Two for one is always a great deal — and it's even better when the cost is free. On Thursday, the Arts Council of Kern is opening an exhibition featuring the works of two artists: Aliza McCracken and RueDiaries.

McCracken's display will feature nine paintings, some of which are included in her book "Peaceful Moments: Creative Affirmations for Your Heart & Soul." The artist said the paintings and book complement each other in inspiring viewers to connect and create.

The book, which she will be signing at the event, includes a number of affirmations embodied in her contemporary works.

A key affirmation she encourages people to live by is "Life is the art of painting with amazing grace. Similar to a beautiful masterpiece, our lives can become a work of art — one moment at a time."

She said she would like her work to inspire others in their own pursuits.

"I hope to awaken the viewer in becoming their greatest selves, while experiencing a deeper sense of peace along their spiritual and cultural journey."

Also on display at the Access Center Gallery are "Love and Life," 12 paintings by Rue Loera, who paints under the name RueDiaries. The Bakersfield artist is self-taught and has been painting for six years. She exhibits her work as part of the First Friday Art Walk, which is overseen by the Arts Council. (Jeff Lemucchi, with the council, said that each exhibit at the gallery will include an Art Walk vendor.)

Like McCracken, Loera hopes to inspire viewers and give hope through her work.

"When we give someone hope, we give them a lifesaver they can hold onto and use at any moment," she wrote in her artist statement.

The opening reception will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the gallery, 1330 Truxtun Ave. It is free to attend and refreshments will be served.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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