Art appreciation

Passing the torch of art appreciation through ‘Pushing the Boundaries’

“Oh mom. Please! Not another ‘educational opportunity.’

My then 11-year-old daughter’s words were sweet. Barely audible.

And I ignored them.

We went to see an art exhibit that I had planned to review for the newspaper. After a 60 minute exposure to new worlds, I took her to an old style ice cream parlour.

It was a treat not to complain to anyone else at the gallery – a reward for “good behavior”.

Call it polite blackmail. But sometimes you have to gently push the boundaries if you want to raise young people who will come to appreciate the beauty of the arts.

start small

A place like The Gallery at 48 Natoma in Folsom is a good starting point for taking kids to an art show. It’s small and admission is free.

The exhibits are curated by staff from the Folsom Parks and Recreation Department. The gallery presents works by regional and national professional artists, collections from museums in the region and traveling exhibitions. It offers high quality original art exhibitions.

Depending on the youngster’s attention span, you can take a brisk walk of 10 minutes or an hour. Even better, there are places offering ice cream (at the library), train rides and zoo animals nearby in the Folsom Town Hall complex.

Push the limits

The gallery’s newest exhibition, Pushing the Boundaries, opens September 13 and runs through November 7. It presents the work of two artists: the paintings and sculptures of Kim Thoman; and Carol Ladewig’s color studies, paintings and prints.

3D printing in art

Gallery visitors can expect to discover a new mixed-media tool: the 3D printer. Artist Kim Thoman has added this tool to his repertoire. “As a painter, I was particularly interested in using my flat paints as a texture for a form,” she said.

It’s an interesting effect.

“The basis of my art is the belief that duality exists in everything. I am aware of the presence of opposing forces in the world around me, such as intellect and intuition, masculine and feminine, stillness and movement, body and soul, light and the dark, the organized and the chaotic, and of course, life and death,” Thoman added. “My works seek to balance the duality of contrasting energetic forces. My desire is to present the opposite sides of all truth in order to see the true picture. In addition to philosophical concerns in my work, natural elements emerge that are symbols of my own growth.

color and light

Carol Ladewig’s art focuses on a fascinating series of studies in color and light, including wall installations. Subject matter and content are determined by when and where they were created. Ladewig divides his time between two studios: one in Oakland and another in rural Massachusetts. Different parts of his works can be influenced by the cycles of the sun and moon, as well as other factors in the world around him.

“My experience of time develops in the Berkshires with a slower, calmer pace, my work becomes more contemplative, the colors more vibrant. In Oakland, time becomes faster, more rushed, and I find myself using textured colors darker and more muted,” she said.

The public is invited to celebrate both exhibits at the free opening reception from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, September 13, with refreshments, wine and live saxophone music from Jerry Fairlie. Gallery hours and more are available at

No regrets

Today, my adult daughter is an elementary school teacher. She makes art appreciation fun for her students by involving them in lessons and creative activities. Yes, the child who has “suffered” for years from exposures has learned to love them.

Knowing that future generations will love the arts, those moments of doubt about “dragging” my child to art venues were worth it. The ice cream and sweets paid off.

English teacher John Keating, played by Robin Williams in “Dead Poets Society,” has said something pretty profound about the arts.

“Medicine, law, business, engineering…these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life,” he said. “But poetry, beauty, romance, love…that’s what we live for.”

Time and youth fly away. Share your love of beauty around you today. Carpe Diem!

Submit your event for review in Susan’s column at [email protected]