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Local artist Donald Towns to exhibit at Art 2023

Fine arts painter Donald Towns has been a Tehachapi resident for more than 20 years and still finds that nature and our local surroundings inspire his work.

"Beauty is all around when you're willing to explore," says Towns.

Many of us, without knowing, have seen the results of his creative influence over the years. Towns worked for many years as a background artist for Disney Studios, working on many notable films such as "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin," as well as projects for Disney World, Epcot and Tokyo Disney. It was during his work on the Chinese Pavilion at Epcot that he received an authentic Chinese seal of his signature which now appears on all of his paintings.

Donald was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. By the age of 14, he knew that art was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life, in spite of the fact that it was not considered an appropriate occupation within the African American Community. He took an Advanced Architectural Drawing class and a 12th grade art class in high school. It was while working as a portrait artist at Six Flags Over Georgia in 1974 that friends urged him to consider art school. Donald moved to Chicago and to attend the American Academy of Art. He was mentored by fine arts critic Earl Calloway who introduced him to the likes of actress Pam Grier and Michael and Janet Jackson.

Following college, Donald moved to California to find a job in his field. He also found his wife Karen. A friend who was interviewing at Disney took Donald's portfolio with him and Donald was offered a job. During his years with Disney, his involvement in the movie "TRON," the first computer generated imagery in a live action film, laid the groundwork for work with the Thomas Kinkade Company as a digital concept artist.

When the new Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley Hospital was being completed in 2018, Donald was selected to be a part of the new Art of Healing Committee that was responsible for locating and purchasing artwork for the new hospital. The goal of the committee was to raise awareness of the value of art as a positive and uplifting influence on the community. Once their job at the hospital was completed, the committee formed what is now the Tehachapi Arts Commission, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that is responsible for the Art 2023 Tehachapi show that will be taking place the weekend of July 21-23. Donald Towns is the Vice President of the Tehachapi Arts Commission.

For the third consecutive year Donald Towns will be taking part in the nationally recognized art show. He and 48 other artists from all over the country will be spending the second weekend of May creating paintings in and around Tehachapi that will be juried into the July show. Donald and the Tehachapi Arts Commission invite all art lovers to be part of the opening event of Art 2023 Tehachapi on July 21 at 5 p.m. at Aspen Builders Community Center, located at 410 W. D Street in Tehachapi. At this private event, guests will be able to stroll the aisles, meet Donald Towns and the other artists and perhaps purchase a painting while sampling hors d'oeuvres, drinks from open bars and award winning wines from Dorner Family Vineyard. During the evening, awards will be given for the Best of Show, Best Landscape, Best Urban and Best Still Life. Returning this year will be Charles Muench, winner of last year's Best of Show painting "Bear Mountain Overlook."

Advance tickets only for this special event on July 21 are $125 and are available at http://www.eventbrite.com. Save the date, purchase your ticket and be ready for an evening of art appreciation while visiting with all the artists.