Saturday, February 23, 2019     Volume: 19, Issue: 51

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on July 11th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 19 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 19

An evening of art: VTC artists pull big crowds as they hold their annual art show in Orcutt

By Rebecca Rose

Rebecca* is eager to show visitors at CORE Winery in Orcutt her works of art.

Two of her pieces hang on the walls of the tasting room, which at the moment is crowded to near capacity. As she gets word that one of her paintings has sold, she reacts with joy and shock.

"I've sold two pictures tonight," she says, pointing to the wall. "I really love it. I can't believe it. I'm really happy about it"

Rebecca proudly shows off one of the works of art she sold during Vocational Training Center’s (VTC) stART Art Show, which runs through July 31 at CORE Winery.

Rebecca's work was part of the annual stART Art Show, featuring artists from Vocational Training Center (VTC). The center offers a free monthly art class for adults with developmental disabilities spearheaded by the Ian M. Hassett Foundation available September through May.

At the opening reception on June 30 at CORE, Rebecca and other participants in the program celebrated with friends and family and watched as attendees snapped up their artwork. In an interview with the Sun, Rebecca, who also participated in the art program in 2017, talked about why the art classes are so important to her.

"I like working with groups," she explained. "I like it because they work with me."

She was especially excited about selling a painting of a hand, which was her favorite of the artwork she submitted. Rebecca said she got the idea for her paintings by watching another artist in the class demonstrate how to do the technique. 

"They talked about it," she said. "She showed us a picture and she said, 'Let's do it; try it.' And I did it."

CORE Winery hosted an opening reception for artists with VTC’s free art classes for adults with disabilities. The work will stay on display through July 31.

Tori had two paintings and a cereal bowl she made from clay in the show. As she wound her way through the large crowd inside CORE, it was hard for her to get a moment alone. Tori was greeted by friends and well-wishers, all of them eager to congratulate her on her work.

At the VTC art classes, one of the aims is to introduce new materials and methods to the artists as they continue from year to year. This was the first time many of the students such as Tori had used clay.

"I made it from the clay," Tori said. "It was hard. It was a block of clay and it was not easy, pounding it."

In addition to the clay bowl, she also created a painting with a collage of a flower made from tissue paper. While she was happy her work sold, Tori said it was also a little hard to part with her art. 

Artists at VTC can take free monthly classes to learn new skills and techniques in the arts. The program offers lessons in acrylic, collage, mask-making, clay work, and much more.

Jason also completed paintings and a bowl for the show. Jason said that for his painting he used several different colors and painted the background black. He said he also especially enjoyed working in clay. 

"We did different acrylic painting, and we finally did some clay," Jason said. "It was the first time I worked with clay. ... I liked when I was throwing it on the table to get it soft."

Jason, who plans to attend the program next year, said the classes calm him down and give him more focus. He said he wants to learn how to do different kinds of art and styles next year.

Stefanie Hassett, the Hassett Foundation's finance director, said she was proud of the artists' growth in their confidence.

Only a few of the artists from the previous class expressed an interest in selling their art last year, she said. This year, however, almost all of them wanted to put their work up for sale. Many of the artists who returned to the program are also evolving in their skills and interests, expressing a desire to learn more and do more.

"We're doing something right," Hassett said. "It's working. The time we're putting into going over different mediums and techniques and artists is working. It's sinking in."

Rebecca and Tori said that while it was sometimes hard to learn the new skills, once they practiced for a while, it got easier. Tori was eager to learn more next year, and Rebecca was focused on selling more of her artwork.

Community art show
The artists of VTC annual stART Art Show continues at CORE Winery through July 31. CORE is located at 105 W. Clark Ave., Orcutt. More info: (805) 937-1600.

As for the huge turnout, Hassett said she was shocked to see the big crowd at the reception, which included local dignitaries such as 4th District County Supervisor Peter Adam. 

"I'm so glad that people are excited about the program," Hassett said. "They see the good that it's doing and reaching out to this aspect of our community that sometimes gets forgotten."

* Last names have been withheld to maintain participants' privacy.

Arts and Lifestyle Writer Rebecca Rose also likes throwing things she works with. Contact her at

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