By Josh Petray
Less than two years after its founding and less than a year after officially opening its doors to the public in the former Pioneer Auto Parts building in May of 2009, Paso Robles-based nonprofit Studios on the Park – a multimedia venue for artists, community members and art enthusiasts in the Paso Robles area featuring exhibitions, free classes, educational programs and more – secured grant funding expected to help it plan its financial future.
The San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation [SLOCCF] recently awarded Studios on the Park a $5,500 grant from the Art Inspires Fund – money that the nonprofit plans to utilize to fund strategic planning, enterprise planning, an operating plan and budget for the organization as well as support hiring of a business consultant, according to a media release.
Studios on the Park founder Anne Laddon said the funding would essentially enable Studios on the Park to gain more capacity to carry out programs.
"Like a regular business would have a serious financial plan, as we go forward we need a business plan and a serious financial plan," Laddon said. "For the next three years, we need help with the planning; we also need help from the community to sustain these programs wile we get them built. The community will help us put that plan together."
One of four funded arts organizations selected, Studios on the Park, 1130 Pine St. across from Downtown City Park, received the Art Inspires grant because of its "artistic impact in the community and commitment to stabilizing their organization," organizers said. Over the course of the past year, the venue secured more than 20 artists that utilize its studio spaces, presented the inaugural Paso Robles Festival of the Arts in Downtown City Park on Memorial Day Weekend, offered special events and free classes.
According to Laddon, Studios on the Park has applied for grants from a couple of other large organizations to do things like offer free classes for underserved kids. Currently, Studios on the Park offers a free, monthly art event that's open to the community.
"We're grateful," Laddon said of the community support. "This is our first real grant, and we're hoping that we get more. This is a capacity-building grant, which means that now that we're opn, it's really going to help us build a strong and self-sustaining organization, and so the grant is really for the business plan and three-year financial plan, and it will help us hire a professional consultant."
A total of $20,000 was awarded through the grants, which were made possible through the generous support of the William Randolph Hearst Fund for the Arts. The SLOCCF has given out more than $14 million in grants to assist nonprofit agencies over the past decade, according to Studios on the Park.
Studios on the Park was founded in December 2007 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization "dedicated to providing a creative, educational, and transformational experience to enhance understanding and appreciation of the visual arts," according to the release.
Studios on the Park realizes its commitment by making the creative process available to the public. The nonprofit engages and inspires the San Luis Obispo County community and its visitors with a unique open studio environment. It features artists working in a variety of media, educational programs for children and adults and quality exhibitions by regional, national and international artists, according to organizers.
Knitting together nonprofits assisting one another, Studios on the Park will be hosting a fundraiser for Loaves & Fishes and St. James Church in December. The venue is planning several exhibitions in the next 12 months including an exhibition in collaboration with Cuesta College and Santa Lucia School.
For more information, visit www.studiosonthepark.org or call 238-9800. For more information on the SLOCCF or any funds, call 543-2323 or log onto www.sloccf.org.