Stephanie Wilbanks is an Associate Artist at Studios on the Park and a Board Member of the Paso Robles Art Association. The following was written by Carlota Santa Cruz, PRAA President 2016-2017.
Did you know that over 200 local artists, host a gallery show and art demonstrations every month in downtown Paso Robles? Every month the Paso Robles Art Association - PRAA hosts a themed gallery show with original artwork from member artists. PRAA provides art classes and offers free art demonstrations to the public as well as hosting art receptions on the first Saturday of each month. The list of art activities goes on. How does PRAA do it? They accomplish it with lots of volunteers and generous community donations.
Here are a few little known facts about PRAA. In 1949, local artists, came together to enrich the North County community with art thru the Paso Robles Art Guild. This guild developed into the Paso Robles Art Association, a non-profit, 501c (3) operated by volunteers. This organization has grown and morphed over its 68 years and keeps on going. Members continue to volunteer services for the annual downtown, side-walk art event ‘Arte de Tiza’, and provide art scholarships thru the Cuesta College Foundation. These volunteer members make possible a plethora of services to our community ‘Building Bridges through Art’.
When school budgets were cut and art activities were missing, Sue Taylor, former PRAA president, organized art docents in local schools. Today, SLO County is bringing the arts back into the schools. That’s a big step toward developing the much needed twenty-first century skills. Deprise Brescia and Carlota Santa Cruz, PRAA artists and board members served as teaching artist with Almond Acres Academy in art based project learning to meet curriculum standards. The kids “Health of The Ocean” project was shown in the Downtown Public Library and in the PRAA Showroom Gallery. Page Graeber, artist and previous PRAA president organized the Paso Robles downtown chalk art event, ‘Arte de Tiza’. Page managed the event with support from the Optimist Club for 15 years. Today, the torch passed to Carolynn Loeppke, PRAA member, and Rosa Lee Sonney, former PRAA board member – artist, who are also local real estate brokers.
When ‘The Studios on the Park’ opened, the Paso Robles Art Association leased studio # 7 space. That’s where you will find PRAA’s Showroom Gallery and the base of their art activity. This mutually beneficial relationship continues to thrive with Sasha Irving and Anne Ladden leading the north county art community. Former presidents and artists, Janice Pluma, Geri Cutter and Mary Ann Austin and artist Kim Snyder, created the ‘The Small Treasures’ special holiday event featuring 8”x8” original works of art. The event offers the ‘one of a kind’ originals and serves to fund PRAA’s gallery operations. Watch for it and make sure to come to PRAA’s annual holiday ‘Treasures’ fundraiser. Be a part of California’s Central Coast living, art history.
Back in the Art Association Showroom Gallery, guilds come together to develop their art, contribute to community enrichment and explore ways to fund the organization. Members explore individual interest, learn from other artists enjoy a mix of people and diverse art activities. Members delve into painting, pastel, photography, encaustic, glass and metal, mixed-media, creative journaling and monthly interactive demonstrations.
The broad array of activities requires a strong network of volunteers and financial support. The challenge of funding non-profit operations is ever present. PRAA members, are the heart, energy, and driving force of the organization as they continue ‘Building Bridges through Art’. Whether members contribute through participation and volunteerism or through financial means, members are the key to energizing PRAA’s spirit!
Did you know that even dabbling in art activities is shown to reduce stress and improve creative problem solving ability? So dabble in the arts with PRAA and discover more about yourself thru the arts. The Paso Robles Art Association is an open membership organization and you’re invited to join. Volunteerism and camaraderie are the secret to PRAA’s success since 1949. Find a guild you enjoy, develop your interest and volunteer to grow along with the association. Get Involved. Become a Member!
Photos taken during the month of the Showroom Gallery theme ‘Color’