Debbie Croft: Artistic opportunities abound for foothill residents, others

February 22, 2013 

The Sierra Artists Gallery in Mariposa is seeking entries for its annual Elizabeth Specht Memorial Miniatures Show.

This fine arts exhibition draws artwork from around the world. Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

landscape, seascape, still life, portrait, animal and three-dimensional.

Artwork in miniature may be no larger than 48 square inches, and sculptures should not exceed 36 square inches.

Entries may be submitted until March 1. The show opens March 5, and concludes with an award reception March 24.

Entry forms are available at the gallery, Highway 140 and Sixth Street in downtown Mariposa. Forms may also be

found at www. For more information,

call (209) 966-2284 or (209) 742-4385.

Elsewhere, Jon Bock of the Sierra Art Trails put out a "call to artists" for this fall's Yosemite Foothills Open Studio Tour.

Artists are invited to apply through May 1 for participation in what has become the largest and most-anticipated arts event in Mariposa and Madera counties.

"Last year's tour surpassed our expectations, showing growth in almost all areas," Bock said.

The tour featured 110 artists and artisans skilled in painting, sculpture,

photography, fiber arts, jewelry, woodcarving,

ceramics, glass and more. Bock looks forward to this year's event being just as successful.

In addition to the tour during the first weekend of October, there will be a monthlong sneak preview exhibit at Fresno's City Hall in August. Visit for details and to find

applications, or call (559) 658-8844.

The summer teen program with Nature Bridge in Yosemite National Park develops future leaders and scientists. Registration is now open for the two-week field research course at the Yosemite campus of Nature Bridge.

It's a backcountry

expedition like no other, immersing students in nature's classroom as they learn to study and think like a scientist.

Scott Borden, the course director, says, "The course is student-centered, inquiry-based learning at its most adventurous. Students learn field research skills that transfer to high school, college and beyond."

Two sessions are scheduled for teens to choose from: June 30 through July 13, or July 27 through Aug. 9. Those interested in the program should

call Nature Bridge at (209) 379-9511, ext. 19,

or email

A similar course is offered in Olympic National Park in Washington from July 14-26. For details,

call (206) 382-6212,

ext. 13, or email

Financial aid and scholarships are available, especially for Central Valley students. Contact Nature Bridge for more information.

For girls and women who can't or don't want to pay hundreds of dollars for a prom dress, the Soroptimist International of Mariposa is hosting its second annual Prom Faire and Spa Day. In collaboration with Mariposa County High School's

Associated Student Body, the Soroptimists have collected close to 350 new and pre-worn prom dresses from all over California.

A dress display is

currently in the window at the office of the Mariposa Gazette newspaper.

The success of this

service project was so

impressive to the officers of the Sierra Pacific Region of Soroptimists, it will be included in a project

booklet at this spring's

regional conference.

Nanci MacArthur,

Soroptimist president, is very excited about this event.

"There will be dresses flying everywhere," she says. "We'll have racks and racks of dresses arranged by size, with four or five dressing rooms available. Moms, dads, teachers and chaperones are welcome, too."

This girly, fun-filled day includes demonstrations and makeovers by local salons, where girls and women will be shown how to do their hair, nails, makeup and more. Food and beverages will be offered as well. The event is free to attend. Dresses cost $10 each.

The Prom Faire and Spa Day takes place 10 a.m.

to 2 p.m. March 9 at New Life Christian Fellowship, 5089 Cole Road. For

details, call MacArthur at (209) 742-5165.

Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. She can be reached at

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