Artist’s Show Proves Hit With Students

Rasha Aly • Cathedral City Sun • November 16, 2007

When Rick Pantele took artworks from his Gallery on the road last week, it was as a trial run in a few schools.

But he didn’t realize just how interested the students would become in art.

The goal was “to show them the possibilities of what happens when you explore your imagination or discover that you have one,” Pantele said.

It worked.

By the end of the presentation, Cathedral City High School students were eager to start painting.

Pantele, along with several of his gallery’s artists, dropped by different middle and high schools in the Palm Springs Unified School District.

With several pieces of art in tow, he wanted to teach students about art and to get them motivated to chase their art dreams.

Students in an advanced art class at Cathedral City High School were in awe.

“It has a lot of depth, a lot of detail,” said junior Javier Fernandez , who was amazed by “Reach,” a Vernon Finney painting.

“There are so many different interpretations,” Breah Frazier, a 17-year-old senior, said.

“Reach,” which took about three-and-a-half years to finish, depicts one hand trying to lend help to a mess of other hands – there are more than 200 hands in the picture. In the painting, Finney captured specific details from lines outlining a hand’s knuckles to its fingernails.

Joining Finney and Pantele on tour were up-and-coming artists Christopher Dailey and Toni Alexandra Garcia. They stopped by James Workman Middle School on Wednesday, Cathedral City High School on Thursday and Mt. San Jacinto Continuation School on Friday .

Due to the height and width limitations of the school doors, Pantele was unable to bring Finney’s life-sized, original pieces into the high school. Copies of the originals were on display, instead.

Finney, 83, has been painting for more than 60 years, and he has more than 250 pieces in his portfolio.

Dailey, 22, who studied art at the University of Leeds in England, showed the students two of his pieces: “The Shadow Self,” which shows a shadowy figure emerging from a mist, and “The Nile,” a painting of the famous river.

Garcia, 27, known as TAG, brought in some pieces too, including her version of one of pop artist Andy Warhol’s famous Marilyn Monroe paintings.

Instead of using a paintbrush, Garcia completed her piece by kissing the canvas with paint on her lips to create the image of Monroe’s face. She said the kisses show that “part of the process of making (the painting) is a part of pop culture.”

After the first run-through was completed, Pantele said he would like to participate in a similar tour several times a year, and he’d like to visit more Coachella Valley schools.

Luis Ochoa, Cathedral City Sun

Luis Ochoa, Cathedral City Sun

Artist Toni Alexandra Garcia of Rancho Mirage poses for a picture next to one of her pieces after her talk to students about her art on Nov. 7 at James Workman Middle School.

Luis Ochoa, Cathedral City Sun

Luis Ochoa, Cathedral City Sun

Artist Vernon Finney of Palm Springs talks to students about his art on Nov. 7 at the James Workman Middle School in Cathedral City.