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Mothers, music and art

June 09, 2006|By Fred Ortega

Southland mothers couldn't have asked for a more beautiful setting in which to celebrate their special day than Brand Park and the first ever Music and Art in the Park event, held on Sunday.

Families strolled among the trees between the Japanese Teahouse and the historic Doctor's House, enjoying classical pieces performed by world-class musicians as they watched artists adorn their canvases with scenes of the lush grounds and the Verdugo Mountains beyond. Mothers and their children sat to have their portraits taken in the shade as a cool breeze blew and harp music played in the background.

"This is such a wonderful mood; it takes you to another plane of existence," said Karen Hansen of Burbank, one of the plein-air, or open-air, painters invited to showcase and sell work at the event, which raised funds for the Glendale Symphony Orchestra. "It is mood more than anything that gives me my inspiration for my work — meditative, calming, peaceful moods."

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A traditional Japanese tea ceremony was held nearby, as Japanese shamisen musicians played their traditional three-string instruments.

At the gazebo, Glendale Symphony Orchestra flutist Sheridon Stokes, oboist Jonathan Davis and cellist Armen Ksajikian added to the sense of tranquillity while guests enjoyed free hors d'oeuvres and champagne at the teahouse and perused paintings from Segil Fine Art Source.

Money raised from donations collected during the event will go toward increasing the amount of concerts the Glendale Symphony Orchestra offers each year, Executive Director Diane Hedrick said.

"We have a Prelude to Christmas gala in the fall that is our primary fundraiser, but we wanted to do more for the community," said Hedrick, who teamed up with Laura Segil of Segil Fine Art Source and the city's Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department to come up with Sunday's event. "Nowadays there is not much money for the arts at the local, state or federal level, and our ticket sales only cover about 25% of concert costs. We know it is hard to fund the arts, but it is also important. Art is the soul of a community."

Artists' Sunday paintings were put on display at the end of the day and offered for sale. Proceeds from any sales went to the artists and Segil Fine Art Source.

Although she has no children of her own, Linda Maxwell considers herself a mother of sorts to the 9,000 children who have gone through her We Care for Youth program. And she attended Sunday's event to treat herself on Mother's Day.

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