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Amber gives back to the Lompoc arts program where she got her start

by Joshua D. Scroggin
September 28, 2017
Representatives from CoastHills, First Thursdays and the Lompoc Arts Council pose with a check for $1,000.
From left, First Thursdays founder Louie Regalado, CoastHills lending specialist Amber Anderson, Lompoc Arts Council treasurer Vicki Anderson and First Thursdays volunteer Jas Wilder present a $1,000 check that will help support future First Thursdays events in Lompoc.

Just over two years ago, Amber Anderson turned her passion for art and music into more than just a hobby. The CoastHills Lending Specialist quickly became a local Lompoc fixture — strumming her guitar and singing at wineries and events. It was due to the support of an active community of like-minded art lovers that Amber was inspired to take it to the next level.

Although she had never really played for an audience before July of 2015, she was encouraged by Louie Regalado to perform at his First Thursdays event.

After all, she had to start somewhere.

Louie started First Thursdays in 2011 with some friends in the lobby of a print shop with the goal of supporting Lompoc artists and giving them a platform to showcase their work or performance.

While he was initially just thrilled if anyone showed up at all, these days, First Thursdays usually brings in around 200 people — mostly newcomers.

Amber participates in the CoastHills voluntary employee giving program “I’m All In” because she believes in giving back to the community that has given her so much. In the “I’m All In” program, employees donate into a pool directly from their paychecks, and every quarter five participants are randomly selected to each give a $1,000 donation to a community nonprofit.

When Amber’s name was drawn in June, she knew she could bring joy to the local art community that inspired her to follow her dreams. She selected the Lompoc Arts Council, a nonprofit that acts as a hub for the different community arts groups that make Lompoc so unique — including the iconic murals, the Stone Pine Hall sculpture garden, and First Thursdays.   

Thanks to Amber’s donation, First Thursdays will be able to expand their platform. Local artists, whether they’re gallery veterans or a student proud of what they made in art class, can find a place for their art at the events they host at local small businesses. Louie invites local musicians and dance groups to perform, and he coordinates food and refreshments for guests to enjoy. All are welcome, which means that he even acquires handicapped accessible portable toilets when the hosting venue doesn’t have accommodations available. What’s more, the events are 100% free because he believes that art should be accessible to all.

Interested in the arts? The Lompoc Arts Council needs volunteers, and Vicki Andersen, treasurer, can be reached through the Council's Facebook page. Are you a local artist, performer, or small business owner seeking to be active in the community? More information on the next First Thursday’s event can be found by following their Facebook page.  

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