- IMAGES COURTESY OF KAREN KILE AND SARAH MUEHLBAUER
- HALF-CENTURY IN SLO: On May 3 the San Luis Obispo Art Center Mission Plaza, will host a birthday party with free family fun and entertainment. There will be children’s art activities with teaching artist Heather Demosthenes, as well as hands-on art for adults. Live demonstrations by local artists groups will be displayed and plein-air artists will be painting in the plaza. Inside the Art Center, outstanding exhibits will include Legacy: Works from the Permanent Collection featuring recent acquisitions by Arne Nybak, Douglas Golightly, Roxanne Sexauer, Tony Hertz, Barbara Firth, Dan Piel, David Settino Scott, and Elaine Badgley Arnoux. Pictured is the dress made by Sarah Muehlbauer as part of Green Light: National Juried Exhibition of Emerging Artists with Disabilities, along with Shay Bredimus: The Rhetorical Body showing through May in the Gray Wing. The dress will be exhibited along with a four-minute video, Rustle. Everything is happening in and around 1010 Broad in SLO. Prices range from $5 and up. For a complete schedule stop by the Art Center. Info: sloartcenter.org or 543-8562.
New Times Tell me about how the San Luis Obispo Art Center started and why.
Karen Kile, Executive Director of SLO Art Center In the 1940s there were about 30 to 40 people who were taking art workshops from teachers and that nucleus (of interested people and business people) stayed active and in the ’60s, they realized they wanted an exhibition space and purchased 1010 Broad Street and that was the beginning of the Art Center. After a year they built the Gray Wing that is along Monterey Street and in the 1980s they built the Nybak space, named after Arne Nybak, who was involved for more than 30 years with the center.
New Times What distinguishes this celebration?
Kile I’ve been here for 11 years. It is that feeling of where we’ve been and where we are going. The importance in the community that the Art Center has and can have. It’s the only place of this caliber of the visual arts in this region—this kind of exhibition space, educational programs, and community resources. It’s used by a lot of different parts of the community. We even have weddings here. The celebration on May 3 will include a viewing of the permanent collection, including works that were acquired in the last year or so.
New Times The Art Center is vital to the local arts community, but you bring in a lot of artists from out of town to exhibit. Why?
Kile The rationale is that we are doing the best possible art exhibits we can put together. Our curator is supposed to show the community top contemporary art that locals wouldn’t see if they didn’t travel to other cities. We nurture local artists as well.
Muara Johnston, head of public programs There will be live music in the amphitheater across the way in Mission Plaza. We will have lots of things going on inside the Art Center but people can come by and walk around and see it all. On a smaller stage, actors will portray famous artists throughout the ages including Michelangelo, Van Gogh, and Mary Cassat. Afterward they will roam the crowd taking pictures and amusing visitors with amusing anecdotes. Virtual Velocity, an art dance troupe, will be creating living murals throughout the afternoon.
New Times Can you tell me more about the Movie Night showing Paul Mellon: In His Own Words?
Johnston The Paul Mellon movie is a documentary created by the National Gallery of Art, which Mellon founded. It traces his life as a dedicated philanthropist and art collector.
New Times What are you excited about?
Johnston We have a lecture about two local collectors on May 17—a tea with Arthur and Marilynn Rosenberg, who have one of the nicest collections of social realist art from the 1930s and 40s. It’s extraordinary. They will give tips on collecting art because now is an awesome time to collect art, since prices have dropped so significantly.
Christy Heron wonders where David Hockney is throughout all this artistic hubbub. Hockney, if you’re reading this—get down here! Get driving directions at email@example.com.