BASIC Circle of Art Showcases Fine Art For Good Cause


Last updated 4/1/2022 at 10:10am

From exquisite paintings done in oil and watercolors, photographs of the Anza-Borrego Desert, eccentric handmade jewelry, to fabric art and ceramics. All types of unique mediums graced Christmas Circle on March 12 and 13, as part of BASIC's annual Circle of Art Show and Sale, their major fundraiser of the year.

The Circle of Art is sponsored by Basic Assistance to Students in the Community (BASIC), a 501 (c)(3) charitable nonprofit committed to enabling the children, youth and adults of Borrego Springs to pursue educational opportunities at all levels. Empowering them from Cradle to Graduation by offering grants, scholarships and programs to help students of all ages reach their potential and realize their dreams.

This outdoor fine arts show and sale was free to the public, featuring over 40 exhibitors from all over the country. After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the show was back, and many were able to enjoy creative artworks by all the talented vendors.

Angela Cassidy, Chairperson of BASIC's Circle of Art this year, was very pleased with the turn out of the variety of artists and mediums, even crediting the beautiful weekend weather Borrego had to offer.

Cassidy, who is from Indiana, came to visit family in Borrego, and soon fell in love with everything here, and became very involved with programs in town.

"I never thought I would be chair for a wonderful event, but I am really glad I am," she exclaimed.

Cassidy also noted that she works with BASIC to try to get different artists and mediums every year, but is so glad for all those who love to continue to come and showcase their work for a great cause.

At the BASIC booth, those who attended had the chance to learn about the program and what they do to support the community. Displayed were poster winners from over the years for sale, with all proceeds going toward funding BASIC and providing scholarships.

This year, artist of the year is Larry Hemmerich, whose artwork is described as a "window into (his) love for the natural world around (him)."

Also on display in the booth was a rare opportunity to own an original painting by Dillie Thomas who was chosen as BASIC's artist of the year in both 1992 and 1998. Thomas was one of the most prominent California Desert oil painters, whose work is found throughout the United States, Canada and Japan.

There was also a silent auction for a quite different artwork: a Jeroboam wine bottle (empty). On it, an engraved poster by David Salk, who was artist of the year in 2000.

An eye catcher at this year's event were beautiful paintings made by the parents of Dusty King, whose parents were frequent visitors of Borrego. His parents used to come to Borrego and stay at the Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort, staying for at least a month, and would go out into the Anza-Borrego Desert and paint.

Also showcasing artwork, from photographs to paintings, at the Circle of Art was the Borrego Springs Art Guild. The Guild is the oldest art organization in Borrego, formed in 1972.

The purpose of the Borrego Springs Art Guild is to facilitate the enjoyment of art and the promotion of the arts in Borrego Springs. The Guild sponsors an annual Art Show & Sale and is open to guild members as well as artists from throughout the region.

An interesting art form was showcased at the event, Gourd Art by Julia Aubrey. Aubrey is a native of the Inland Empire, a wife, and mother of four.

While her children were in their teens, she took a couple of tole painting classes. During an eight-year move to Yuma, Arizona, she discovered a gourd creation of three Kachinas in a gift shop and fell in love. When she moved back to California in 2006, she was encouraged to paint again. In 2010, she began to use gourds as her canvas and quickly became addicted. She taught herself to wood burn, carve and weave on gourds through the Internet and books, spending numerous hours on each piece. She uses acrylics, dyes, colored pencils, two part epoxy, beads, and materials found in nature to accent her art. Through the support and encouragement of clients and family she has grown her talent and hopes to continue for many years to come.

Husband and wife duo – Robert Fleming and Nancy Lynn – were also in attendance, and artists based out of Bermuda Dunes. The duo specializes in watercolor and acrylic paintings. Their paintings range from birds having a snack on some cactus, beautiful growing ocotillo in Borrego to San Diego landmarks and even golfers.

Bob was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. His high school art teacher was a major influence on his decision to pursue an art career, and he managed to obtain his formal art training at Miami University in Ohio with an emphasis on illustration and graphic design. After beginning his art career at Hallmark Cards, Bob began working as a graphic designer at KTVU in Oakland. Since then, Bob's technique has evolved over the years into the wet-in-wet technique. His original watercolor paintings convey a fresh and spontaneous feeling. He is now starting his 52nd year as a professional artist.

When he isn't doing art shows in the West or giving art lessons, you can find Bob kayaking, hiking, playing tennis or golfing.

Nancy was born and raised in Burbank. Despite being an artist since high school, she did not actively pursue the art profession until after raising two daughters. She graduated from Cal State Northridge with an emphasis on two-dimensional fine art. Her style ranges from soft contemporary impressionism to abstractions. Nancy has been a poster artist in many shows with her work showcased in several galleries and private collections. She is now starting her 30th year as a professional artist. She shows her work primarily in the West. When she's not doing art shows, you can find her kayaking, playing tennis, or at Zumba.

It was yet another fantastic and successful show put on by the hands of the BASIC committee members and volunteers, along with the vendors displaying and sharing their art for all to see. What a great time that was had by all to support the students of Borrego Springs.

If you would like to support the community by contributing to the education of our youth and to learn more, please visit

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