Artists paint their world in Santa Clarita’s Art Classic

Judges, Matt McKim, center, and Anette Power view the dozens of pieces of art on display during the Santa Clarita Artists Association's 32nd Annual Art Classic event held at Valencia Mercedes-Benz on Saturday, Nov. 6. Dan Watson/The Signal
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By Jose Herrera 

Signal Staff Writer 

Art is a powerful medium to express emotions or ideas through a non-communicative way, but without viewers there is no message to receive and no emotions to stir. However, the return of the Santa Clarita Artists Association’s Art Classic was an opportunity for residents to explore a plethora of worlds. 

The SCAA hosted its 32nd  Art Classic recently at the Valencia Mercedes-Benz dealership and organizers featured approximately 80 art submissions across eight different categories. SCAA featured light refreshments, music entertainment and a raffle that will benefit the SCAA high school scholarship fund. 

“Overall, it’s just good for individuals to be able to express themselves in different ways,” SCAA chair Nancy Gallardo said. “Visual arts is one of the biggest ones, and we are so lucky that we have the city of Santa Clarita, the Arts Commission and everybody that really helps our organization.” 

Attendees view dozens of pieces of art inducing sculptures, photography, paintings and mixed media which were on display during the Santa Clarita Artists Association’s 32nd Annual Art Classic event held at Valencia Mercedes-Benz on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

The SCAA was founded in 1987. The organization was small, but has grown with more than 120 active members. According to Gallardo, the purpose of the SCAA is to promote art in Santa Clarita. 

They have community outreach programs and the programs offer educational, family-friendly and free events to the general public. SCAA assists its members in making their art visible by encouraging artists to participate in the many exhibit opportunities they offer in the community. 

Gallardo said they were excited to host the in-person Art Classic after organizing 90 pieces and nine divisions through Zoom last year. Although it was hard work and there were minor glitches, she said last year’s event was successful, but nothing compares to appreciating art in person. 

“It’s the camaraderie,” Gallardo said. “All of us artists, we support each other and everybody thrives off of that camaraderie.” 

She said SCAA was thankful for Mercedes-Benz of Valencia for its generosity in offering the facility for free to use, as it was challenging at times trying to find a location to host the Art Classic. 

Attendee Kat Kombrinck views the raffle prizes on display during the Santa Clarita Artists Association’s 32nd Annual Art Classic event held at the Valencia Mercedes-Benz on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste came to support and appreciate the work of local artists. She also presented SCAA a certificate for its work in promoting art in the valley. 

“We have some incredible talent,” Weste said. “It’s tremendous to see the growth in talent every year.” 

Weste also applauded SCAA’s high school scholarship as it supports the dreams of local high school students and their dreams of becoming artists.  

Many awards were given out by SCAA as well as by the city of Santa Clarita. Artist Gary Friedman received awards for Best of Show. Gallardo received the SCAA 2021 Service Award and Meressa Naftulin received the Richard Huff Memorial Award for service, dedication and friendship to SCAA members. 

The Gary Friedman Trio entertain during the Santa Clarita Artists Association’s 32nd Annual Art Classic event held at Valencia Mercedes Benz on Saturday, Nov. 6. Dan Watson/The Signal

Anette Power and Matt McKim, artists and professionals in the industry, judged the 80 art submissions based on structure, composition, color and other criteria.  

“I’m very honored and pleased, but there was also a little bit of pain that I felt because I didn’t think it was good enough,” Friedman said.  

Friedman was critical of his art and pointed out some structural concerns with his “Dawn’s Early Light.” But, ultimately, he said he was pleased as five different people concurred with his inner feelings about his art. 

“It’s a complete imagination painting,” Friedman said. “I like skies. I like seas. I like dramatic landscapes. I let the watercolor speak for itself, but I’m designing all the way and thinking about the principles of art.”  

Here’s a list of artists who placed first, second and third in their divisions: 

Best of Show

“Dawn’s Early Light” by Gary Friedman. 

In the Acrylic Division: 

First: “Blackbird Fly” by Bob Hernandez. 

Second: “Moonstone Beach” by Jose Barba. 

Third: “Breakthrough” by Debra Zednick. 

In the Dry Media Division: 

First: “Launch” by Mardi Georgio. 

Second: “Snowfall” by Mike Farrell. 

Third: “Wildflowers in the Meadow” by Debra Zednick. 

In the Mixed Media Division: 

First: “Birdsong” by Gloria Cassidy. 

Second: “Chumash Storyteller” by Kenneth Lubas. 

Third: “Beauty in Chaos” by Zony Gordon. 

In the Photograph Division: 

First: “Dragonfly” by Jason Lubas. 

Second: “Busy Bee” by Nancy Gallardo. 

Third: “Olvera Street Guitar” by Scott Parker. 

In the Oil Division: 

First: “Follow the Dotted Line” by Margaret Raab. 

Second: “Rooted in Time” by Sandy Fisher. 

Third: “Morning at Vasquez Rocks” by Meressa Naftulin. 

In the Sculpture Division: 

First: “Tiny” by Chrystal (Ckay) Walker. 

Second: “Golden Oak/Copper River” by Nadya Littlewarrior. 

Third: “Basket Case” by Barbara Eisenman. 

In the Watercolor Division: 

First: “Jam Jars 1” by Patty Haft. 

Second: “Lisa’s Turtle” by Qiana Tarlow. 

Third: “River Rocks” by Charlotte Mullich. 

In the Masters Division: 

First: “Old Town Newhall” by Laura Wambsgans. 

Second: “Shelter from the Cold” by Gary Freidman. 

Third: “Dreams” by Jane Mick. 

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