For 89-year-old watercolor artist Helen Dalgleish of Coarsegold, the fine arts are not just additions that can be left out of a curriculum if there's no room. They are "exhilarating," essential parts of being alive -- things to be valued, taught and shared.
"It lifts a person," Dalgleish said softly but strongly, infused with inspiration. "It's not the hum drum."
The affection was shared by 10-year-old Boston Thome, who said creating art makes her feel "like I'm my own person."
Dalgleish and Thome were among about 100 people Saturday who raised more than $6,000 during Vision Academy of the Arts' Eighth Annual Grand Night for the Arts, a fundraiser for college scholarships for graduating high school seniors in the area, interested in pursuing a higher education in the arts.
The event raised almost double what it did last year, and more than it ever has.
"I think that everybody took away a feeling that the community can come together and support our kids and send them out with success," said Vision Academy President Jackie Byers. "It's wonderful the way the community comes together and supports the kids, and it's not just Vision ... they do it for any group that's out there. I think this is a very kid-oriented community where they care more about kids than they do political differences."
The evening kicked off with a song by Vision Academy's first scholarship recipient, Tamra Tackett-Dent, followed by introductions to year's scholarship applicants:
Yosemite High School senior Joseph Samon, YHS' trumpet leader, played a song; YHS senior Alyssa Esposito, the school's marching band drum major who is also involved in choir, softball and youth group at Sierra Vista Presbyterian; and Glacier High School senior Sarah Lamb, who played a song on her clarinet. All three have also volunteered with Vision Academy.
Event chairperson Sheila Adams said they sold all of the scores of live and silent auction items that were donated to the event "and a big thank you" to the merchants, restaurants who donated food, and everyone involved.
Byers said close to 50 Jane Gyer prints were also recently donated to Vision, and can be purchased by calling her at (559) 683-7071.
"I was kind of dazzled by it all," said Dalgleish of the event, who was one of dozens of the area artists -- including her 91-year-old husband Arthur -- who donated their art for the live and silent auction.
"I really appreciated coming, being there, having a chance to come ... Things like that bring the community together. You get acquainted with more people that way that have the same values you do -- who want to see the young people have opportunities for their futures."