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Here is a rundown of local arts events throughout San Benito County this month:

Ohlone exhibition

“Ohlone Elders and Youth Speak: Restoring a California Legacy: Exhibition on 21st Century Challenges for California Native People” opens Sept. 27. The efforts of three generations of Ohlone people, living in California and committed to keeping their native cultures alive and thriving, are documented through new photographic images and oral histories that illuminate their life experiences. The exhibition, Ohlone Elders and Youth Speak: Restoring a California Legacy, chronicling the on-going cultural revitalization process taking place within the Ohlone communities, opens Sept. 27 in the Main Library’s Jewett Gallery.

The story is told through 22 stunning photographic portraits, representing multiple Ohlone generations, accompanied by excerpts from their oral histories. “I would love to see all the Ohlone descendants collectively come together and share the knowledge that we have with each other and partake in ceremony, and to do it in a good way so we truly do honor our ancestors.”

Ann Marie Sayers, Mutsun Ohlone tribal chairperson, Indian Canyon Nation and founder of Costanoan Indian Research, Inc. said, “Perhaps the youth may come to the conclusion that if we want to make a difference, we will have to do so collectively.” Today, the Ohlone live between two cultures that are often in opposition with one another. Challenges facing the 21st-century Ohlone include: protection of burial and other sacred sites; ensuring an accurate depiction of the history of California Native people; showcasing the significance of the arts and crafts revival; and creating a vision for the future for the Ohlone peoples. The active role of youth has been critical to this process. The event will also feature “Speaking our Story, Singing Our Truth” by artist, Darlene Boyd

Kanyon Sayers-Roods, also of Indian Canyon Nation, also gives voice to the youth. “I appreciate this chance I’ve been given: to realize I’m Ohlone, that I’m on the land where my great-great-grandparents survived, and to be who I am today,” she said. “By honoring the past and continuing my education as well as always respecting my elders and learning from them, I can gain more knowledge and then be able to share that knowledge with our youth.”

The “Ohlone Elders and Youth Speak: Restoring a California Legacy” project is produced by Costanoan Indian Research, Inc. and Community Works, with Ann Marie Sayers, project director; Ruth Morgan, photographer; and Janet Clinger, oral historian.

The Main Library exhibition and programs are partially funded by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. For more information about these and other library programs, please call (415) 557-4277. 

The opening event, Ohlone Dance, Song and Panel Discussion, will take place Oct. 12, 1 p.m., in the Main Library of the Koret Auditorium. Hosted by Ann-Marie Sayers, the program features a panel discussion moderated by Melissa Nelson, the director of The Cultural Conservancy, with panelists Tony Cerda, Corrina Gould, Vincent Medina, Kanyon Sayers-Roods and Linda Yamane.

“An Evening with Contemporary Ohlone Artists” is being held on Oct. 15, 6 p.m., in the Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Room. Join us for an evening exploring contemporary Ohlone art, paintings, drawings, multi-media expressions, and some surprises. Hosted by Kanyon Sayers-Rood; meet the artists and find out more about their unique perspectives. “Native California Spoken Word” is Nov. 20 at 6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium. Spoken word is a medium for expression. Listen to song, poetry, stories, thoughts, and ideas in languages native to California, with no English translations needed.

The Green Tractors by Jovita Hillyer

Joyce Oroz reports that Jovita Hilliker has been chosen “Artist of the Month” for October at the Dragonfly Gallery, 380 Blohm, Aromas. If you would like to meet Jovita in person, stop by the gallery for a Meet and Greet Saturday, Oct.18 2-4 p.m.. She is a member of the Aromas Hills Artisans and shows her work at the Dragonfly Gallery. Ms. Hilliker is an exceptional watercolorist with her own unique style. Her grandmother, Pearl Tupper, was a self taught artist from childhood. She included Jovita at a young age, in a lot of her art meetings, classes, and late night drawing and painting sessions. Ms. Hillyer grew up to feel and think like an artist.

Her grandmother mostly worked in oils and pastels. For many years she believed that if you were to be a true artist, that is what you worked in. Ms. Hillyer had experience in many different mediums. About 12 years ago, at her son’s suggestion, she began to doodle in watercolor. At this time she truly found herself, and fell in love with watercolor.

She received an associates degree in art from Hartnell College, in Salinas California. She studied under the watercolorist Elizabeth Kinkaid for almost five years. \Hillyer acquired a lot of confidence and technique from Kinkaid, such as the technique of using many glazes or color washes, which has become a part of her work.

Ten years ago, while completing treatments for breast cancer she would sit in the chair and paint. During this time a new style began to emerge. Scenes made up of many different shapes, separated by spaces. She have applied this new style to the local scenes she finds herself drawn to. Painting both on location and from photographs she takes along the way.  Ms. Hillyer has a website at she is currently exhibiting some of her artworks at the Dragonfly Gallery in Aromas. 

ARTspace in downtown Hollister

The San Benito County Arts Council invites the public to come celebrate their new  ARTspace at 240 Fifth St., in downtown Hollister. See the new space, learn about their new community art. Check out their current exhibition! This is a history or retrospective of San Juan Bautista’s El Teatro Campesino’s impact on San Juan Valley.

The Gabilan Artists of San Benito County have a new show, “Autumnal Equinox,” at St. Francis Retreat in San Juan Bautista which will be on display until Nov. 30. A new show, “Paintings from the Heart,” will be displayed at St. Francis Dec.1 through January 2015.  The “Americana” exhibit by the Gabilan artists will be at Ridgemark Golf and Country Club through October and November.

Autumn Art Workshops

Aromas Hills Artisans has upcoming Autumn Art Workshops and Raffle on Sunday, Oct. 26, from 9-11 a.m. at the Aromas Grange. There will be free art workshops with AHA artists and this event is open to the public. One can take a free class from one of the artisans and take your project home with you (some classes require a small materials fee). This will be the last chance for you to purchase a raffle ticket for a chance to win a wonderful art piece created by one of the Aromas Hills Artisans. The drawing will be held at 11 a.m. Come early and enjoy a country-style breakfast.

There is news on the Olive Festival front. San Benito Bene, a business in Hollister that features locally-made art and food products, has offered to sponsor artists to reduce their cost for a booth at the Olive Festival. Instead of $185, artist booths may now be had for $135. The booth set-up includes a shader, sign for your business, table, and two chairs. You may share a booth and split the cost that way, too. Please reply to Rebecca Pearson, below. The Olive Festival is one day, Oct. 11, at Bolado Park (where the San Benito County Fair is held).  Nice big grassy area with trees and a stage. For more information, please contact Rebecca Pearson  at