Give “The Gift of Art” and donate to a public school art program. Room 13 LA, with the support of Contemporary Art Start at MOCA, are holding art workshops and selling student and professional art at the Hold Up Art Gallery through Jan. 8, 2011. All proceeds benefit Room 13 LA, a multimedia art studio public school program in South Central Los Angeles. The art program is managed and financed by the art students ages 10 to 18.

Funding for art in public schools has been difficult with budget cuts in education recently. More than half of the art classes in elementary schools and high schools have been cut, explained Room 13 LA art teacher John Midby at the Dec. 10 opening reception. The Foshay Learning Center in Los Angeles provides the space for Room 13 LA students to work in; however, the students have to raise the funds to keep the program going. The annual cost for the art program is about $8,000, according to Midby.

The fundraiser, called “The Gift of Art,” opened to the public Dec. 11 at the Hold Up Art Gallery. Many of the art students were in attendance at the opening night, hosting perspective art buyers, friends and family.

“Students in the art program learn 21st century skills on how to work with and around other people,” Midby continued to say at the opening. “They learn to be an artist and be with other artists, and they learn entrepreneurial skills.”

The Gallery also has professional art for sale. Susana “Timoi” De Leon, a freelance and commission artist selling many pieces of art work to help benefit the art program, is a former artist in residence at Room 13 LA. She taught the young students how to express themselves through creativity.

“It is rewarding to see them grow in their work,” she said Dec. 10. “The younger they are, the more open they are to learning.”

“The productive quality of the student’s work depends on the student participation and seriousness,” Midby offered. “It’s fun to hang out in Room 13 LA, and it’s fun for people to work with us.”

Timoi enjoyed teaching art to the students.

“It is rewarding and fun to work with the kids,” she said. “They make me laugh.”

May Vasquez is a senior at Room 13 LA and the art director. The art student took pictures of people who attended the opening for a photo collage that is located at the entrance of the gallery.

“Photography is my favorite,” the budding artist said. She plans on continuing her photography work after she graduates high school in June; however, she plans to attend a California university to study communications with an emphasis in public relations next fall.

“I’ve been accepted to the University of [California,] Santa Barbara, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Long Beach State and CSUN,” she said. She also sold a work of art on the opening night.

The art for sale at the gallery includes black and white photography, color photography, sketches, watercolor, acrylic paint, oil paint, colored pencil, aerosol and many other forms of artwork. Midby said that the gallery is hoping to raise $10,000 from donations and art sales.

The art workshops are held on Sundays throughout the monthlong fundraiser. They include: “Gifts of Art with Room 13,” creating pop-up cards for the holidays on Dec. 19; “Art Hold Up at Hold Up Art,” creating variations of the best pieces of art in the gallery on Dec. 26; “Resolve to Do Art with Blue Rooster Studio,” teaching silk screening and giving acrylic art demonstrations on Jan. 2. Each workshop is held at the Hold Up Art Gallery for all ages and the cost is a suggested donation of $5 or more.

Hold Up Art is located at 358 E. 2 St., Los Angeles. For more information, visit