Tiny artists with big talents and hearts

April 23, 2009|By Mary O’Keefe

From 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, the La Cañada Preschool at 4460 Oakwood Ave. will be hosting its annual Art Show where it will be showcasing the creations of its tiny but talented students. And in a show of community support, the school has invited Flintridge Bookstore and Coffee House to partner with it by offering a book fair on the same night.

The Art Show has been a tradition for over 30 years and celebrates the talent and imagination of childhood.

“There is such a magical sense of wonder that only occurs once in life,” said the school’s owner, Debbie Bacino.

The 65 students that range in age from 2 ½ to 5 work in a variety of mediums from dimensional art to handprints in clay. All the art is inspired and created by the students with guidance from teachers with 20 to 30 years of experience.

“But it doesn’t have a lot of directive from [adults],” Bacino said. “Truthfully the children did the work themselves.”


This year Bacino has done something different by adding a book fair to the show as a way of supporting a community business.

“We were all touched by what happened to the Flintridge Bookstore,” she said, referring to the April 1 big rig accident where a car carrier truck lost its brakes after traveling over the Angeles Crest Highway and slammed into several vehicles before coming to rest inside the bookstore. The accident claimed two lives, sent many victims to the hospital and crushed most of the inventory at Flintridge Bookstore.

The business has continued stay open, operating at first from a back office then to a temporary trailer in the store’s parking lot but the Bacino knew that this type of devastation can cause any business to suffer and decided to help.

“I believe in paying it forward,” she said.

La Cañada Preschool was founded 70 years ago by long time resident Mary Ellen Gilstrap. Bacino bought the school six years ago and understands the stress of operating a privately- owned business.

“Even in good economic times it is difficult,” she said. “And the bookstore is so wonderful.”

She has partnered with them to sell children’s books during the Art Show. The store normally gives the school a 10% discount but for this book fair the discount is going to be given back to the store.

“I just think we should support [local] businesses and support the community,” she added.

The public is invited to visit the school and see the budding community artists and to help support the bookstore.

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