Galleries: Student Arts Ambassadors Showcases, Celestials

(Elana O’Loskey, Photographer)
The artwork of children from Orinda, Moraga and Lafayette will be on display at the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library this month.

    Perhaps you’ve noticed a bright blue banner on the BART bridge entitled “14th Arts Ambassadors Exhibit.” It’s about the Educational Foundation of Orinda’s (EFO) showcase of more than 150 artworks from Orinda students from elementary to high school.
    The exhibit runs through March 11 in the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library. An artist reception, open to the public, takes place March 4 and begins at 4:30 p.m. when “Mr. Maz” (Greg Mazmanian) strikes up the OIS Jazz Band in the outdoor Upper Plaza/Richard Heggie Plaza just outside the Gallery doors.
    At 5 p.m. in the auditorium, the event will be opened by David Schrag, OUSD director of curriculum and instruction; David Wilson, OUSD art teacher coordinator and a Del Rey and Wagner Ranch art teacher. Next there will be vocal performances by the Miramonte Choir, led by Meredith Hawkins and the OIS Chorus, led by Christina Hollins, a Del Rey and Sleepy Hollow music teacher. Finally the Glorietta Ensemble Choral Group performs, led by Ron Pickett, Glorietta and Wagner Ranch music teacher.
    “The team I work with is amazing; everyone pitches in to make this event a success,” said Bene Streubel, EFO Arts Ambassadors coordinator. Streubel adds kudos are due to EFO volunteers Lori Brooks, OUSD art teacher coordinator David Wilson and his aid, Emma Taylor who, “take this huge event and break it down so that it works.”
    Orinda visual and performing arts instructors to be recognized include: Erica Amundson, Miramonte Art Teacher; Stacy Churchill, Miramonte Photo and Digital Design Teacher; Meredith Hawkins, Miramonte Choir Teacher; Christine Holling, Orinda Intermediate School (OIS), Del Rey and Sleepy Hollow Music Teacher; Gavin Kermode, Miramonte 3D Art Teacher; Greg Mazmanian, OIS Instrumental Music Teacher; Ron Pickett, Glorietta and Wagner Ranch Music Teacher; Janet Robinson, Glorietta and Sleepy Hollow Visual Art Teacher; Susan Weiss, OIS visual Arts Teacher; and Cody Wilson, OIS Woodshop Teacher.
    To learn more about the EFO, go to Information about the LAC can be found at
    More student artwork in partnership with LAC and the Lafayette Partners in Education (LPIE) and instructors from Moraga schools will be on display in Lafayette and Moraga March 12-26 in the Art Gallery at the Orinda Library.
    Join students, district officials, teachers, families and friends at the artist reception 4-6 p.m. March 17.
    Student artists from Lafayette, Burton Valley, Springhill and Happy Valley Elementary Schools created 27 artworks for the exhibit. Myrna Kimmelman, executive director of LPIE, explains: “Each year, a student’s name in each grade level at each school is randomly drawn to be part of our ‘The Stroke of Luck’ event. The lucky winners have their work featured in the Arts Ambassadors exhibit.”
    Larysa Larson and Moose Wesler, Moraga visual arts teachers and Moraga Education Foundation (MEF) volunteers have gathered 30 pieces of artwork from students in grades one through five at Camino Pablo, Rheem and Los Perales Elementary Schools. Moraga School District officials and members of the Art in Public Spaces Committee have also been invited to the reception.
    The Art Gallery at the Orinda Library is at 26 Orinda Way and open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Call 925-254-2184 for more information or visit

(Courtesy of Joel Tesch)
Orinda resident Joel Tesch uses acrylics and watercolors in “Celestials,” the theme for his solo show of nine paintings at the Art Gallery at Wilder.

Art Gallery at Wilder: “Celestials”
    The paintings of Joel Tesch are on display this month in the Art Gallery at Wilder. Tesch, who lives in Orinda, said he enjoys the speed and versatility of acrylics and watercolors. He works fast and doesn’t have time to wait for oil paints to dry. Often he finishes two paintings each week; this helps to keep his work fresh as he is always trying new techniques, subjects and styles, he said.
    “Celestials” is the theme for his solo show of nine paintings. Tesch widens the viewpoint of space with Space Time Continuum III, a 48” x 24” acrylic on canvas. The composition presents a vantage point of the multiverse as if we are looking out the viewport from the lounge of the Enterprise.
    Science lovers will not be surprised that Tesch is a fan of John Boswell’s digital mashup video known as “Symphony of Science.” Here is an apt excerpt from Boswell’s A Glorious Dawn which celebrates the 75th birthday of the late scientist Carl Sagan: “A still more glorious dawn awaits / Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise / A morning filled with four hundred billion suns / The rising of the milky way.”
    It is apt because Tesch’s focus in “Celestials” explores with paint and canvas the possibilities of an expansive multiverse. Go to to view the video.
    For those familiar with Tesch’s work, bold and colorful are words always entwined with his art, no matter his theme. He also loves contrasts and only paints what interests him visually or subjectively. Meet the artist at his opening reception 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m March 7. To see more of Tesch’s work go to
    As the Wilder Art and Garden Center, 20 Orinda Fields Lane, is new, the Art Gallery is open to the public only when classes or events are scheduled. For now that is the first Saturday of every month for an artist reception 2:30 – 4:30 p.m., Wednesday 4 to 7:30 p.m. or by appointment with co-curators Denise Nomura or Aniston Breslin at

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