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September 2, 2014 > Collaborative efforts provide art workshops

Collaborative efforts provide art workshops

Submitted By Gail Blalock, President Olive Hyde Art Guild

In 2011, the Olive Hyde Art Guild Board of Directors wanted to reach out to an underserved segment of the community with respect to art instruction classes. With the help of an ARTSFUND Grant from the Alameda County Arts Commission, the Guild worked with Fremont Recreation staff and devised a plan to offer a 13-week painting class to developmentally disabled adult clients of Serra Center. Serra Center is a non-profit agency providing housing, services, and compassionate care to adult individuals with developmental disabilities living in Fremont and other locations around the Bay Area.

Since the first year with nine students, the program has grown to 22 students completing the workshop this year. A second grant from the Alameda County ARTSFUND Program helped fund another year of classes, and funds provided by the Niles Rotary Foundation made it possible to frame the studentsÕ work.

The Serra Center Art Workshop has been taught by City of Fremont Art Instructor Haroon Ansary, who commented that his involvement with the students has been an eye opening experience. Ansary said, ÒI have never been in the presence of such truth, humility, kindness and loveÉ the students are extremely self-motivated, enthusiastic and incredibly brave.Ó The participants love learning from Ansary, as evidenced by increasing enrollment in each of the four years.

This year the studentsÕ art work will be included in the ÒHidden Treasures/Local TalentÓ exhibit in the Olive Hyde Art Gallery on display September 12 through October 11. A public reception in honor of all the exhibitÕs artists will be held at the Gallery from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. on Friday, September 12.

The success of this program has truly been a collaborative effort of the Olive Hyde Art Guild, the City of Fremont, Serra Center, the Alameda County Arts Commission, and the Niles Rotary Foundation. Working together, these groups have inspired and unleashed a new love for the visual arts in our community.

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