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Painting prodigy

Ten-year-old artist teaches seniors and paints prizes for local charity fundraisers.

April 11, 2007|By Joyce Rudolph

At 10 years old, painter Valerie Schwade is making a name for herself in the local art world.

The Glendale resident's works have been featured as prizes in fundraisers for New Horizons and Holy Family Church in Glendale and Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank.

Valerie's artistic ability is incredible for her age, said Linda Gaul, manager of senior care services at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center and Providence Holy Cross Medical Center.

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"She's done some wonderful still-lifes," Gaul said. "She's so versatile. I was so amazed at her technique and depth of her abilities for being so young, and she's a charming child."

Valerie also designed the cover art for a promotional campaign for the Friends of the Gene Autry National Center's ninth annual gala, "Boots, Belts and Beyond" on April 23.

"I never thought I'd be doing something for the Autry because it's such a famous museum," she said.

She is the first youngster to receive the Larry Gluck Artistic Freedom Award from Larry Gluck's Mission: Renaissance, the art school she attends.

She's receiving that award for the volunteer time she spends teaching art to senior adults at Elms Convalescent Hospital and Case de Glendale Retirement Center in Glendale, said Jasmin Zimmatore, vice president for public relations at Mission: Renaissance.

"She was nominated and selected because when most children her age are involved in other activities, like karate, soccer, baseball, she's decided to use her time to bring the beauty of creativity to people who need it most," Zimmatore said.

One of Valerie's students at Elms is 105 years old and another student is 104, Zimmatore said.

At those advanced ages, people lose their motor skills, she said.

"But by using the Gluck method, they are able to hold a brush properly and really have nice products," Zimmatore said.

Past recipients of the Artistic Freedom award are Lonnie Lardner, a former reporter for Fox News, who gives time teaching art to inner city youth; and Ted Prescott, president of Mission: Renaissance, who has increased the network of the organization.

"I think it's very special because not every 10-year-old gets the Artistic Freedom Award," Valerie said.

In the senior art classes, she teaches different techniques with watercolor and suggests what colors look best for what subjects, Valerie said.

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