Celebrating art in Santa Clarita

Santa Clarita City Hall is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. File Photo

By Ken Striplin, City Manager

Whether you are at your neighborhood library, City Hall or Westfield Valencia Town Center – you will no doubt notice the interesting, thought-provoking and beautiful art pieces that are on display. The City of Santa Clarita manages seven art galleries throughout the City. These rotating exhibits host a wide range of art pieces in a variety of mediums.  

Here at City Hall, some of the creative exhibits we have enjoyed included an 80s theme display complete with pop-art and even a Pac Man arcade game. Currently, the walls of City Hall are literally blanketed in quilts from the Santa Clarita Valley Quilt Guild’s exhibit “Quilts for All.” However, the most unique exhibit has to be the one featuring a variety of pieces under the theme of “Red.” For several months we had a display from a CalArts student that involved a trough of Flaming Hot Cheetos. 

With all of these unique pieces, you may be wondering “How do we select exhibit themes and the pieces that go within them?” That creatively challenging and inspiring task falls to our arts and events team. They use several different methods to select the topics and curate the pieces for the exhibits. Some themes are inspired by visits to other exhibitions, while encounters in everyday life may serve as the inspiration for other thematic ideas for shows. Artists will also approach staff with ideas, or the staff will approach artists about presenting a solo show featuring their intriguing subject matter.

Most of the time, the City will develop a Call to Artists based on a theme, and ask regional artists to submit work that they believe fits the subject. The art selection committee will review all of the submissions and select art for each exhibit based on a variety of criteria. To give the audience a glimpse into the diversity of creativity, staff looks for pieces in a variety of mediums. While the quality of art is a deciding factor, the selection panel also likes to pick pieces from less-experienced artists to provide these individuals with an opportunity to exhibit with seasoned artists.

To see the results of this process, I would like to invite the community to come and check out the newest exhibit at The MAIN in Old Town Newhall. “Three Projects: Small, Medium, and Large,” will be on display beginning on Oct. 15, and an exhibit reception will be held on SENSES night, which is Thursday, Oct. 17, from 7-10 p.m.

This photography exhibit features the work of Santa Clarita resident Ted Dayton. His vision for his art is to make photographs in ways that have never been seen before. The display is broken into three projects. Dayton describes the small project as intimate. He calls it “Old Friends,” a group of whimsical photos of old, very old and extremely old cameras. The medium group is called “The Jilted Brides of Heritage Valley” and is a collection of portraits of orange trees. The final project, “Rooftops,” turned out to be mostly a set of broad landscape photographs of much larger areas, showcasing views of housing developments in the Santa Clarita Valley, taken from ridges and mountaintops. 

I encourage all residents to enjoy the art created in and displayed in our City. For a full list of galleries, as well as where you can discover public art pieces, please visit SantaClaritaArts.com.

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