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Jennings Honored by Ian M Hassett Foundation back button

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A high school teacher who goes above and beyond to spread the joy of art is being honored by the Ian M Hassett Foundation.

Autumn Jennings was Ian’s art teacher at Righetti High School. Her student lost his battle with cancer at 19 in 2012, and it was then that the foundation was formed to provide free art supplies, grants, shows and offer classes to disabled adults in the community.

A celebration honoring Autumn Jennings takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on October 15 at Presqu’ile Winery.

Foundation Finance Director Stefanie Hassett said Jennings was selected for her tireless work encouraging and equipping young artists with the skills needed to achieve their goals as well as the lasting relationships she continues to form with young artists.
Jennings, who now teaches art at Santa Maria High School, believes it’s an honor to help serve this family and keep the memory of Ian Hassett alive.

“Ian was an outstanding art student at RHS where I taught him for three years and we kept in touch after graduation. He was the kind of young man that parents and teachers hope for: very high performing academically, talented in music and art, kind, and mature, with a dry ironic sense of humor. His cancer diagnosis came within a year of
graduation, not long after returning home from a summer art intensive program at UCLA. As Ian went from regular chemo to clinical trials we slowly came to understand that things weren't going the way we'd hoped. A bone marrow match couldn't be found quickly enough. His mother contacted me to help arrange a final
wish - to have his artwork displayed in a gallery show. His drawings and sculpture were shown at the C Gallery and the Channing Peak Gallery through the City of Santa Barbara's Arts Commission, but Ian couldn't come to the openings. He passed away at 19 years old.’’

Jennings added “Before he died his parents asked Ian what he wanted them to do with the money that the community had raised to help fund his fight against cancer. He asked them to use it for an art scholarship. You may have seen their 1960s Shasta trailer parked at your school or at AHC. They are always accepting new and gently used art supplies to distribute to local students.’’


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