Samantha Rivera

Trenton artist Samantha Rivera kicks off the 2018 art year with the opening of her solo exhibition on Friday, January 5, at 7 p.m. at Trenton Social Restaurant on South Broad Street.

The mother of two teenage daughters, Rivera says her life consists of raising her children, helping others, and furthering her art career.

She says her desire to paint was sparked when she saw artist Bob Ross on Public Broadcasting and became “inspired by his beautiful art and his calming voice.” Her interest was fed by art classes in high school.

The artist says that art disappeared from her life and returned only after a “great tragedy” that also led to the opening of a door in 2005 “for her to be able to fulfill her passion in art.”

That door was ArtSpace, a project of HomeFront. There Rivera says she received the encouragement of director Ruthann Traylor, who encouraged Rivera to “once again pick up a paintbrush” and remind her of “the happiness and sense of peace she felt when she created a piece of art.”

Rivera says she is now creating more pieces of art than ever. “The world is my play ground for art, exploring different mediums and techniques is my thing,” says the self-taught artist who incorporates life experiences, history, and spirituality into her scenes.

Currently with work in a HomeFront group exhibition at New Jersey Manufacturers in Ewing, Rivera also sells her art regionally and is striving to create situations where she can “help people and be able to share her art at the same time.”

She says she plans to have an art studio that provides assistance to help heal the mind, body, and soul through art and this exhibition is helping her “to continue building towards that future.”

The Art of Samantha Rivera, Trenton Social, 449 South Broad Street, Trenton, 7 p.m. opening event on Friday, January 5, 7 p.m. through closing, and on view through February 1. Free. 609-989-7777 or facebook.com/trentonsocial.