PITTSBURG -- Art is going to bat for books, thanks to an upcoming Pittsburg Rotary Club event that will raise money for club literacy programs in local schools.

Several local artists and photographers are contributing works for the Arts & Crafts for Literacy event, the first of its kind for the club.

"It's people getting together for a good cause," said photographer Devin Dobson, a Rotary Club member who came up with the idea for the fundraiser.

"Food, music and art, it's pretty simple. We are going to have live auctions and silent auctions," said Dobson, who is also contributing some of his photos.

The club's best-known effort to improve literacy is the distribution of new hardback copies of the American Heritage Children's Dictionary to third-graders in public schools. Third-graders who go to St. Peter Martyr and Christian Center School also get the dictionaries.

Most of the $10,000 yearly cost of the dictionary program is funded by a grant from the Keller Canyon Mitigation Fund, said Enrique Palacios, president of the Rotary Club and deputy superintendent for the Pittsburg Unified School District.

"Those mitigation funds are there, but they are competitive.

"We, as an organization, have to look at different ways to continue the program. This has been a very successful program for close to 20 years," he said.


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"It's a great tradition," said school board member Laura Canciamilla, who is donating a couple of travel photos she took while on a guided people-to-people tour of Havana, Cuba. "Literacy is a huge focus in the district."

The fundraiser will also help other Rotary Club literary efforts.

Club members also work with the Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce to do mock job interviews with high school students so they will be better prepared when going on job interviews. Club members also work with Pittsburg Unified teachers to recruit members of the community to read to elementary school students. This year's event was to take place this week.

In addition to photographs contributed by Canciamilla and Dobson, three painters -- Joe Nagbe, Tom O'Brian and Mark Roberts -- are also participating. Half of the proceeds from the sale of the various art works will go toward the club's literacy programs, Dobson said. There is still time for other artists and photographers to contribute.

Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.

IF YOU'RE INTERESTED
What: Arts & Crafts for Literacy
When: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., March 15
Where: Pittsburg Senior Center, 300 Presidio Lane.
Admission: $20
Info: 925-584-7395