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Carnegie Arts Center Show Highlights Saletta Sculptures

One of the valley’s most recognizable talents, Betty Saletta has been creating sculpture in her Oakdale studio for more than 25 years. Now, local residents can attend a special exhibit of her work at the Carnegie Arts Center, 250 N. Broadway in Turlock.

After many years in a graphic arts career, Saletta was introduced to the practice of casting bronze sculpture. She has said that she was drawn to the freedom sculpting affords her to explore the complex beauty of the human figure and animals – the lines and masses of living forms are too interesting to be limited to a single view or two-dimensional representations.

Her lifelong interest in horses and the people who use them has shaped her work to a large extent. While not strictly a “Western artist,” many of Saletta’s recurring themes are of the cowboy, Native Americans, and the animals of the west.

Saletta may be best known in the Central Valley for her work on public art projects and monuments. Some of her iconic images include the statue of Chief Estanislao in front of the Stanislaus County Courthouse, the Oakdale Cowboy ‘Yesterday Is Tomorrow’ sculpture in the heart of Oakdale, the American Graffiti Kids on Modesto’s cruise route, and Stockton’s Memorial to Fallen Firefighters.

The retrospective exhibition at the Carnegie Arts Center will include maquettes and studies for public art projects, as well as small scale bronzes and portraits, allowing the viewer some insight into the complicated process of composing, modeling, enlarging, and finally casting works in bronze.

The exhibit runs through March 20 at the Arts Center’s Ferrari gallery. For more information, call (209)-632-5761.


Carnegie Arts Center is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.