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Laurene Weste: Painting the town: Public art in the SCV

Posted: February 21, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 21, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Residents who spend time out and about in Santa Clarita are bound to come across local art. From outdoor pieces like the iconic California Bear Project to indoor galleries featuring art created by local students, Santa Clarita’s art showcases our community’s own unique identity in an imaginative way.

Local art is flourishing in Santa Clarita. Currently, our city is home to seven different venues that showcase rotating galleries of local art pieces. Each gallery highlights a different artist and medium, helping encourage residents to find what speaks to them personally.

One of the city’s longest-standing supporters for art is the Westfield Valencia Town Center, which is home to three of the city’s art spaces.

Town Center houses several rotating art installations each year. The Town Center Art Space, located adjacent to Sisley Restaurant, was the first public gallery space to be designated at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.

Now through May 16, the space is home to “Fantasy Frenzy” by artist Steph Darling. This whimsical free exhibit includes light-hearted art pieces and paintings that explore words and the images they produce.

Town Center is also home to the Community Wall, which displays art created by talented and artistic Santa Clarita students. Now through May 15, the space features a DFYIT Art Project Exhibit created by junior high and high school students who are members of the inspirational Drug Free Youth in Town movement.

Adjacent to the Community Wall is a space formerly known as “Small Spaces, Big Stories,” which is being reimagined into a fresh, new exhibit focusing on trees. Stay tuned for more as the gallery takes root.

The Santa Clarita Public Library is also a big part of the city’s art program, and each local branch is currently home to a different display. Now through April 14, the Canyon Country branch library is home to a unique exhibit called “The Seasoned Artist.”

Curated by local artist Lorelle Miller, this gallery showcases work by several local seniors and will evolve week after week as the featured artists work on producing beautiful paintings in a variety of media.

The gallery is an inspiration for visitors and represents the zest for learning and expression at every age.

From Feb. 22 through March 5, residents can also stop by the Valencia branch library to see another free, inspirational exhibit called the “Souls of Hope” project. Created by local photographer and Santa Clarita Arts

Commissioner Gary Choppe’, the exhibition honors the local Bridge to Home shelter and includes a selection of images of shelter clients in an effort to give insight into their lives and encourage support from the community.

The Old Town Newhall branch library is home to a display of several different art disciplines with a gallery called “Creative Mediums: Explorations in Oil, Watercolor and Acrylic.” The free exhibit will be available through June 10.

Santa Clarita youth can also create art to be displayed within the library by attending ARTree events at the Old Town Newhall branch library on the first and second Friday of each month.

Further down Main Street, Santa Clarita residents can experience the impact of art on the senses with Art Slam, featured as part of the city’s popular Thursdays @ Newhall series.

This interactive public art offering will transform Main Street into a free, themed open-air gallery on the first Thursday of every month from March through October. Art Slam kicks off on March 6 with a gallery celebrating

Women’s History Month through live art creation, photo shoots, music and more created solely by local female artists.

Of course, residents can still view public art at the place that started it all: the First Floor Gallery at City Hall. Now through May 15, the space is home to “Shadows,” a unique exhibit that explores the role of light and shade in art through photography, painting and more.

Art enhances our enjoyment of life, and we have plenty of free opportunities to view it around Santa Clarita from our local and talented art community. To learn more about free art exhibits around town, or to submit your own idea for consideration, visit

Mayor Laurene Weste is a Santa Clarita City Council member and can be reached at: [email protected]



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