Meet the 2015 Empowering HeArts Artists

by | Nov 1, 2015 | Community

One of the most moving events of the year, Empowering HeArts is an annual celebration of women who have changed lives and shaped their communities. It bridges the worlds of social action and artistic expression in an annual arts competition.
Each year, the community nominates dozens of honorees, and the Single Mothers Outreach Board of Directors and Event Planning Committee selects six to be honored at the annual gala event.  Please join Single Mothers Outreach on November 7 in celebrating six persevering Santa Clarita women and six local artists, who create original works of art based on the honorees’ stories.  The event, serving wine and appetizers, will be held from 5-7 p.m. at Savia Community Center.
The Empowering Hearts Gala presents the creative works of Santa Clarita Valley artists who create unique and inspiring art forms inspired by these real life stories, and their work will be unveiled to the public at the gala event.  Six artists were chosen out of a very competitive field to create original works of art for each of this year’s honorees, depicting their story of perseverance and triumph in art.  Meet the six who were selected for 2015.

Jennifer Calderon is a journeyer who observes the world through pictures, both digital and analog.  As Owner and Photographer of snapARTphotography, she specializes in lifestyle, editorial and corporate photography.  Jennifer has traveled throughout California, across the U.S. and into Canada to shoot weddings, annual reports, and fine art, while towing her collection of digital and vintage films cameras along for the ride.

Chloe Joy deJong has been an artist since childhood.  She is the single mother of a 2-year-old boy and is currently attending Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design for her Bachelor’s Degree in illustration.  Chloe creates art about her relationship with God and the many struggles women face such as: sexism, body image, media depictions of females, bullying, depression and motherhood.  The majority of her art is inspired by her own personal experiences and the drive to empower women.

As a traditional and abstract painter of 15 years, painting has become the stillness of her thoughts and the voice of her sight.  Painting is her diary, her deliberation when she cannot speak.  The colors she uses are the spirits of her emotion and the love spewing from her heart.  She looks around at all the paintings she has made and sees that she has passion – the passion that she wants others to see, to make others realize that passion lies within them.  Her paintings are merely stories of the painted heart.  She paints to let passion live.  Painting is the silence of her chatter and the sparkle of her life.  Painting reveals her most secret self.  She is Kirby Lanier.

Falon Renteria grew up in Fresno, where she began drawing at 3 years old.  She enjoys many types of crafts and is self-taught in embroidery and crochet.  Her art is mixed media because she enjoys experimenting with medium and technique.  She is inspired by the human experience of pain, love, friendship, loss, and self-discovery.  This is the first time she has shown her art publicly.

Norma is a passionate photographer who finds beauty and uniqueness in everyday life.  She enjoys working on her photographs on her computer until the resulting images are artistic representations of what inspired her to take them.  Norma lives in Castaic and is the president of the Santa Clarita Artists Association.

Cecily Willis has been a Santa Clarita resident for the past 11 years.  She is a realistic watercolor painter who has recently exhibited in the Lancaster Museum of Art and History, where her painting “Batik Bather” won the silver in the watercolor category.  She was a corporate graphic designer for more than 40 years before she retired, having worked for both the Los Angeles Times and Farmer’s Insurance, among others. Cecily is a loving and grateful wife, proud mother of two, and grandmother of three.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit

Featured on our cover are the 2015 Empowering HeArts honorees: (Top L-R) Cynthia Smith, Tracy Hauser and Melanie Cross; (Bottom L-R) Kristin Drucker, Abi Caruthers and Alesia Humphries.

Photos by SchlickArt

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