Palo Alto artist Judy Gittelsohn has worked for eight years with what she calls "vulnerable populations," helping her students find a voice through art. Now she's opening her own Palo Alto center to offer classes here.
Her "Art for Well Beings" painting classes will be mainly geared toward at-risk youth, the developmentally disabled, and those recovering from an injury or illness, but everyone is welcome, she says. The main point is that art should be playful and without pressure to be perfect.
"The benefits of rousing our natural creativity are vast, particularly for people in need of expression due to obstacles such as health or life issues who can -- through creative expression -- come to terms with emotional conflicts, increase self-awareness, and express unspoken concerns about their lives," Gittelsohn said.
The center will be located at 2800 West Bayshore Road, with classes scheduled to begin the third week in April. One of the offerings is "Paint by Puzzle," a workshop developed by Gittelsohn in which each artist paints a different panel, each of which is eventually combined into a composite painting.
"The final painting is always a surprise," Gittelsohn said.
Other classes include "Unfurling Healing Art," for people recovering from sickness or injury; and "Elements of Elemental Art," which focuses on painting plants throughout their life cycles. "Elements" students will include people from the Community Association for Rehabilitation (C.A.R.) in Palo Alto, but Gittelsohn would like to attract other people as well, in hopes of forging links between C.A.R. and the larger community.
Gittelsohn and a C.A.R. mural project were on the cover of the Weekly last year.
An opening reception at the new center is set for May 6 from 3 to 5 p.m.; go to www.artforwellbeings.org.
Greenlight film festival
Ready to make a filmic statement about global warming or recycling? Your venue is here: The Greenlight Earth Day Film Festival is back for its second year.
Once again, officials from the city of Palo Alto and the Media Center are putting on the festival to spotlight film projects about how individual actions can aid the environment. There's a focus on local filmmakers, particularly students; last year, some 135 students took part in the festival, creating 48 videos, organizers said.
Festival entries are being accepted until April 22, which just happens to be Earth Day. The big green-carpet event is set for May 24, when the top films in each category will be screened at the Cubberley Center theater at 4000 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. All entries will be shown on cable TV and the Internet as well.
Categories are students in grades 6 to 8; grades 9 to 12; and all other filmmakers. No entry fee is required.
For entry forms and more information, call 650-329-2417 or go to www.cityofpaloalto.org/earthday.
A visit from 'Bat Boy'
Students in the Gunn High School drama department recently had a rather batty visitor: actor Deven May, who originated the title role in "Bat Boy, the Musical" at the Actors' Gang in Los Angeles.
Local thespians were gearing up for opening night of their own production of "Bat Boy," which runs through Saturday. May reportedly regaled the students with tales of his theater career -- including confessing that during a "Bat Boy" preview performance his bald cap slid off his head and his hair tumbled out.
"I shaved my head the very next day," he said.
May is currently appearing as Tommy DeVito in "Jersey Boys" at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, which is how the Gunn connection came about: Gunn sophomore Lee Friedman met May backstage at the Curran and invited him to come speak on campus.
The Gunn production of "Bat Boy" is at Spangenberg Theatre at 780 Arastradero Road in Palo Alto, tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 650-854-8258.
-- Rebecca Wallace
This story contains 653 words.
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