YouTube video

At 10 a.m. Saturday, SafeLaunch’s teen artists will fly the Cessna airplane they painted at Above All Aviation.

On May 18, SafeLaunch encouraged local teens with a flare for art to express their feelings about addiction and the vulnerable adolescent brain.

“Most planes are screaming for authentic art,” said SafeLaunch co-founder Ron Cuff, a retired Navy commander and pilot. “It was fun to see what the young artists did in a few short hours. And, following the event, all of the artists were offered the opportunity to pilot the very same airplane. They accepted the challenge without hesitation.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara students painted under the direction of artist Bill O’Malley and youth leader Jessica Cardona. They were followed by two teams from the Santa Barbara Arts Alliance under the direction of Miguel Rodriquez and Danny Meza.

“We work with youth to launch them into adulthood with all the necessary life skills to make healthy choices throughout their lives,” said Ricardo Venegas, who coordinates the Santa Barbara City Arts Alliance program.

“SafeLaunch is practicing the art of prevention by sponsoring challenges that encourage youth to learn about the disease of addiction through creativity and problem solving,” SafeLaunch co-founder Janet Rowse said. “The name ‘Fly Above Addiction’ was coined by the artists from the downtown Boys & Girls Club.”

Sponsored by SafeLaunch and hosted at Above All Aviation, “Fly Above Addiction” is the inaugural SafeLaunch plane painting event in a series planned for several local airports this fall.

Flights are provided by Above All Aviation, a flight school located beneath the airport control tower at 1523 Cook Place in Santa Barbara. For more information, call Rowse at 805.283.7233.

— Janet Rowse is the co-founder of SafeLaunch.