Members-only show

New artists get the chance to shine alongside veterans in a professional gallery once a year in the Fine Arts Federation Membership Show at the Creative Arts Center in Burbank.

For many federation members, the membership show is the only time they get to display their work in a professional setting, group President Carol Finkle said.

“Some of the members show their work regularly through other shows, but for many of our members, this is the only show they have their work in,” she said. “To have their work shown at a gallery where their friends and family can come and see it is exciting.”

The Fine Arts Federation was incorporated in 1976 as a support group for the arts center, said Finkle, who served as the director of the center from 1994 to 2001.

“It’s purpose is to provide support of the arts in Burbank, especially the visual arts,” she said.

There are 110 members today, and members are limited to one piece of work in the annual show, she said. This year, there are more than 60 works in the display ranging from oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings, ceramics, collage, photography and wood sculptures.

“It’s a very eclectic show,” she said.

Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from sales at this show go back to the federation, she said. The federation receives a part of whatever sales are generated during the year, but the major fundraiser is the annual Holiday Boutique, which features works by arts center teachers as well as students and federation members.

And while artists create items that are more gift-giving related for the Holiday Boutique, the membership show is for them to display things they enjoy doing, Finkle said.

Pete Graziano has been a member of the federation for only three weeks, but received a Juror Award in his first show.

The Burbank resident’s acrylic painting “Beyond the Sea” depicts three youngsters, with their backs to the viewer, on a fence looking out toward the ocean, Graziano said. The idea for the painting came while the artist and his wife were in Cambria about a year ago, he said. He snapped a couple of pictures of youngsters looking through a fence at about 100 sea lions on the beach.

“I took the sea lions out and put the ocean behind them,” he said. “It gives it a more universal look.”

He is a commercial artist specializing in computer animation but he said he is trying to get back to fine art.

Graziano’s prize for the Juror Award was $75 along with a glass vase, and he plans to use the cash to join a drawing workshop at the Creative Arts Center, he said.

Juror Steve Santillan was impressed with the color choices Graziano made for his ‘Beyond the Sea.”

“I thought the colors were absolutely great and the composition was pleasing to the eye,” Santillan said. “Overall, it’s handled very nicely.”

Also receiving a Juror Award was Antonio Pelayo, of Glendale, who has been a member of the federation for four years, he said.

This is his second award in the annual show, he said. Pelayo received Best of Show in 2007 for his portrait of artist Frida Kahlo. This year, he was honored for his pencil work titled “La Varda.”

“It’s a portrait of myself, my two sisters and three friends we had when we were 7 years old,” said Pelayo, who is head of special effects/ink/painter for the feature animation gallery department at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank.

The group is sitting on a wall in the work, and La Varda means wall, he said.

The piece is from a body of work he is creating for a solo show that pays homage to his family’s migration here from Mexico, he said.

Pelayo has collected photos from the family’s album and is drawing them against a white background.

“The work is about stripping the background from the people so it looks like they are floating,” he said. “These people come here from another country and it is foreign to them. They don’t know what’s going to happen to them.”

This piece is tied in with his first experiences in the country, he said. His neighbors had a nicer looking house and lots of toys, so they liked to visit them.

“We wanted to step into our neighbors’ world, which was a lot better,” he said. “Our parents wanted to come to the United States. We were just looking for something better, like the saying, the grass is greener on the other side.”

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