Art of Rancho

On Dec. 5, Joel Castro speaks about his painting Marching Giants at the event Art of Rancho hosted by Stay Gallery. The happened to fall on Castro’s birthday, and he was happy to celebrate it at Stay Gallery with his fellow artists.

Natalie Gomez, Arts & Entertainment Section Editor/ Staff Writer

On Dec. 5, Stay Gallery hosted the second annual Art of Rancho exhibit featuring 19 patients turned artists selected from the Pediatrics art program and the adult program at Rancho Los Amigos.


This exhibit gave the patients from the rehabilitation center an opportunity to display their artwork in a professional art gallery. The program is directed by Debbie Tomlinson who has been working with the Art of Rancho since its first show on Nov. 13, 1997. This program began with only 17 artists back in 1997, but now the program has 89 patients who participate in this art program.


“This program has given dozens of young Rancho patients the opportunity to learn how to paint and draw,” Tomlinson said.


The artists featured different faces from the rehabilitation center at Rancho Los Amigos, but one stood out from the rest that night. Joel Castro was the artist of the painting called Marching Giants and said he had been painting for a while now.


“This is the superstar,” one of the instructors in attendance said referring to Castro.

The opening day of the exhibit happened to be Castro’s birthday. He was sung “Happy Birthday” by all of the art galleries attendees, and that made the exhibit all more special to this patient. His painting was also being sold for $500.


Another patient turned artist was Jesus Velasco. His painting was titled Don Quixote that featured a man on his horse along with an accomplice. He explained that the inspiration behind the painting was that he had always liked horses since he was a kid and loved the story Don Quixote de la Mancha.


“I always work on multiple painting at a time,” Velasco said. “This painting [Don Quixote] took me about five to six months to complete because I like my paintings to be perfect.”


The Art of Rancho program enables patients at Rancho Los Amigos to work with world-renowned artists and Rancho graduate artists. This program aims to build confidence and creativity in these young patients who have gone through a physical trauma by using art as a healing mechanism. Stay Gallery hopes to host this event again, but next time as an even larger art exhibition.