Forty Central Unified students, Cultural Arts Rotary members, HandsOn Central California volunteers and community members celebrate the opening of dedicated space for youth art in Art by Hand at the historic Water Tower. Eleven artists from Central High School are featured. The reception includes students from the music program of Fresno EOC’s School of Unlimited Learning (SOUL) charter high school playing in the Plaza. City Council Member Baines, and Central Unified Superintendent Mike Berg join the group for the ceremonial presentation of a $4,800 check by Cultural Arts Rotary Foundation toward annual operating expenses of the historical Water Tower that serves as a Visitor Center for Fresno.
Artwork displayed by students will be available for sale in the same manner as the adult artists, with 25% of the proceeds to support HandsOn Central California and its programs that benefit the community. Every three months, the art will rotate and new student works will be displayed. The first year’s art is from Central Unified, which has its Superintendent Mike Berg and Assistant Superintendent/Chief Academic Officer Laurel Ashlock as members of Cultural Arts Rotary.
Adult volunteers will also work with student volunteers, teaching them about the history of the Water Tower while volunteering to help Art by Hand or elsewhere for Hands On projects. Youth at Central High from the Rotary service youth club Interact will contribute volunteer time. The Central High Interact club is less than a year old and has a membership of 180 students, already logging more than 500 service hours the first semester.
The student artists from Central High East are Mario Campos, Alexandria Fall, and John Roubedeaux. From Central High East, works are included from Helaina Bradley, Josh Villanueva, Marisol Hernandez, Garrett Ruiz, Raylene Delgado, Valencia Espinoza, and Sydney Phillips. Students come from grades 10, 11, and 12, with works created using a variety of techniques and styles. These include watercolor, acrylic painting, block prints, and gouache and India ink.
The Water Tower is a historical landmark for the City of Fresno, built in 1894. Serving as a Visitor Center since 2001, HandsOn Central California took over the operation of the site in 2011 and moved its Art by Hand shop that sells local art and crafts to the location. The Water Tower and Art by Hand share the $33,000 operational costs for the Water Tower that includes utilities, security, and cleaning. The City of Fresno covers remaining expenses for the site. The Art by Hand entity’s budget is $18,000 and the Water Tower alone is $15,000. Donations and Art by Hand sales proceeds currently cover the majority of the Art by Hand portion of operating costs. The $4,800 donation by Cultural Arts Rotary Foundation provides 32% of the Water Tower’s separate portion. More than 15 volunteers man the site annually to the approximately 6,500-7,000 visitors. The donation by Cultural Arts Rotary will provide 15% of Hands On Central California’s total operating costs for the entire Water Tower site annually.
Cultural Arts Rotary cultivates creativity through service. Meeting every Tuesday noon at Arte Americas, the 49 member club raises funds and volunteers time to benefit the community, with an emphasis on youth arts. For more information on the club or its giving, please go to www.culturalartsrotary.org.
HandsOn Central California, formerly known as the Volunteer Center of Fresno County, Inc., has served the community since 1962. It was founded by a group of community leaders who saw the value of volunteerism as a tool for community change. In 2008, The Volunteer Center became a transformational affiliate of HandsOn Network, and expanded to serve Fresno, Kings, Madera, and Tulare counties. HandsOn Central California INSPIRES, EQUIPS, and MOBILIZES people to take action to serve their communities. For more information, go to www.handsoncentralcal.org.