Youth art exhibit introduces street painting to annual event

Children’s art was celebrated during the Promenade Mall’s Annual Youth Art Exhibit, which was available to the public from Feb. 3-28 and which featured more than 500 works of art from various area schools.

All throughout the mall visitors could see paintings, metal work, photographs and similar items. All of these were made by local students from schools in Temecula, Murrieta, and Menifee, according to Event Organizer Gregory Kimd.

Kimd was one of many people who was at the Promenade Mall on Feb. 22, when the exhibit was paired with a special street painting festival which took place in the section of street located between the front entrance of the Promenade Mall and the Edwards movie theater.

This was the first year a street painting event was paired with the art exhibit but not the first year where active performance became part of the display, according to event organizer. He said that last year a student jazz band played in the area, providing visitors with the sound of music as they took in the sites of art.

Kimd would know a lot about what’s been done with the event over the years. He’s been involved with it since early 2007, when he first arrived to the Temecula area and became part of the bourgeoning arts council there.

The art council has since dissolved but Kimd said his interest in providing a forum to promote children’s art was never waning.

“Many schools have lost funding for culture and arts,” he said. “I’ve always in my career supported youth-oriented activities, this being one of them.”

The art-enthusiast worked to seek out an organization that would be willing to partner with the Promenade Mall to make the event a reality and found a match in Kiwanis Club, a service organization that has often reached out to communities to help facilitate projects beneficial to children. He said Kiwanis has been a big help in sponsoring the event.

Kimd said that some of the biggest supporters of the event have been the parents and family members of the children who get to see their work on display.

“To date, as of last Thursday, I’ve received over 140 e-mails and probably a couple dozen phone calls from parents, grandparents, saying, ‘Terrific. Keep it up.’”

Perhaps the big draw to the event on Feb. 22 though was the chalk painting. Children young and old arrived in groups to learn the various steps necessary to make an image come to life on an asphalt canvas.

They learned how to sketch, grid, blend, and detail and were able to do so at the direction of people like Commissioned Street Painter Cecelia Linayao.

Linayao, who has exhibited her artwork around the world, said she relishes the opportunity to teach children because she’s able to hone their creative energies.

“Every child has an individual or unique trait,” Linayao said. “So with art, they can really utilize that.”

“So if someone is kind of on the wild side and doesn’t draw within the lines, that’s OK,” she said. “And if someone’s a little more systematic, that’s OK too. And that’s the beauty of art is that it takes into account everybody’s uniqueness.”

The professional artist said she really enjoys being able to teach people who have never experienced what it’s like to be a street painter because they can see the level of dedication the profession requires.

“The thing that makes street painting really different is that, as opposed to being in a studio by myself, this becomes performance art where people get to watch it,” she said. “And I love that because often people only see the final product and they don’t realize how much work it takes to turn out a pretty picture and so I think it’s like a way of teaching without preaching that I’m showing you what it takes to create a piece of art and you can share in that.”

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