Beginning in 2009 The ARTree was founded by local artist Bob Hernandez, the organization focuses on bringing art, both its creation and appreciation, into the community of Santa Clarita.
“We want everyone involved with The ARTree to have a personal stake in the visual and performing arts,” said Hernandez. This “community-integrated” art is what Bob Hernandez wanted to achieve with this community-based arts education organization.
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The ARTree is not a tree, but it grows. The ARTree has grown as a non-profit organization that brings a variety of art education programs to young people in Santa Clarita and to adults who participate in its events around the city.
One of the organization’s earliest projects provided an example of this vision when it became a reality, especially for residents driving through Old Town Newhall. The Ever-Changing Wall appeared on the wall of an auto-repair shop along Railroad Avenue between 8th and 9th Streets.
Kids from The Newhall Community Center and The Boys and Girls Club became models for the photographic images, and worked alongside ARTree volunteers and members from the community to erect this impressive art piece.
This is one of five murals that The ARTree has had a hand in creating throughout the valley. And while that mural has been taken down, The Ever-Changing Wall, as its title suggests, is morphing into a new mural that the organization is actively planning.
“We are very close to achieving our contribution goal for the wall to return,” said Hernandez, “and it will be sturdier and will stay up longer than the first one.”
Murals are just one on the projects that The ARTree uses to bring art to the community. Participation in the city’s monthly SENSES on Main Street event the newly created Art Slam on Main Street, the Literacy and Arts Festival, and Part of the strategy for The ARTree’s growth is working with other community organizations and expanding what it can offer to young people.
The newest offering is a class in video production. Organized by board member Dianne Foderaro, the 6-week class will create a video documentary on an aspect of life in Santa Clarita that the 6 participating students selected.
Participants learn not just about art, but about working together, trusting their individual instincts, and learning that creativity is not only in everyone, but emerges in many different ways.
If one child leaves an ARTree program with a greater sense of self and more confidence in their own abilities, then, the organization will have achieved its mission.
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