“It gives me a safe place to express my feelings. The art room gave me a safe place to express my talent,” Robert Branton, thirteen-year-old member of the Boys and Girls Club of Kern County told 23ABC.
Branton started coming to the Boys and Girls Club when he was three. Ten years later, he painted a landscape on canvas that features a Corvette replica of one that belonged to his grandfather. He said he never expected to paint a canvas like it “in his whole life.”
“He died before i was born...It reminds me of him and keeps a part of him in my life,” Branton said.
Zane Smith, the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Kern County, says he has seen this kind of impact of the club’s art classes over and over again.
“Experiencing art and participating in art is an alternative way of learning...To express notions they come across, news and all kinds of items that stimulate their psyche,” Smith said. “The other part of this is that they’re able to invest in their own programs. When a child says to me, ‘I paid for that easel because my painting sold,’ at ‘Art Fest’ or “Farm to Table(aux),’ there’s nothing more worthwhile.”
At their fifth annual Farm to Table(aux) auction kicking off Wednesday, funds raised will pour back into the club locally, especially the studio, “to buy art supplies, gym supplies and other things. It also helps some of the members get scholarships, so they can also come here for free,” Branton told 23ABC.
Plus, the club’s live art show, where art literally comes to life, will take place as the finale to the two-week virtual event on October 9 at 6:30 p-m. The kids at the club and hired talent will dress up and pose in scenes of American illustrator Norman Rockwell’s “Saturday Evening Post” newspaper sketches for attendees at home.
“Our event has always had an element of glitz and glamour to it. Under the circumstances with COVID-19 and the way things are changing, we’re clinging to family. We’re clinging to one another in acts of support, acts of philanthropy and acts of encouragement,” Smith said. “In this case, Norman Rockwell represents that family and elements of life and lifestyle.”
So far, 700 people have signed up for the free show coming up on October 9, but VIPs that pay $2500 dollars will even get food from Borda Petite Catering delivered to their door for an at-home watch party that can feed about eight people and can be served at room temperature. You can register here.