Gabilan Hills Artist: Suzanne Kerns

The summer arts scene in San Benito County offers something for everyone.

– The 30th Annual Indian Festival recently dignified San Juan Bautista, beginning with the welcoming ceremonies performed by a descendant of the Mutsun Ohlone Natives who built our mission. Many performers were present from the Ama-Ka-Tura Ohlone Dancers, followed by Lakota grass dancers, represented by a boy named Cetan (Hawk Spirit) and his family. Also featured were Zipe Totec Aztec Drum and Dancers.

– Artist of the Month for May and June, at the Dragonfly Gallery, brought to us by author Joyce Oroz, is Nicholas Johnson, a very creative young artist, AHA member and family man.

Johnson had traveled to Europe earlier in his life and saw so much incredible art, which inspired him to start drawing. This later led to painting. He loves the moment when things go right and the image in his mind is suddenly a reality on the canvas in front of him. It bugs him when he starts a piece and becomes sidetracked, which happens in life with some frequency.

He tends to use charcoal and pastel pencils often. In terms of painting, he worked in oils for about five years, then transitioned to acrylics. When he is not painting, he likes to rock climb, surf, and ski. The activities are physically challenging and also put him in places with the kind of beautiful landscapes that he likes to draw and paint. He is also working on a children’s book, with original illustrations, that he hopes to publish through Friesen Press. That should be in the works for some time in 2015. The best way to view his artwork is at the Dragonfly Gallery in Aromas, 380 Blohm Ave.

– Author Joyce Oroz of Aromas wrote her third novel “Shaking In Her Flip Flops” several years ago. She happily announces that the story has been published and is available at The book is also available at the Dragonfly Gallery, 380 Blohm Ave. in Aromas and Crossroads Book Store in Watsonville. Four different stories in the Josephine Stuart Mystery series are signed and ready for adoption by mystery lovers. Followers of the series love the fact that they already know the local towns and haunts frequented by Josephine as she deals with murder and hopefully, justice. “Shaking In Her Flip Flops” is a rollercoaster of events, on land and sea. The characters involved run from faithful and funny to far-out and frightening.

– Speaking of authors, “The Dark Sky” by Giselle Rocha is finally available at the Dragonfly Gallery and Crossroads Book Store. Young author Giselle has more talent and imagination in one finger than writers twice her age. Her book is the beginning of a series of novels dealing with war, magic, pegasi, dragons, betrayals, secrets and newfound love. Giselle lives in Salinas, California with her parents and sister, and has already created a following for her wonderful fantasy adventure books.

– The Gabilan Artists of San Benito County are presenting their newest art exhibit, “Reflections” of Many Places and Moods,” in the gallery at Saint Francis Retreat Center. The exhibit will show through the end of June. Paintings are for sale with some of the proceeds supporting the Retreat. 

– The San Benito Stage Company in Hollister began a series of Theatre Workshops with an introduction to Stage Management presented by Nathan Chase and Kimi Helm. Nathan is a recent college graduate that will be headed to University of California Irvine to receive his MFA in Stage Management. Kimi Helm is the Stage Manager for YES in Turlock.

– Have you ever wanted to be a director, would like to be more prepared or know how to pick a song for your next vocal audition? How about acting tips on how to develop your character for stage? All these subjects and more will be covered in the workshop series. Additional instruction will be from Dennis Beasley- Director, Actor, Producer & Vocal Director, MFA in Directing  U.C. Irvine, BA in Theatre, Andrew Cummings- Director, Scenic Designer & Actor, BA Theatre & Performance Studies  U.C. Berkeley, Stephi Gable- Actor, Vocalist, Voice Over Coach, Academy Instructor, Member of SAG.

The workshop series began  May 17 and runs through June 14. They will take place at the Granada Theatre unless otherwise scheduled. These workshops are sponsored in part by a grant from the CFFSBC. Age varies by workshop theme. Fees are $20 per session and $18 for members of SBSC. Scholarships may be available. For more information or to make workshop reservations please call: 636-0122 or visit our website You may also find us on Facebook.

Recently SBSC embarked on a new venture, SBSC Sidecar. Sidecar focus is on smaller productions than those produced for the main stage SBSC, with fewer actors, performances and shorter rehearsal schedules. Sidecar debuted in April with the adult comedy, “The Odd Couple.” Watch for more info in the months ahead.