It was a great school, which (as most of these places are) back then was run mostly on love and was always short of funds, and running bake sales, etc.
I had this idea to create artwork of the students, and then hold a fund-raising art show somewhere in town. I figured that the parents would love to have a drawing of their little ones, and that would be a great way to raise funds for the conservatory.
The best gallery in town, Chevrier's Presidio Gallery, which was run by a very nice couple, agreed to host the exhibition and donate proceeds, which was a very generous thing.
And so I started to hang around the ballet a lot, getting permission from the parents, sketching the dances, both the little ones and the professionals, and after about a year, I had over a hundred works, of which I selected and framed about 50, and matted and shrink-wrapped the rest.
Opening night was sometime in early 1992.
The buzz had started earlier, and because this is Sonoma, the jewel of California's wine country and the home of its wine aristocracy, there was some interesting issues that arose from the event.
For example, the grandmother of one very famous wine family called the gallery a few days ahead of time, and informed the gallerist that she would like to pre-purchase all of the works where any of her grandchildren were the subject of, or part of (I had done many multi-people drawings). And so it happened that little Amber, who was actually a teen at the time, and a very good ballerina, happened to be in at least 20 different works (both framed and matted) and they all ended up with grandma, before the show opened.
This, unexpectedly, or perhaps predictably, caused a ruckus on opening night, as parents and families filed in to discover that some of the pieces where their loved ones were part of, had been pre-sold and thus gone.
The poor gallerist caught hell from a parent or two, although usually their child could be found in another piece.
The entire show sold out on opening night... every single piece.
A while back, while cleaning the studio, I discovered one piece that had never made it to the show... I recognized the little girl too.
To make a long story short, it is now heading to California, 22 years later!