Art for all

After a one-year hiatus, the National Arts Program returns to the Santa Maria library.

For people who have a creative streak but who haven’t pursued a career in the arts, there may be few opportunities to exhibit. That reality is what made the return of the National Arts Program to Santa Maria so exciting for city and school district employees. The program gives artists who wouldn’t ordinarily have the chance to get recognition a venue to display their work.
The National Arts Program is designed to give all artists, at all skill levels, an uninhibited opportunity to exhibit their work in a professional manner and to compete for $2,400 in cash prizes. The exhibition is open to all employees, volunteers, retirees, and their families from the city of Santa Maria and the Santa Maria Valley School Districts.
Sponsored by the National Arts Program Foundation—along with the Santa Maria Public Library and the Recreation and Parks Department—the exhibit was judged by Margaret Cooper and Marilyn Hoback Cronk, who considered works in five categories: amateur, intermediate, professional, youth, and teen.
In addition to the cash prizes, the National Arts Program—along with the Santa Maria Arts Council—provided matching scholarships for art classes/workshops.
Deborah Hildinger, library technician for the city’s public library, brought the program to Santa Maria. She was one of the judges for the program in Orlando, Fla., in 2005, and when she moved to Santa Maria, she hoped to bring the program here as well. She succeeded in 2010, and the program was a huge success. However, a tight budget the following year forced the city to withdraw from the program until 2012.
Autumn Jennings received best in show for her sculpture, titled Tubes. Alicia Lara received first place in the adult amateur category for her piece call The Rose. Anthony Armenta was given first place in the adult intermediate category for his piece, Alicia. In the adult professional category, Nancy Jo Ward received first place for her piece called Heather and the Technicolor Umbrella. In the youth 12 and under category, Rhiannon Kaye received first place for her piece called Fairy; Hunter Tasseff got first place for his piece For the Love of Wood in the teen 13-18 category.
The exhibition will be on display through Oct. 24 at the Santa Maria Library.
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