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Community News : BEVERLY HILLS : Young Artist Has First Brush with Fame

Anna Fleiner’s first brush with art was much the same as that of thousands of other schoolchildren: She would do art projects in class and take them home to her parents.

But few pupils can boast that people wanted to buy their work. That was the case with Anna when her father put up her work at his auto body repair shop.

“They’d say, ‘Who did the painting?’ I’d say, ‘My daughter. She’s 9,’ ” said Ken Fleiner. “They’d say, ‘You’re kidding.’ ”

It hasn’t taken long for professional artists to confirm what Anna’s parents and body shop fans already know.

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Anna, now 14, will become the youngest artist ever to be accepted in the Beverly Hills Affaire in the Gardens, where she will exhibit her oils, pastels and watercolors this month.

The city’s 21st annual outdoor art show, whose entrants are selected by a jury that includes college art professors and award-winning artists, will be held from 10 a.m. to dusk next Saturday and Sunday in Beverly Gardens Park on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Anna is one of 250 artists, including 70 new to the show, chosen from about 500 applicants by the art jury, said Brad Meyerowitz, a spokesman for the city Recreation and Parks Department, sponsor of the May and October event. Artists were judged in such categories as oil and acrylic painting, watercolor, sculpture, ceramics, photography, mixed media and graphics.

Student artists have exhibited their works in the show before, but Anna is the youngest artist to go through the juried screening process, Meyerowitz said.

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The eighth-grader, who attends El Rodeo Elementary School as well as a private art school, will be joined by artists from all over the United States.

About 40,000 people attend the two-day show, but Anna says she has no fear about showing her work in such a public setting.

She said she has already participated in another show and has attended the Affaire in the Gardens for nine years as a spectator.

“I’m excited,” Anna said. “I wanted to get into the show for the experience and fun. My paintings are just sitting at home. I’d like people to see them.”

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Other artists at the Affaire include sculptor Jane DeDecker of Loveland, Colo., who sold one of her pieces at a recent Affaire to pop singer Michael Jackson, Meyerowitz said.

The artists themselves--rather than representatives--are required to show their works so that people can meet the artists, Meyerowitz said.

Other activities at the show include a “mini-Monet” tent where young artists can try their hand at arts and crafts. For adults, there are art demonstrations on the main stage as well as jazz, blues, and big-band and Brazilian music.

Information: (310) 550-4625.

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