FAIRFIELD — Dorothy Herger sat Thursday in the art gallery named after her and remembered the origins of art instruction at Solano Community College that reach back to a basement at Vallejo High School.
That was where, more than a half-century ago, Herger began the program at the community college that then shared quarters with the high school.
The Home for the Holidays event arranged by the college art department to celebrate the new Fine Arts Building and showcase Solano College’s art program suggests the journey art here has taken from its modest origins, Herger said.
Herger, an art instructor at Solano College from 1946 until her retirement in 1985, sat in the gallery with its track lighting, high ceiling and moveable panels. Above her were three paintings by artist Deanna Forbes, whom Herger knows and whose work she praised.
Fairfield resident Shirley Ensor, 71, a former student at Solano College, was among visitors to the gallery Thursday.
“I always love their stuff,” she said. “It’s delightful.”
Herger said art in Solano County benefits by being near a big city.
“It’s like a tributary of San Francisco,” Herger said. “We’re on the edge.”
She recalled the 1960s when people moved into warehouses and lived in studios in San Francisco for the freedom such a life offered.
“They could do anything they wanted to and call it art,” Herger said.
Preceding them were the World War II veterans whose interest in education and the employment that followed helped Solano College grow, she recounted.
“The veterans in Vallejo weren’t taking art classes,” she said. “They were interested in a job.”
Contemporary art as represented by such works as Jackson Pollock paintings spurs negative reactions from some because the artwork is not understood, she said.
“It’s a threat,” the retired art instructor said.
Still, not all that is modern is compelling, Herger said.
“I walk right by a lot of stuff,” she said.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or email@example.com.