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May 7, 2020

Local galleries connect artists to art lovers online

San Luis Obispo New Times

Local galleries connect artists to art lovers online

 For instance, Studios on the Park Artistic Director and Chief Curator Henry A.J. Ramos has started a new online Artist Interview Series, where he's talking to artists and the local art world's movers and shakers about what they're doing in these unprecedented times.

"These are difficult times for all of us, and our hearts especially go out to the growing number of families and communities directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak," Ramos said in a statement. "The arts and culture community has been especially hard hit by the fallout of the crisis, as all public serving arts organizations, like Studios on the Park, have been indefinitely shuttered, and so much of the cultural economy has come to a standstill.

"At the same time, we all know that artists and anchor arts organizations like Studios on the Park continue to play a central role in our civic culture, and are particularly needed in times of crisis, to help us cope, heal, understand, and rebuild," Ramos continued. "Hence, while our doors are presently shut, we continue to seek innovative ways to serve and connect with our broad constituency of friends, partners, and supporters."

You can watch Ramos' roughly 15-minute interviews with local artist Joe Thomas, Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation Executive Director Mindy Dierks, fiber artist Ellen November, painter Tom Peck, Cuesta College gallery director Emma Saperstein, and others. Visit Studios on the Park's website and find the videos under their "artists" tab.

• • •

I missed Mark Bryan's show at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art (SLOMA). I meant to go see the satirical paintings skewering Trump, Bush, and other conservative political figures, but before I made it over there, the shelter-at-home order came and the museum was shuttered.

Fear not! Bryan's show, Fake News, which was scheduled to run from Feb. 28 through April 26, is available virtually. And not only can you see his work, he'll give you a personal tour in an eight-minute video available on the SLOMA website.

"I always like to go back to the magical stuff and whimsical things," Bryan explained in the video. "I've always been especially drawn to circus imagery and imagery of the theater because it's sort of an over-the-top human demonstration and it's a microcosm of our human experience."

You can stop the video and linger on each painting, listen to Bryan explain his motivation, see inside his rural studio, learn about his technique, and more. In some ways, it's better than milling through the museum among a throng. In case you want that throng, however, the video also features footage of Bryan and the crowd at his opening night.

SLOMA also has a second Bryan video that's more of an interview with his work interspersed. Both are totally worth checking out and indicative of the creative ways art is still being communicated to art lovers.

• • •

Just like a lot of high school seniors are lamenting missing their prom and graduation this year, imagine if you were a Cuesta College art student who had worked hard on your final project for the annual student art show only to discover everything would be shut down. What a blow!

But now you can see the Annual Student Art Show at the Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery virtually on the college's website.

"Most institutions are canceling student exhibitions outright instead of finding creative ways to display the work of our students," Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery Coordinator Emma Saperstein said in a statement. "I think it is more important than ever to maintain engagement with our students and each other and continue our contributions to a vibrant creative community."

Added student artist Sophie Stebbins, "I'm so grateful that we have the gift of sharing art right now because I think that creating images and narratives relates us to each other in a really personal way, and it's wonderful that we have the opportunity when we need it the most."

Don't let COVID-19 get between you and your love of art! Δ

Written by: Glen Starkey

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