Saratoga Rotary Art Show
Upcoming Speakers
Dr. Martin Hellman
Oct 20, 2017
Rethinking National Security
Katie Reid
Oct 27, 2017
Unblind My Mind: What are we eating?
An Old Time Radio Adventure
Nov 03, 2017
The Lone Ranger
Jeff Stoffer
Nov 10, 2017
The Psychology of Money,
Upcoming Events

Saratoga Rotary


Service Above Self

We meet Fridays at 12:15 PM
Saratoga Community Center
19655 Allendale Ave.
Saratoga, CA  95070
United States
Venue Map

Hello Rotarians,

Rotary-July 7-2017-1527.jpg Fellow members of the WGRC (World’s Greatest Rotary Club):

I chose “Building Bridges” as the theme for my year as Club President. Why?

I take my inspiration from the late Dr. Fred Armstrong, a former Saratoga Rotarian. A little more than 10 years ago, Dr. Armstrong organized a “Building Bridges” celebration at West Valley College: a day to experience, understand, and appreciate all the wonderfully diverse ethnic groups that call Saratoga home.

I had the pleasure of serving as the Master of Ceremonies that day, and I, along with the appreciative audience, was treated to a cavalcade of music, dancing, and other presentations celebrating the culture and history of The United States, Mexico, China, India, Iran, Ireland, and many others.

The event was a big success. But Dr. Armstrong did not go to the trouble solely for the sake of entertainment. He had lived in Saratoga for many years and had watched the ethnic make-up of his neighborhood gradually change. New families of high-tech engineers were moving in from India, China, and other countries, replacing the older, mostly European-Americans.

Not all of his older neighbors were happy about the changing landscape. Dr. Armstrong heard some hateful remarks being tossed about.

But wise and educated man that he was, Dr. Armstrong knew that ignorance breeds fear and fear breeds hatred. He decided to do something about it. Hence, with the help of fellow Rotarian Cynthia Chang and others, “Building Bridges” was born.

I am inspired, because Fred Armstrong made a huge effort to bring about change when he could have been playing golf or resting on his backside. His efforts to improve understanding between cultures could have been met with backlash, but he was undeterred. He had the courage to do the right thing.

I’ve been thinking about Dr. Armstrong ever since the start of the 2016 election cycle because of a disturbing national trend: Certain elements of our society have felt emboldened to come out from under their rocks and spew their vicious and twisted message. They go by many names: Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, White Nationalists, “Alt-right”, etc. Theirs is an ugly, divisive, and hate-filled rhetoric aimed at minorities, women, immigrants, and any other group that doesn’t fit the bigot’s idea of what Americans are supposed to look like. As an American and Rotarian, I am nauseated. As a white male, I am deeply embarrassed.

But I also see that this hatred (exploited to great effect by some politicians) is fueled by fear, which in turn is fueled by ignorance.

All humans are, to some extent, naturally suspicious of other cultures. This may have been a survival mechanism for early mankind when we all lived in tribes. It was important then to adopt easily recognizable signs to distinguish the members of your tribe from those of hostile tribes who might kill you. If you looked and talked like me, and wore the same clothes, the same hairstyle, the same jewelry, ate the same foods, carried the same tools, worshipped the same gods, you could be trusted.

Humans were primarily tribal hunter-gatherers for many hundreds of thousands of years. We have become sedentary farmers for only the last few thousand. We’ve become an international, interracial, intercultural world for only the last few hundred years. Not enough time to shed our xenophobic impulses, even though they no longer provide any survival benefit.

Education is the remedy. When we understand another culture, we cease to fear it. When we travel to another land and live among its denizens, we learn that, despite our cultural differences, we’re all the same. We’re all members of the same race.

Rotary International was founded in the United States by white men. But it has grown to be a powerful international force for good by being inclusive of men and women of all nationalities, races, and cultures.

So here’s where “Building Bridges” comes in:  As a culturally diverse group of Rotarians, and as respected civic leaders, we are uniquely positioned to be ambassadors of understanding and acceptance in our community. I wish to inspire my fellow Rotarians to help fill the current moral leadership void in Washington by speaking out against bigotry. Welcome the new arrivals. Extend the hand of friendship to your new neighbors. Learn about their culture and teach them about yours. If you hear xenophobic talk, counter it with positive messages of inclusion and acceptance. Apply the four-way test!

And invite them to a Rotary meeting!

Although I’m not a Christian, I find much to like in the Pope’s recent quote: “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian”.

I do not interpret the Pope’s use of the word “Christian” to exclude followers of other religions. I take him to mean “people who care about others”.

I believe Rotarians are included in that group.



Back on the Grass for 2017

It is with great pleasure and sincere thanks that I welcome you to the 2017 Saratoga Rotary Art Show. 

Saratoga Rotarians are proud of the 60 years of tradition this Art Show represents. Since our humble beginnings in the Village of Saratoga, the Art Show has grown considerably. Proceeds from the Art Show have given more than $2.5 million to local and international organizations. Recent recipients include the Saratoga and Los Gatos Assistance League, Latimer Elementary School, the Foothill Club, and Cancer Care Point. We also are partnering with Bangalore District Rotary on a large Water Sanitation and Hygiene project. This is why we can proudly call this Show “The Art Show That Keeps on Giving”.

West Valley College has been undergoing building renovation and re-landscaping as part of a 5 year plan. Fortunately, for 2017 we are able to place some of our artists back on the grass!

An Art Show of this size and complexity takes the combined effort of all 110 Rotarians, their spouses, friends, and many volunteers from our community. We are delighted to present work by 141 artists in a variety of categories: Painting, Sculpture, Jewelry, Fiber Art, Ceramics, Glass, Photography, and more. In the center of this catalog is a map of all Art, Food, and Entertainment as well as pages listing participating artists with a photo sample of their art.

Please recognize and take note of our Sponsors and the advertisements of many local businesses, along with well-wishers and supporters of the Show. We are extremely grateful for the support of our Sponsors, the hard-working Rotarians, and volunteers, all who help to make our Show successful.

This year, in addition to exquisite art you will also find:

• The Kids’ Korner and donkey-pulled wagon rides with “Ike” and “Betsy”

• On-stage live music and entertainment

• 10 Gourmet Food trucks located near Entertainment

• Wine and Craft Beer Tasting

• Art created by local elementary and middle school students

• Art-for-sale created by the students of West Valley College

• A Silent Auction with many fine and unique items

So welcome! Enjoy the day. We encourage you to purchase your favorite art to decorate your home, office, or to give as a unique gift for someone special. Taste some excellent local wines and craft beer while you stroll through the Show, taking in great art, food and entertainment.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support so we can continue being “The Art Show That Keeps on Giving”.

Doing good never felt so good!

Bill Comport, Chair

Saratoga Rotary Art Show

District 5170 had a little unclaimed District Donation Funds this year which it has used to provide 22 laptop computers for at-risk youth in our community.  At our February 17 meeting, District Governor Jeff Orth and Bob Goetsch, At-Risk Program coordinator, presented a laptop to a Saratoga High student.  This program was actually started by DG Jeff Orth about five years ago as a program to provide essentials like pajamas to foster youth.