Chasing Down the Muse: My path is leading me toward good works


If you light a path for somebody, it will also brighten your path. — Buddha

My muse is playful and quixotic and most often takes me to light-hearted, even frivolous, places that bring me joy. There are times, though, when my muse has a more serious side and leads me down paths that have a greater meaning to life.

Recently, I have seen these paths more often than usual.

My muse has led me to join two worthwhile groups in the past six months. The Luminaires — a guild formed to support The Illumination Foundation — came into my life in February. More recently I became a trustee for the Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund. My heart sings with the joy of these involvements since they do good, raising the self-esteem of the people they seek to help.

In the past few weeks, the two organizations met in a joyful joint venture. The Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund approved a grant for artist Etianne Manetta to teach a mixed-media class at The Illumination Foundation’s Recuperative Care Center. Etianne is a Laguna Beach High School alumna who recently completed her degree at UC Irvine. She is an accomplished artist and a kind and gentle teacher.


The Illumination Foundation’s Recuperative Care Center provides core services and art therapy programs to homeless people who need extra care and recovery time. Etianne’s students did some great mixed-media pieces that are now on display at the facility in Santa Fe Springs. Some of the students’ smiles said it all — this was well worth doing for all.

Sawdust artist Shamus Koch has also received a grant from the Sawdust fund to teach young students from Santa Ana’s Warwick Center on two successive Tuesdays in August at the Sawdust Art Festival grounds. This is the fourth annual collaboration involving SAEF, Project Access and affordable-housing company KDF Communities.

Project Access Resource Center has extensive involvement with low-income communities, providing tutoring and enrichment of poverty-level and at-risk youth. The mission of the Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund is to further the Sawdust Art Festival’s own mission to educate the public about the arts by providing this instruction to underserved populations.

Thus, this is an exciting collaboration on many fronts. Koch has a colorful personality and is an accomplished artist and outstanding teacher. I am looking forward to being a part of this fun event. The youngsters will be making wire sculptures on wood blocks while receiving an education in realism and abstract art.

With pride of achievement being a large part of these art programs, the wire sculptures will be unveiled to family, friends and others in early September at the Warwick Center in Santa Ana.

As I have said so many times, this following of my muse is full of surprises and often wondrous events. If only half are as fulfilling as these two paths have proven to be, I will call life good. My path, along with those of Etianne, Shamus and many others, has been brightened.


If you are interested in chasing after my muse or donating to her causes, you can find more information at the following sites:;;

CHERRIL DOTY is an artist, writer, and teacher who embraces the mystery and magic of all that is life. You can reach her at (714) 745-9973 or by email at