Unique images of pre-state Israel by the late Armenian photographer Elia Kahvedjian are presented at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center through June 30.

Kahvedjian, who died in 1999, took the photos dating back to 1924. Although some scenes were planned, most of the images were chance opportunities.

The show is called "Elia Kahvedjian: The Invisible Photographer," based on the artist's nickname which alludes to his ability to overcome his own shyness as well as cultural barriers and restrictions.

Kahvedjian, who was born in 1910 in an area formerly Armenian, faced countless horrors in his youth. Eventually, at age 14, he was sent to an orphanage in Nazareth where a teacher inspired his passion for photography.

A special event is scheduled from 6:30 to 8 p.m. May 9 when Laura Dirtadian, granddaughter of Elia Kahvedjian, and other family members will share the artist's personal history and highlights of his career. The reception event is free, but reservations are encouraged. Call 650-378-2702.

The exhibition may be seen from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The PJCC is at 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City. Call 650-212-7522 or visit www.pjcc.org.

Arts recognition

City Arts of San Mateo is celebrating its 13th annual High School Arts Recognition Program for students at Aragon High School, Hillsdale High and San Mateo High School in San Mateo. The program includes Visual Arts and Literary Arts categories.

Awards will be presented at a public reception which begins at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Oak Room at San Mateo Public Library, 55 W. Third Ave. The guest speaker is Margot H. Knight, executive director of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program.

Two $500 grand prizes will be presented as well as $200 first place awards and honorable mention gift certificates in the Visual Arts and Literary Arts categories for each school.

Student work is on view through April 30 in the library's first floor gallery and also on the second floor. Library hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

City Arts of San Mateo is a nonprofit organization helping to create, connect and celebrate the arts in San Mateo. Call 650-522-7522 ext. 2787, or visit www.cityartsofsanmateo.org.

Meet the artists

A reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday celebrates a new exhibit of work by Denny Holland, Joyce Savre, Ruth Waters, Ferenc Besze, Jim E. Kirkland and Janella Thodos at Galerie Mistral.

The show will be on view through mid-July. The gallery is in Mistral Restaurant at 370 Bridge Parkway, Redwood Shores. Call 650-596-0868 or e-mail gailsjoman@artliaisons.com.

Linda Salter exhibit

A reception from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday celebrates the "Friends and Family" show of portraits in oil and pastel of people and animals by Linda Salter at the Portola Art Gallery.

The exhibit will be on view through April 30. The Portola Art Gallery is at the Allied Arts Guild, 75 Arbor Road, Menlo Park. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Call 650-321-0220 or visit www.portolaartgallery.com.

Art and beauty

Professor Mohsen Janatpour will present the lecture and art exhibition "Shouldn't Art Be Beautiful?" at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the College of San Mateo Theatre. A reception will follow the lecture. Admission is free.

Janatpour's lecture and exhibition are sponsored by the Associated Students and the Math/Science Division of College of San Mateo.

In addition to the art presentations, telescopes will be set up on front of the theater for attendees to enjoy views of Saturn with the majestic ring system and other celestial wonders. (Telescopes are courtesy of the San Mateo County Astronomical Society and the CSM Astronomy Department.)

The college is at 1700 W. Hillsdale Blvd., San Mateo. For parking, Beethoven lots C, D and E are closest to the event. See a campus map at www.collegeofsanmateo.edu/map. Call 650-574-6272 or visit www.mohsensart.com for more information.

San Carlos arts

The San Carlos Fine Art Association's Spring Gallery Art Show will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the San Carlos Adult Community Center, 601 Chestnut St., San Carlos.

The association, which was formed in 1972, focuses primarily on the visual arts. It produces two annual events and also holds monthly meetings the first Monday of the month except for January, July, September and December. For more information, contact Alisan Andrews at 650-400-8623 or visit alisanandrews@yahoo.com.

On watercolor

Artist Sharon Hogan will give a watercolor demonstration at the next meeting of the Society of Western Artists (SWA). It begins at 1 p.m. April 20 at the SWA Headquarters Gallery at 2625 Broadway, Redwood City. The meeting is free and open to the public. Call Judith Puccini at 650-737-6084.

Information on visual and literary arts can be sent to Bonny Zanardi at bzanardi@aol.com.