The inaugural ARTSbeat exposition kicked off on March 1 with an art show and auction that showcased Elk Grove’s arts scene.

“If you think small things don’t matter, think again,” said Judy Tafoya, president of The Arts Advocacy Project (TAAP), which conceived the initiative.

She said in a speech that TAAP emerged in 2015 after questions were raised about Elk Grove’s range of art offerings compared to Sacramento.

Tafoya, joined by TAAP directors Nan Mahon and Margaret Munson, “crawled over every inch of City Hall,” securing the support of the Elk Grove City Council for what became ARTSbeat.

Taking place in March, ARTSbeat assembles a calendar of arts events in Elk Grove, including painting workshops, musical performances and book readings.

The Visions Art Show and Auction, held at The Falls Event Center, brought a variety of those elements together.

A live auction put works donated by several prominent local artists up for bids. Watercolorist David Peterson submitted a painting of Yosemite’s Half Dome and said it pleased him to have it on display.

“I get to share this piece, which was hanging in a corner of my house,” Peterson said. “Now I can share it and be with all these other great artists. So I’m really thrilled.”

Several people praised an abstract painting by Gerry Simpson titled “The Elephant in the Room.” With its loud splotches of color, the work was part of a series of paintings inspired by the 2016 presidential election.

Other pieces included two by famed painter David Garibaldi, known for his rapidly made paintings of rock musicians. Yoshio Taylor, whose sculptures once greeted shoppers at Sacramento’s former Downtown Plaza, also contributed a piece.

Patrons could bid in a silent auction for paintings and photographs by lesser-known local artists or purchase artwork by “celebrity” artists who were described beforehand only as “anonymous Elk Grove residents.”

The incognito contributors were eventually revealed.

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