Artists Association kicks off 2024 with locally focused exhibit 

Attendees gather during the reception of the Keep It Local: 661 Art Show held at Santa Clarita Artist's Association in Newhall on Saturday, 012024. Dan Watson/The Signal
Attendees gather during the reception of the Keep It Local: 661 Art Show held at Santa Clarita Artist's Association in Newhall on Saturday, 012024. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The Santa Clarita Artists Association kickstarted its series of exhibits for the year with an homage to the 661 local area and its surroundings on Saturday night at the SCAA’s 6th Street Gallery in Old Town Newhall.  

Fifteen local artists and their paintings, ranging from scenic views of the Placerita Canyon State Park, to California Poppies and Main Street, were among the collective of artworks featured at the 661 Local art show. The theme, 661 Local, embraced the unique and special culture of the Santa Clarita Valley and Old Town Newhall.  

SCAA Gallery Chair Toby Beck and cochair Qiana Tarlow teamed up to revitalize the gallery with fresh new themes and to build community partnerships in the local area. Both Beck and Tarlow, fairly new members to the association, wanted to be of service behind the scenes and worked for hours to bring the lineup to fruition. When creating the series of exhibits for 2024 the duo wanted to diversify the show so that it caters to everyone and “ingraining ourselves to the Old Town Newhall community,” said Beck.  

“We just had a blast,” said Tarlow. “I think we make a really good team.”  

The art gallery had freshly painted walls and new lights installed to give the environment a new look.  

For the opening reception, local businesses provided artisan foods and musical entertainment.   

Co-Chairs Qiana Tarlow, center, and Tobi Beck examine some of the twenty three pieces of art on display from thirteen local artists during the reception of the Keep It Local: 661 Art Show held at Santa Clarita Artist's Association in Newhall on Saturday, 012024.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Co-Chairs Qiana Tarlow, center, and Tobi Beck examine some of the twenty three pieces of art on display from thirteen local artists during the reception of the Keep It Local: 661 Art Show held at Santa Clarita Artist’s Association in Newhall on Saturday, 012024. Dan Watson/The Signal

“We’re making this an arts district and a destination,” said Larry McClements, manager of the Old Town Newhall and Canyon Country farmers markets. “I love that they took a local approach to the food tonight. All our food is either made locally or grown locally within the state of California so we are a good fit with what they’re trying to do.”  

Attendees had the chance to speak to the artists and ask them about their inspiration and creative approach to their featured works.  

SCAA President Meressa Naftulin was also a featured artist, with three of her artworks displayed among the others at the gallery. Her works were created using watercolor paints, and her recurring theme was the nature surrounding the Santa Clarita Valley.  

Growing up she was a child who really wanted crayons, she said. All throughout her life art has been something that “gives me a lot of peace of mind,” said Naftulin.  

Naftulin has been a part of the association for years and with the new approach created by both Beck and Tarlow she said she’s excited for what’s to come.  

“We want more people in Santa Clarita to come to the receptions because I think there will be more creative things that will be here for them to enjoy,” said Naftulin.  

Local band "Kel'isa" entertains during the reception of the Keep It Local: 661 Art Show held at Santa Clarita Artist's Association in Newhall on Saturday, 012024.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Local band “Kel’isa” entertains during the reception of the Keep It Local: 661 Art Show held at Santa Clarita Artist’s Association in Newhall on Saturday, 012024. Dan Watson/The Signal

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