UCP students to showcase their work at Downtown Fresno art gallery

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A partnership between a local art gallery and United Cerebral Palsy is allowing students to learn how to tap into their creative side, while sharpening their motor skills.

For Travis, the color pencil is his tool of choice. He's just one of the students from UCP who visits an art gallery in Downtown Fresno every day as part of the school's Arts and Ag in the Community program.

Five days a week, the students spend a few hours at the gallery and start each day with a blank canvas. Whether they choose watercolors, pencils or finger paint, they leave each day with a sense of accomplishment.

"Art is tremendously important for the creation but also for motor skills, for peace, for patience, to get those brain cells working," said Kim Regenerus, UCP's coordinator of development.

This gallery is owned by Chris Sorensen, an award-winning sculptor who shares his space with other local artists.

"It's become really special for them, and they've become part of our gallery," said artist Larry Smith.

One of the local artists is a man who has spent most of his life restoring vintage light fixtures. In addition to showcasing his work here, he is the coordinator for the student gallery, where the UCP students will have their work on display.

"To see the challenges that they face really inspires me. They are passionate about their art. It makes their day and it makes ours too. I feel fortunate just to be around them," said Smith.

Next week, the wall space next to his exhibit will be filled with the original creations of these hardworking UCP students. They've been featured at other art shows before, but this one will allow a bigger audience to experience their talents.

This will be the first Art Hop experience for the students, who are looking forward to sharing their masterpieces with local art lovers and the community.

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