BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — “It gives me a safe place to express my feelings. The art room gave me a safe place to express my talent,” said Robert Branton.
Branton, 13, never expected to paint a canvas like this “in his whole life.” He started coming to the Boys and Girls Club when he was three. Ten years later he painted a corvette as a replica of one that belonged to his grandfather.
“He died before I was born," Branton said. "It reminds me of him and keeps a part of him in my life.”
Zane Smith, the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Kern County, said 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.
At their fifth annual Art to Table(aux) Auction, kicking off Wednesday, funds raised will pour back into the club locally, especially the studio.
"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,” Smith said.
And 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 newspaper sketches for attendees at home.
“Our event has always had an element of glitz and glamour to it. Under the circumstances with COVID and the way things are changing,” Smith said. "We’re clinging to family. We’re clinging to one another in acts of support, acts of philanthropy, and acts of encouragement. In this case, Norman Rockwell represents that family and elements of life and lifestyle.”
So far, 700 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.
Register for the event here.