The Santa Maria Public Library will host its first art exhibition and invites the public to view the artwork.

The free show opened in Shepard Hall, just off the lobby, on Aug. 23 and runs through Sept. 30.

“With the opening of the new Santa Maria Public Library, I am excited by the rich opportunities it presents to the community,” said John Hood, a fine-arts faculty member at Allan Hancock College and the Santa Barbara County 5th District arts commissioner. “The availability of the spacious and well-designed Shepard Hall is a welcomed addition to our creative community. A new facility where artworks can be displayed in a professional setting is a gift to the general public.

“I have gathered together a group of emerging artists possessing rich, diverse backgrounds and styles. Each artist has a close relationship to the Santa Maria Valley, and over the years this has informed their approach to the art-making process. The work represents not only quality but also bold responses to contemporary issues.

“To be offered a chance to showcase contemporary art in Santa Maria is a rare treat. With this inaugural exhibit, we hope to challenge its audience, young and old, to pursue all creative and educational interests.”

Questions about exhibiting art at the library may be directed to city graphics technician Deborah Hildinger at the Santa Maria Public Library at 805.925.0951, ext. 117. Questions about the current exhibit and its artists may be directed to Hood at 805.922.6966, ext. 3705.

Mark van de Kamp represents the Santa Maria city manager’s office.