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Mario Uribe’s Zen-inspired art on display at Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club

Artist Mario Uribe doesn’t seem the country-club sort of guy.

Reared in Mexico and trained in Japan, Uribe is the contemplative, activist painter who’s arguably done the most to create and encourage public art in Sonoma County.

You might not expect to see an exhibit of the ArtStart co-founder’s work at the private Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club, but he was pleased to be invited there. And he’s liking how his Zen-inspired work plays at the Mediterranean-style clubhouse.

“It looks like it belongs there,” Uribe said.

We’re all invited to a reception and informal talk by Uribe at the country club from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27.

The exhibit is up until Dec. 4. If you’re not a club member but would like to see it sometime other than at the reception, drop Audrey Darby a line at audreyinhberg@gmail.com.

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STOP BY THE FINLEY CENTER: Take an unrushed walk down the long hallway to the right of the front doors at the community center off West College Avenue and Stony Point Road, and see if you aren’t stirred by the time you reach the end.

Lined up tightly along a wall of the center are nearly 60 paintings by a relative newcomer to art, Vietnam veteran and retired nurse practitioner Cliff Strother.

His oils portray the Montagnards, the indigenous people of Vietnam’s Central Highlands who fought alongside U.S. Special Forces. Strother, who served as a medic in 1966-67, is one of many Green Berets who made it home because of the Montagnards.

“I have always loved these people as they saved my life many times,” Strother, 70, wrote on a note accompanying his contribution to the “On Your Own Time” art exhibit.

The husband of former art teacher Paula Strother, he began making art just four years back, when he retired and the Vietnam memories and emotions he’d bottled up for decades started to percolate.

This is the first public show by an artist who knows his work isn’t refined.

“It’s very primitive, very simple,” he said. “But it’s a very cathartic thing to do.”

His paintings pay tribute to a largely forgotten people who paid dearly for befriending Americans several wars ago.

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VIVA LA BIBLIOTECA: When Herman Hernandez Sr. broadcast a request for donations to the quest to open a temporary library in the Roseland district of Santa Rosa, he hoped he might collect $2,500.

Thanks largely to the longtime Guerneville community leader and chairman of Los Cien, the Latino leadership group, the Indiegogo funding appeal for a library at the site of Sebastopol Road’s old Furniture 2000 store has brought in more than $18,000.

With the matching dollars put up by Community Foundation Sonoma County and other benefactors, that $18,000 will become nearly $40,000. Funds came also from the Sonoma County Public Library and the library foundation, and as a result the first phase of a Roseland Village Library is set to open this fall.

Said an elated Herman Hernandez, whose son by the same name also responded grandly to the quest for funds, “I can’t tell you how generous this community is when it sees an initiative of value.”

Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @CJSPD.

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