Saturday’s inaugural Arts on the Hill event at the Palos Verdes Art Center gathered an array of wildly creative artists. They showed off their myriad media to delight and educate local children – and the adults they tote along with them.
With art funds in some public schools declining, the center is going out of its way to make sure art continues to flourish – and that the supplies necessary to create remain accessible to kids.
Los Angeles County is a bit of an anomaly to much of the rest of the country, with an economy heavily reliant on artists and creative content, said Gail Phinney, Education Director for the Palos Verde Art Center, said she’s here to teach kids to flourish in that word.
“Here in L.A., there are so many opportunities to engage in the arts,” she said. “We have an obligation to feed that economy.”
Art demonstrations at Saturday’s event included glass-blowing, portrait and landscape painting, mixed media, jewelry and pottery wheels.
Michael Hajek brought his two boys to the event. Younger son Tate was able to create his own child, a green and blue pet rock he painted, and named Billy, his first big responsibility as a 12-year-old.
When Tate was asked if he considered himself an artist, he skirted around the question until his brother, Cole, 16, blurted out: “That’s a yes.”
This captured an invaluable lesson floating around the art center Saturday – kids don’t have to get paid or be well-known to be considered creative. They should be proud to be artists of any kind.
Hajek applauded the message behind the event and all the work and expense that went into Saturday’s exhibition. “The supplies being provided here are not inexpensive,” Hajek said. “It’s also good because it provides visibility for this facility.”
Tate, who wants to be an animator when he gets older, said he takes advantage of his down-time to hone his skills. “I’ve tried painting and sculpting,” the 7th grader said. “But I like pencils and markers more.”
Among, the presenters, public artist “Jer33” admits that he started illegally tagging buildings in L.A. when he was 15 years old. But now he creates art legally with Clean Up The Streets Crew, an art program based out of San Pedro.
“(The kids) rock pretty awesome art,” he said. “It’s a skill and we want to put it to good use.”