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Welcome to watercolors in Firehouse gallery

Exhibit draws renowned artists with variety of styles

The California Watercolor Association opens its annual National Exhibition at the Harrington Gallery on Friday, with a public reception from 1-3 p.m. Saturday.

This the fourth time for the Firehouse Arts Center gallery to host the annual juried art exhibit, which will remain through Feb. 16. Although the association is based in California, the show draws artists from across the country and internationally.

Jurors select one work from each artist, with a variety of styles and water-based media techniques from realism to abstract and from intense and vibrant to transparent and ethereal.

Twenty-five awards of cash and prizes will be presented at the reception. Guests are welcome to explore the exhibit and chat with the artists. Light refreshments will be served.

This year the selection juror was Iain Stewart, and the awards juror was Karen Frey, both nationally recognized artists and signature members of the American Watercolor Society and the National Watercolor Society.

Throughout the length of the exhibit, member artists will give free watercolor demonstrations on some Wednesdays at the gallery. The schedule is as follows:

* Jan. 23: David Savellano

* Jan. 30: Sue Johnston

* Feb. 6: Ruth Miller

* Feb. 13: Carolyn Lord.

More information can be found about them on their websites.

The city's Young @ Art program is offering a special class connected to the exhibit for ages 5-11, "Water+Color=Fun!" from 4:30-5:45 p.m. Feb. 7. Participants will explore the exhibit then create their own work of art in the studio workshop upstairs. Register at www.pleasantonfun.com, code 8853. Fees are $18 for Pleasanton residents; $21 for non-residents.

Firehouse Arts Center is located at 4444 Railroad Ave. Gallery hours are 12-5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays; and one hour before performances and during intermissions. Admission to the exhibit is free, and donations are gratefully accepted.

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