By Hayley Thomas
It was a sweet sight indeed as more than 100 Paso Robles movers and shakers came together to honor Paso Robles Waste & Recycle C.E.O. Dale Gomer during Studios on the Park’s Sweet Art Luncheon last Wednesday, Feb. 12.
The event serves as the largest funding source for the nonprofit’s annual Paso Artsfest, formerly known as the paso Robles Festival of the Arts.
Surrounded by colorful paintings and warm smiles, Gomer was visibly touched as he took the microphone at Studios on the Park. The youth sports advocate and longtime business leader spoke of his personal trilogy: family, community and business.
“It is tremendous to support the community of Paso Robles,” said Gomer. “All the years I coached youth football, I told the kids that it is a tremendous commitment, and your number one priorities should be school and family…If you can play that game with the amount of energy it puts into you, then it has to make you a better person.”
The 2008 Roblan of the Year honoree currently serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Northern San Luis Obispo County, and shares in Studios on the Park’s mission to serve young people. Since 2011, more than 4,000 public elementary students have visited Studios on the Park and taken advantage of hands-on professional Kids Art Smart classes.
Gomer touched upon how art has colored his own life, which spans more than 50 years in the Paso Robles area. While stationed in Europe, Gomer had the chance to explore The Louvre, Palace of Versailles and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
“One of the most astonishing things that has affected my life was seeing a Rembrandt, “The Night Watch;” it was astronomical,” said Gomer. “To see that painting was just incomprehensible.”
After returning home, Gomer attended UC Santa Barbara on a sports scholarship, playing football as a middle linebacker. He then worked for several years as a probation officer before taking a job as an admissions councilor for the University of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“We gave Georgia O’Keefe and honorary doctorate’s degree at the college, and it was just incredible seeing her paintings, meeting her, and feeling her vibrations there at the school,” said Gomer.
In July of 1984, Gomer returned to Paso Robles and become general manager of the family business, a decision that led him to eventually take the helm as president and C.E.O. Over the years, sons Jed and Isiah have both had their turn working at Paso Robles Waste & Recycle.
Gomer said it has been “a tremendous honor” to support the arts in North County through the fundraiser.
“Art is an intangible thing, but it is vibrant to our community, and it really makes our community what it is,” he said.
The 2014 Paso Artsfest will kick off on Saturday, May 24 in Downtown City Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free community art event will feature live music, wine, artists from around the world, a wet painting sale and more. For more on studios on the park or the festival, visit www.studiosonthepark.org.