Art After Dark Is a Special Event on the First Saturday Night Each Month in Paso Robles
The downtown art galleries stay open later than usual for Art After Dark. Some galleries serve food or wine. Usually, the artists gather to meet those looking at the exhibits. Today I’m writing mostly about my experience at Art After Dark on October 1, 2016. However, my experience is typical of the other times I’ve taken advantage of this opportunity to interact with the art community. I have also included some photos from the November 5, 2016 Art After Dark event. You will see the most Art After Dark action at Studios on the Park, across from City Park in Paso Robles on Pine Street.
It Pays to Arrive Early if You Want a Parking Place
I arrived near the City Park early to get a parking place, since I don’t much enjoy walking a long way by myself after dark. Parking places are hard to find on weekends around City Park. I walked around the park before going to Studios on the Park because I was skipping my gym time and wanted to get some exercise in beforehand. I knew there had been a sidewalk chalk art event (Arte de Tiza) two weeks before on the sidewalks around the park. I’d been sick that weekend and unable to go see it, and I was hoping something would be left. There were only a few traces, such as this one.
There are also sculptures in the park, such as this one by the drinking fountain, and this one of Paderewski, an important historical figure to Paso Robles. If you look around, you can see art in many places in Paso Robles where you may not expect it.
Opening Artist Reception in the Showroom Gallery
There is usually a reception that coincides with Art after Dark to meet the artists on the first Saturday night after a new Paso Robles Art Association exhibit opens. The theme for this exhibit was Harvest. At the beginning of the reception, everyone gathers around the food. There is usually wine served in the Atrium Gallery around the corner. Various wineries take turns supplying it, but be prepared to pay a small charge for wine. On October 1, Powell Mountain Cellars was providing the wine. This photo shows Anglim Winery setting up for Art After Dark, November 5, 2016. Since I left before the official opening of Art After Dark that night, Anglim hadn’t finished setting up yet, but they would be pouring for visitors. You can peek through the window to the Signature Gallery where popular painters display their work.
The exhibits of the Paso Robles Art Association are usually juried. Depending upon when you view an exhibit, you may see the various award ribbons beside the paintings. There is also an opportunity to vote for the People’s Choice award at any time the exhibit is open. I normally have a hard time deciding whom to vote for, since there are always many excellent works of art begging for my vote. You will find paintings, photographs, mixed media, and even sculptures and crafts.
Meeting the Artists
Visitors will often find artists close to their work in the Studio Gallery during the reception. That’s how I found DePrise Brescia and coaxed her to explain her mixed media collage “Spirit of the Vine” on video for me.
It took me longer to find Deborah Hofstetter, who created this piece of digital art “Sweet Onions.” I simply had to know if she had taken the photo at Jack Creek Farms since it looked familiar and I had seen that same display there. Sure enough, that’s where she had taken it. (By the way, those onions are very tasty and they are huge. I’ve purchased and used them.) I enjoyed meeting and talking with Deborah about various wineries in the county and the activities she has participated in on her visits to them.
Remember That Sidewalk Art That Had Disappeared?
I was happy to see it captured in the Showroom Gallery on my visit. This display gave me an idea of the talent that had been participating the Arte de Tiza event this year. It is sponsored by the Paso Robles Art Association. Get more information on Arte de Tiza here and see a video of the 2015 event. It’s free to enter and all ages can participate. Here are photos of the 2016 event and some of the entries that had washed away from the park sidewalk by the time I saw them two weeks after the event.
Harvest Theme: Not Just Grapes
Paso Robles is in the midst of wine country, with over 200 wineries in the area. Naturally, when many of us think of harvest, we’re thinking grapes. This Harvest exhibit did have many entries that depicted grapes. I won’t show you many of those because the lighting is not conducive to taking photos in much of this gallery. Here is one I was able to capture: “Ready for Harvest” an enhanced photograph by Jeff Jones. It appears to be framed under glass, thus the reflections.
As you saw in Deborah’s photo, though, many entries featured crops other than wine grapes. This picture shows a couple of those. Unfortunately, I did not get close-ups of the labels on these, and all web information about the exhibit is gone now.
Staff and Alumni Art Exhibit in the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Gallery
This is what I saw when I entered this amazing exhibit of work by teachers, other staff, and former students of the art teachers of the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD). I can only share a fraction of this work here. I took these photos during Art After Dark on October 1, 2016.
This photo features three art teachers in the PRJUSD. Jeanne Aird, an art teacher at Flamson Middle School did the large piece on the left. It was inspired by a view from her window. The ceramics in the middle were created by Joshua Gwiazda from Paso Robles High. That work was not for sale, but he does commissioned work if you’d like him to make something just for you. The work on the right is by Tracie Gonzales, a visual arts teacher at Lewis Middle School.
This shows you more detail in the ceramics.
I really liked this photo of the “Eastern Wall” by Jon Slivkoff from Flamson Middle School. I’m afraid I didn’t notice the light switch until I uploaded the photos.
Celebrating Dance and Drama Exhibit, November 5, 2016, in PRJUSD Gallery
I went back to Studios on the Park on November 5, also for Art After Dark, but I only took a brief walk-through and I was very early. I much enjoyed this exhibit of costumes from the performing arts programs at Paso Robles High. These costumes were used by dance and drama students. The chief costume designer for these is Ruth Enriquez-Bague.
See additional costumes and more detail on some above in the photo below.
You can see part of a past exhibit of costumes from the Paso Robles High Drama Department’s Alice in Wonderland performance here.
A Brief Look into Hellie Blythe’s Studio
I love artist Hellie Blythe’s work. As I write this, she has a studio at Studios on the Park. Here’s a brief look at her display as I saw it on October 1, 2016, at Art After Dark. I am still waiting to actually catch her in her studio. I’m told she is there every day, but either she’s invisible, in disguise, or just happens to be out every time I come in. I’d love to meet her someday. She has a wonderful sense of humor, as evidenced by her pistachio shell crow figures that conduct various activities and live in cigar box dioramas. You can see them scattered around the room in this photo, under the paintings. See some of these dioramas up close here. On my Facebook Timeline I posted one of her humorous labels on a pre-election diorama describing a brain exchange between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Central Coast Wet Painting Invitational Exhibit in Atrium Gallary
This is the gallery it’s hard for people to miss. Many artists participated in this invitational exhibit, but I’m only going to show you one in this post — W. Jason Situ, a plein art painter who was born in China and grew up in California. Although he had many paintings on display, I’ll show you just this one grouping. The lighting is terrible in the Atrium Gallery if you are trying to take photos, which is why I don’t take too many there. I only took these because W. Jason Situ’s oil painting “The Beach Morning,” lower left, won the Best in Show award. Obviously, all art is best seen in person, but you will get an idea of Mr. Situ’s subjects and style from these photos. Currently, you can see all the exhibition paintings here.
Other Galleries and Showrooms
There is too much going on at Studios on the Park to show you more than a sample in this post of what there is to see. The Signature Gallery displays the works of many talented painters from around the world. The Up Front Gallery carries crafts, books, fabric arts, and other items that make great gifts. The Printmakers currently display their prints in the first showroom on the right side as you enter. A few resident artists have studios where you can watch them work and see their work displayed.
Galleries and showrooms come, go, and move around. So do the resident artists. One thing is pretty certain. If you stay away from Studios on the Park for three months, it’s likely you will find someone or something has moved somewhere else when you return. It’s always a new adventure.
There’s Always Music at Art After Dark
During Art After Dark and the Paso ArtsFest, Studios on the Park brings in musicians to entertain visitors. I’ve never been disappointed in any of them yet. On October 1, Julie Beaver and Wally Barnick entertained us. They had us clapping and tapping our feet to their lively country music. We even sang along to “You Are My Sunshine.” I recorded it, but can’t share the video because it’s a copyrighted song. I’ve heard many different music types at events here, including harp music, piano music, choral music, and many styles of instrumental and vocal music. Each has been appropriate for the occasion and no group detracted from the ambient atmosphere as people enjoyed the art.
Changes in the Art After Dark Scene
On November 5 I had planned to explore some of the other galleries that participate in Art After Dark, but I couldn’t find any others open this time. Maybe I didn’t know where to look. One shop owner told me many of the galleries had closed, including one of my favorites, Heritage Gallery West, which now operates only online. I had to walk around the corner to check. This was hard for me to believe. I guess I was hoping the man was wrong. But this is what I saw.
See the related articles at the end of this post for a peek at Heritage Galleries West when it was open. I will miss it. I hope this doesn’t signify a declining interest in art in Paso Robles. I’ll be checking soon to see which galleries are still open and which, if any, still participate in Art After Dark.
To mark your calendars for the next Art After Dark events and participants, please check the Studios on the Park Events Page.