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If you walked the hallways at the Boys & Girls Club, you would notice that the walls are looking more like an art gallery and less like a youth center. This is the signal that the annual Boys & Girls Club's Artfest is around the corner. The children have been creating amazing masterpieces. "What makes Artfest unique from other fundraisers is that our club members donate their art to be auctioned knowing the proceeds come back to support their programs," says Zane Smith, Executive Director.

Artfest represents the positive development of youth in an area that gives them a sense of accomplishment, influence, and meaningful impact on their community. Young artists donate an individual piece for the auction, and the proceeds fund art materials and classes for the following year. Children not only experience success as selling artists but also the satisfaction of supporting their own program. "The Club artists work hard, commit their talent, hearts and spirit, and in return, they get boasting rights: 'My piece sold for…,' 'My piece helped pay for the new easels in the art room,' and my favorite, 'My piece made someone happy," said Smith.

One such Club artist is fifteen-year-old Juanita Recinos, who has attended the Boys & Girls Club – Armstrong Youth Center and participated in Artfest for the past four years. "Art is a way for me to express myself and a way to help out the Boys & Girls Club for everything they have done for me," says Juanita. "They have given me a lot of opportunities." Juanita's 2008 painting was selected as the signature piece for Artfest, and she is currently working on a painting for this year's event. She likes everything about the Boys & Girls Club, especially helping other kids and helping the community.

"We hope the community will join us for a terrific party that celebrates our amazing children and provides them with an opportunity to share their incredible gifts while investing in their own futures," says Zane Smith. Artfest is September 25, 2010, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Moorea Banquet Centre, 8700 Swigert Court. The event is presented by San Joaquin Community Hospital and includes a wonderful feast of gourmet food, fine wines from the central coast, a unique merchant's auction, and beautiful art by the stars of the evening – the children from the Boys & Girls Club's "Kidz Art Program." For sponsorship or ticket information, please contact Ricki Foster at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County (325-3730).

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