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Life Skills art program debuts at ARTspace

On Thursday, Jan. 26, an evening reception celebrated the opening of the "Joy of Art Soup," an exhibit featuring artwork from SBHS students participating in the Life Skills Arts Program. The exhibit runs through Friday, Feb. 24 at ARTspace
Life Skills Arts Program participant Sabrina Abbey points to her artwork. Photo courtesy of Jen Mott.
Life Skills Art Program participant Andrew Luna points to his artwork. Photo by Jen Mott.
Watercolor display by Life Skills Art Program participants. Photo courtesy of Adam Bell.
Attendees viewing exhibit artwork. Photo by Frank Perez.
Center display at the "Joy of Art Soup" exhibit. Photo courtesy of Adam Bell.
Attendees viewing exhibit artwork. Photo by Frank Perez.
Life Skills Arts Program participant Adam Bell poses next to his skull drawing at right. Photo by Frank Perez

Last Thursday evening, a constant stream of family, friends, and community members filed into ARTspace to attend the opening of the “Joy of Art Soup” exhibit featuring artwork from the Life Skills students at San Benito High School who are participating in the Life Skills Arts Program.

Ranging in age from 18 to 22 years old, the Life Skills students have “severe cognitive and developmental delays” and their “curriculum emphasizes community­-based instruction, vocational education, functional academics, social, domestic, and independent living,” according to the high school’s website.

The Life Skills Arts Program is one of several arts education initiatives established by the San Benito County Arts Council.

Retired SBHS art teacher and current arts council board member, Louise Roy, volunteers her time every Tuesday morning to teach the art class at ARTspace.

She said she was humbled by the Thursday’s turnout.

“I am overwhelmed to see the the crowd that came out to support the kids. It’s more than I expected,” she said while holding back tears.

SBHS Life Skills teacher, Ann Vasquez, echoed similar sentiments.

“I’m so please to see our students, their families, and the support of our community members, especially those from the high school,” she said.

Vasquez also explained the impact that the arts program has had on her students.

“It’s imparted a huge growth not only in art, but in their concentration and independence,” she said.

Life Skills student, Adam Bell, served as this reporter’s guide through the exhibit.

Outgoing and very personable, Bell radiated with pride, especially when pointing out the work of his classmates.

“I love my Life Skills classmates,” he said, adding “And it’s amazing watching Ms. Roy teach the class. It makes me feel good.”

When stopping at his watercolor painting, he said, “And look at me. I’m an artist now, thanks to Ms. Roy.”

More Information

The "Joy of Art Soup" art exhibition runs through Friday, Feb. 24 at ARTspace, located at 240 Fifth St. in downtown Hollister.

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fjperez's picture
Frank Pérez (fjperez)

I’m a lifelong resident of San Benito County. I reside in Hollister with my wife, Brenda. I’m embarking on my 19th year at San Benito High School, where I teach world history and Mexican-American history. In addition, I'm moonlighting as a freelance journalist for BenitoLink. My passion is delving deeper into the nuances of the local, historical record, while including lesser-known stories of our past. My hope is that county residents will have a greater appreciation for the diversity and complexity of San Benito County, realizing that its uniqueness depends upon our responsibility as its stewards.


Submitted by (Louise Roy) on

Thank you Frank for posting the event of Thursday night and the wonderful comments you made about the students work. It's such a blessing to have people like you, in the community, who support our young students and come out to see their work. The students were so proud of themselves. It meant so much to them and to their parents. Again many thanks

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