Dear Reader: Happy September!
by Thygerson Vaun
Contributing writer and mother of three
Aug 29, 2023
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I have always loved art, but trust me when I tell you that I am not an artist. I cannot even draw a decent stick figure. My mother minored in art history in college, so growing up she always taught me and my sisters about art. As a daughter of an Air Force veteran, I have been super fortunate to travel around the world and see a lot of the masterpieces in real life.

My all-time favorite artist is Pablo Picasso because of his use of colors and chaos. When I was teenager and we went to Barcelona, I had one request and that was to visit the Picasso Museum. My parents obliged and we set out for our destination. When we got there, we could not find any

decent parking, so my sweet father waited in the car so my mother and I could tour the museum. Seeing Picasso’s collection from his formative years made me realize just how diverse his painting styles had been – everything from cubism to portraiture. This is one of my core memories that I carry with me to this day. Art is powerful and can change your life.

As a mom, I have tried to instill this love of art into my children’s psyche. As youngsters, they did all kinds of art classes and workshops. At various times throughout the years, all three have attended Bakersfield Museum of Art’s summer camps. Much to my joy, I have found that as they grow older they really do appreciate art and artists. My daughter loves anything Warhol and pop art; she even dressed up as a Liechtenstein painting one year for Halloween. My older son loves Japanese art and anime and my younger son loves nature and landscapes. He and his friends even had a Bob Ross paint night at our house.

Almost every year, I have attended the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County’s (BGCKC) Farm to Table(aux) fundraising event that showcases a famous artist for a fun night and a good cause. I’ve been to their events featuring Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, and last year was Frida Kahlo. So, when I found out that their 2023 artist pick was Picasso, I was ecstatic. This event brings the artist’s work to life in the most creative ways from the food to the performances to the original artwork created by Club members. Special thanks to Zane Smith, Executive Director of BGCKC, and all the amazing people who work on this event for their time to help with the article, “Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County’s Annual Farm to Table(aux) Shines with Creativity: Featuring Spanish artist Pablo Picasso,” on page 14. Mark your calendars for Friday, October 6, as you won’t want to miss this event.

As life is back to its routines and schedules, it’s important to check in on your children’s mental health.  In the article, “Self-esteem, identity and children’s mental health: Six steps for a better experience this school year,” by Callie Collins on page 16, she writes about ways to help your children succeed by having a healthy mindset. Some of her tips include recognizing situations that affect their self-esteem and how to counter negative perceptions.

To read about an amazing woman, turn to page 12, for the article, “Hello, Happy (Resilient) Mama:  Stacy Kuwahara shares personal perspective on life, loss and moving forward in healthy ways," by Callie Collins. Kuwahara is best known for her role as director of health at Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, but wears many hats and has been personally and professionally familiar with so much of life’s ups and downs. She has a lot of hope and wants everyone to know about local mental health resources and services.

This month’s Humor at Home article, “Stop Arguing! I’m Not Arguing!” by Julie Willis will have you laughing for sure. She writes about how good her children are at their persuasion skills. She taught them from a young age to be persuasive, emotional, and logical, and now they can outsmart the adults. To find out their tactics and how they use them for everything from napkin use to cellphones, turn to page 24.

As your budding, little artists bring home their colorful creations, remember to encourage their creative expression. Art really is magical for the soul and you never know where their journey might take them. As Picasso says, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” 

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