Galleries: High School Visual Arts Competition and Equine Photos

(Elana O'Loskey, Photographer)
Attendees view the assortment of 2D and 3D art, photography, and digital art on display at the reception for the 2019 VAC. The contest is open to all high school students who live or attend school in Orinda, Lafayette or Moraga and the Acalanes Union High School District.

    February is an exciting month for the Lamorinda Arts Council (LAC) in the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library. They are hosting the 17th Annual High School Visual Arts Competition (VAC) exhibit which engulfs the entire gallery Feb. 4-27.
    The Artists and Awards reception, held 7-8:30 p.m. Feb. 11, is free and open to the public. Co-sponsors include the Lafayette Partners in Education (LPIE), Moraga Education Foundation (MEF) the Educational Foundation of Orinda (EFO) and the Lamorinda Arts Alliance (LAA).
    VAC showcases and acknowledges 2D and 3D art, photography, and new this year digital art, sponsored by the LAA. High school student artists include all those who live in or attend school in Orinda, Lafayette, or Moraga, as well as all schools in the Acalanes Union High School District. The competition features cash awards (up to $2,900), merit citations and a public exhibit of entries at the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library.
    Entries accepted for the 2020 High School Student Visual Arts Competition will be on display for public viewing Feb. 4-27 at the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library, 26 Orinda Way. Gallery hours are Mon. – Th., 10 a.m to 8 p.m.; Fri. – Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sun. 1 to 5 p.m. The library is closed on Feb. 17 for Presidents’ Day. For more information call 925-359-9940 or visit
    To learn more about the Lamorinda Arts Council go to

(Barbara Brady-Smith, Photographer)
Photographer Barbara Brady-Smith uses a fast shutter speed to capture the grace of horses in motion, as seen in her 37” x 40” print Prancing with the Wind.

Art Gallery at Wilder: The Allure of Equine Beauty
    Barbara Brady-Smith of Lafayette agrees with John Galsworthy who says, “I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a horse.” It’s up to viewers to see if they agree with this once they examine her collection of 15 photographs depicting steeds of all kinds at her solo exhibit at the Art Gallery at Wilder Feb. 1 – 29.
    Figuring out how to capture a horse in motion is no mean feat. Brady-Smith, a well known equine and pet photographer, embraces this challenge. She says in addition to camera settings that can stop motion (usually a fast shutter speed) she relies on horse owners to move the horse in a defined area by standing on each end of the arena and directing the horse back and forth.
    It is also important for her to use lenses with long focal lengths so that the large bodies of the horses are not distorted by wide angle lenses.
    “Horses are big and unpredictable – safety comes first!” says Brady-Smith. To make sure the horses’ ears are directed at the camera she uses a variety of tricks including special barn noises on her phone, dangling a carrot on the end of a short whip and a mirror. Who knew horses love looking at themselves in mirrors, just like some people?
    Speaking of equine conceit, her 20” x 30” photographic print entitled Handsome and I Know It will probably beguile viewers, along with the string of mares he left in his wake. Meet the artist at her reception 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Feb. 8. To see more of her work go to
    The Art Gallery at Wilder, 20 Orinda Fields Lane, is open for scheduled events such as artist receptions which are usually held on the first Saturday of every month from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., Tues. and Thur. from 6 to 8 p.m. and by appointment.  Contact Lamorinda Arts Council Curators Denise Nomura of Aniston Breslin at, call 925-359-9940 or visit for more information. 
    Moving forward, more regular hours will be scheduled. The Orinda Parks and Recreation Dept. is seeking bookings of classes and meetings. Contact them at, visit them at 28 Orinda Way or call 925-254-2445.

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