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Tradition of the arts continues in Lathrop
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The arts are alive and thriving in Lathrop.
Proof of that is a tradition that has been going on every year for nearly a quarter of a century. That annual event, which has helped put Lathrop on the map, is happening again starting this weekend.
Scores of artists from all over San Joaquin County and beyond are expected to show up at Lathrop City Hall Friday and Saturday to drop off their entries to the perennially popular Mayor’s Art Purchase Award Show and Sale. An average of 150 art pieces are selected for the two-week exhibit that will start on Monday, May 2. The art show will be available for public viewing during the next two weeks during regular business hours at City Hall. Admission is free.
Submissions though are not free. The art competition is a self-supporting venture. A $10 fee is collected for each entry submitted and accepted for showing. Each artist can submit a maximum of three pieces.
Entries will be accepted today from 9 a.m. until noon in the council chambers.
Judging will take place Saturday afternoon. Doing the honors of selecting the winners in the more than half a dozen categories that include oils, acrylics, watercolors, photography and digital creations is art teacher and artist Joy Bertinuson who teaches at  California State University, Sacramento and at American River College. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University, a BA in Studio Art from CSU Sacramento, and has also attended The School of the Art Institute in Chicago.

Mayor will choose Best of Show
selected for Purchase Award
The biggest prize will go to the entry that will be selected by Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal for the $500 Mayor’s Art Purchase Award. The one he selects will become the property of the city and will join the more than two-dozen pieces that are in the Joyce Gatto Art Gallery at City Hall.
The city’s art collection includes paintings by Tom Olson of Manteca whose rustic and bucolic scenes of the countryside, especially weather-beaten barns are sought after by collectors throughout the West Coast, Dan Voller whose paintings have won numerous awards in the valley, and retired Modesto Junior College art instructor Dan Petersen of Ripon who painted one of the murals in Manteca. His Yosemite mural is on the wall next to the American Legion building on East Yosemite Avenue.
In addition to the first-place category winners which will be awarded $100 each, there will be more than two-dozen sponsor awards with the cash prizes coming from various businesses and individuals in the community. Ribbons will go to the runners-up. There will be a People’s Choice award as well with $50 going to the art work garnering the most votes from visitors.
For the first time this year, a new category in digital creations is being added.
Joyce Gatto who, with husband Bennie Gatto along with a volunteer crew, launched the Lathrop Mayor’s Art Purchase Award in 1993. The first show was held at J.R. Simplot on Howland Road which was, at the time, being leased by the four-year-old city as temporary City Hall. Another year, the Lathrop Community Center on Fifth Street played host to the event. City Hall at Mossdale Landing in west Lathrop has been the site of the annual for more than a decade now when the new civic center was built.
The art show is one of the city’s longest-running and successful annual events for nearly a quarter of a century. Joyce Gatto remembers the early years when there was hardly any artist in Lathrop took part in the show. Today, many residents regularly submit entries every year.
“They are now a big part of the show,” Gatto said.
The rest of the participating artists come from seven different counties in the valley, she noted.
“Getting the artists to come has been the driving force” behind the huge success of this project, she added, with the city enjoying a positive image in the process.
Mayor Dhaliwal agrees that the long-running art show “has put Lathrop on the map.
“I want to thank Joyce and Bennie Gattor for all the hard work they have done with their team.”
All entries in the show will be available for purchase. No entry shall be more than $500 as part of the contest criteria.
For further details about the art show, call (209) 941-7370.