality.

The art projects around the city are subjective and are very inferior.
Bugs, and the proposed worm and bug zapper are not quality, and not representative of something long lasting. Just Junk.
I do like the design of the Bridgeport shopping center, Very taseful.

The Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center well..... low quality!
You can see lady Smith someone, Glen Miller Orchestra (He died 70 years ago)
Willie Nelson and Hal Holbrook.
These may appeal to the elderly grandmothers, but not many else.

When the biggest food opens are a New Wings Place, New Pizza Place, and a Sizzler.....well?

cms96: Posted: February 24, 2014 8:33 p.m.

Perhaps their idea of art is sitting in a park with a cooler full of beer listening to 70's cover bands?

ricketzz: Posted: February 25, 2014 5:35 a.m.

cms96 brings up a good point. A city wishing to promote indigenous art would not hire cover bands.

EgbertSouse4U: Posted: February 26, 2014 8:06 a.m.


michael: Posted: February 26, 2014 9:52 a.m.

Bye bye Ms. Waste. You well soon have time to clean up the mess on your property. Just call Waste management and they will send you more containers.

ricketzz: Posted: March 23, 2014 6:39 a.m.

We need a wall where spray paint is legal.

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