Rod Rangel is an artist who also enjoys volunteering. By combining the two interests, he brings awareness and enjoyment of the arts to local students.
In 1996, when his daughter was in kindergarten, Rangel started helping with the Art Masters Program at Oak Grove Elementary School. He heard the Oak Grove Reflections Program needed a chairperson. Reflections is the National PTA’s Arts Recognition Program.
“I’m passionate about art,” said Rangel, who became the chairman. “I wanted them [the students] to be recognized. We raised money and bought them medals and the principal shook their hands."
When Rangel’s son and daughter were in middle school, he got involved with Reflections at Don Juan Avila Middle School and Aliso Niguel High School. In 2007, he started judging entries in the visual arts category. He appoints judges who have expertise in the other categories (literature, dance choreography, photography, musical composition and film production).
Rangel was always interested in art, but wasn’t able to pursue his talent until adulthood. “I was raised in a gang area and people didn’t talk about art,” he said.
Rangel became a carpenter because he liked working with his hands. In his 20s, he was working at Mammoth Mountain Resort for Larry Walker, an artist who ran the art and sign departments for the ski area. Walker gave Rangel special projects and recognized Rangel’s talent.
“I learned about sandblasting, silk screening and woodcuts design,” Rangel said.
Walker told Rangel about an art class at the local junior college. The teacher liked Rangel’s work and compared it to famed artist Edvard Munch.
“This was the first time I had an artist say I was really good,” said Rangel, who then entered two of his paintings in a local show. But when a buyer made an offer, he initially hesitated.
“I didn’t really want to sell it. It was my first painting,” he said. But after changing his mind and making the sale, “that’s when it clicked that I was an artist.”
Rangel said his wife, Robin Rangel, has always supported his art and his volunteer work. When his daughter, Chenoa, now 21, was a student at Dimitri Kulov Classical Ballet Academy in Aliso Viejo, the whole family, including son Gabriel, now 18, volunteered together.
Robin helped backstage at rehearsals and performances while Rod and Gabriel moved lights, set up backdrops and put down flooring. Rod also made tamales and donated some of his woodcuts to be auctioned at a fundraiser.
Rod said he always wanted to volunteer, because his mother was a very giving person. “My mother never hesitated to do something nice,” he said.
In 2011, the City of Aliso Viejo named Rod as Citizen of the Year for his volunteer work in the community.
As a member of the Events Committee for the Aliso Viejo Community Association (AVCA), Rod helps to organize holiday events, movie nights and concerts in Grand Park. At those events, his activities range from painting a flag on the hillside for the Fourth of July to cooking pancakes for the breakfast at the AVCA Fall Event.
For the city, Rod volunteers at the annual , the Snow Fest and the Aliso Viejo Community Cup golf tournament.
Rod said he gets much gratification from being an artist andvolunteering. He said he tells his children, “Just do your thing and others will like it. Not everyone, but there will always be someone who will.”
To learn more about the Reflections Art Program, visit www.capta.org. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 8.