Brawley Art Studio Preparing For Fair & Fiesta

Brawley Art Studio Preparing For Fair & Fiesta

By Chris Furguson

Instructor Debi Smerdon (standing) holds up an example of cellophane art for her students during an afternoon session at the D.S. Arts Studio in Brawley.

While the majority of the focus for the upcoming California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta is on livestock animals, the midway carnival and the incoming grandstand attractions, a significant part of the event are the artistic exhibits, ranging from projects submitted by elementary schools to independent artists and studios.

D.S. Arts Studio, run by Debi Smerdon of Brawley, will be one of those contributors. Smerdon says that 74 of her students will be submitting nearly 200 pieces for the ten-day Fair & Fiesta, which will be delivered to the fairgrounds on February 24 along with hundreds of other pieces.

One of the planned group projects for Smerdon’s students at the fair, will be a “windows” project, where the viewer will look out or into a window to see what’s on the other side.Smerdon, a former advertising designer, holds a degree in journalism with a minor in art, although she adds that she’s been an artist most of her life.

“I started with oil painting when I was six,” explained Smerdon. “I just stuck with it through the years.”

Smerdon’s Art minor in college and her career in advertising came as extensions of her love of art.

“My parents said that I should get something that is marketable, which is funny because everyone goes back to what they love,” added Smerdon.

Smerdon’s studio, located on the corner of 151 South Sixth street in Brawley, holds classes for kids from preschool to high school, along with private classes for interested groups. Smerdon also holds individual classes with students for extra training and instruction.

Media used in Smerdon’s studio include ceramics, paint of various kinds and other mixed media. One of the more recent classes at the studio used pieces of colored cellophane and clear drying glue to combine colors on a background image.
“Color is a big thing for me,” added Smerdon, whose students are currently studying Edgar Degas and Edward Hopper.

Smerdon has been teaching art, privately, for the past fifteen years in Imperial County. While Smerdon has an art studio in her home, she has also taught through the ArtSPARKS program with the Brawley Parks & Recreation department and the North County Coalition of the Arts.

“I used to teach privately and run small classes at my home,” said Smerdon. “It was a couple of years ago when I realized… that I needed a space to store stuff. Also, art can be messy and take up a lot of space,” Smerdon added with a smile.

The artwork of hundreds of artists, from photographers to projects from 4-H, high school and elementary students, along with those from Smerdon’s studio, will be on display at the 2017 California Mid-Winter Fair and Fiesta from March 3 though March 12 within several buildings throughout the I.V. Expo.

For more information about D.S. Arts Studio, call (760) 554-2193 or visit their location at 151 South Sixth Street in Brawley.