Pouring colored sand from a spoon into a small clear glass jar, 9-year-old Bianca Pinedo created layer upon layer of oceans, mountains and skylines.
"I want to be an artist," the quiet young girl said. "I love art."
Bianca's ambition brought her father, Ricardo, and brother Adrian, 8, to the First Annual Midtown Art Feast--a fete that drew scores of onlookers over the weekend for a studio tour to view the works of painters, poets and sculptors.
Organizers said the event raised at least $1,000 for the 7-month-old Midtown Resource Center, an office in a Thompson Boulevard strip mall that serves as a police and city government information center.
Most of the money was raised Saturday night at a barbecue hosted by the Midtown Ventura Community Council, which founded the center in March.
"There has been nothing but positive responses from everybody," said council co-president and event organizer Dan "Sandman" Long, one of about a dozen local artists who opened their studios.
But fund-raising seemed far from the minds of artists and onlookers Sunday.
Fourth-generation Ventura resident Gwendolyn Alley used the day to show off the paintings and poetry scattered around her house, discussing the connection between language and art.
Bringing the artists closer to their community was another reason for the event, Long said.
"That's what it's all about," he said. "Sharing your art, talking to people, getting their reaction."