2.1
March 30, 2010

How to Save Our Schools (with a Paintbrush + a Party)

I often wonder if I would have become an artist without the amazing support and instruction of my public school art teachers.

For many students, the arts programs are what keep them in school, or at least what keep them engaged. Yet, in public schools all over California (and all over the country as well), arts programs are being cut, good teachers are being laid off, and entire schools are being threatened with closures.

So what can we, the public, do to help our public schools when our government seems to have “no choice” but to cut, cut, cut? First of all, vote! (Taxes are good…) But what else? The friends and family of Buena Vista Elementary School throw a yearly fundraising party, “La Gran Pachanga” at 111 Minna (one of my favorite galleries and cocktail spots), where over 250 pieces of art, jewelry and fashion by local San Francisco artists are auctioned off to raise money for the Spanish immersion elementary school. Killer bands and DJ’s provided the soundtrack, including DJ Irene Hernandez-Feiks, the promoter behind Chillin’ Productions, who helped organize the event. Beautiful and stylish, she is one of the most active arts supporters in San Francisco. She rocks.

I was excited to be invited to do a live painting at the event for the second year in a row, and to be able to contribute to the cause by auctioning the piece off at the end of the evening.  Starting at 9 pm with a blank canvas, (Eco-tip: I got a great big 40” x 50” masonite board at SCRAP– Scroungers’ Center for Reusable Arts Parts for only $3!) I had only 3 hours to finish the painting, showing the audience the step-by-step process to creating a piece of artwork. It is an exhilarating experience to paint in front of a crowd, and I can’t say that I wasn’t scared of the outcome! But after a few hours, the painting started to come together nicely, and at the end, I was really happy with my finished piece. My process, and the event as a whole , was covered by my friend and fellow artist, Jhina Alvarado, in her Rising Artist blog.

So next time you are feeling down and out about the future of our American school system, why not join together with your community, pool your talents and raise some serious dough for the education of our youth? Or you could become a volunteer in your local schools–they always need guest speakers, instructors, or donations of supplies. This year, La Gran Pachanga raised more money than ever, and has provided Buena Vista Elementary School with enough funding to buy supplies and support their programs for the entire next year. And all it took was a fabulous party and the generosity of the local arts community. I can’t wait until next year!

Here are some photos of the painting process, start-to-finish, in three hours!

I primed the blank canvas green with scrap paint!

Photo by Jhina Alvarado.

"A Bit of Stow Lake" based on an old 1886 Postcard of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Rachel Znerold is an artist and independent fashion designer living the good life in San Francisco, CA. www.rachelzart.com

Read 8 Comments and Reply

Rachel Znerold  |  Contribution: 3,720