By Meagan Friberg
Throughout our lifetime, we create, view, and experience art in its many forms. Music soothes the infant while, nearby, a toddler dabbles with watercolors. A young boy finishes his dance lesson, then waits patiently as his sister, a teenager, discusses her latest sculpture with the gallery owner. A seasoned winemaker indulges in a culinary masterpiece prepared by a local chef and watches his daughter, a story-teller, entertain the crowd.
Music, painting, dancing, sculpting, winemaking, cooking, story-telling – art is expressed in a plethora of mediums. It is appreciated by audiences with their own unique mindsets. But just what is art? Is it a “thing” or a “way of life?” Do we “experience” art or is it perhaps a “skill?” Can art – or The Arts – be defined?
The Mariam-Webster Dictionary refers to art as, “something that is created with imagination and skill that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.” And, “a skill acquired by experience, study, or observation.” There’s “the art of making friends.” Is this truly an art form? Perhaps.
The dictionary.com folks state art is, “the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.” And, according to Oxford Dictionaries, it is, “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture.”
Elbert Hubbard said, "Art is not a thing; it is a way," while Aristophane said, “Let each man exercise the art he knows.” And Leo Tolstoy, in his essay, What is Art?, states: “Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man’s emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing objects; and, above all, it is not pleasure; but it is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity.”
When we explore the expressions of different artists and how audiences enjoy those creations, we appreciate the meaning behind Tolstoy’s words regarding this, “union among men, joining them together in the same feelings.” In this manner, then, art and art making becomes a type of union, or relationship. Whether through music, oil painting, metal sculptures, theatre, writing, photography, basket-weaving, graphic design, dance, or countless other creative expressions, the artist enters into a union, or relationship, with his creation and, later, his audience.
This Memorial Day weekend, we have the opportunity to strengthen our relationship with art, and with artists of many backgrounds, during “Paso’s ultimate art party.” The 8th Annual Paso ARTSFEST, a program of Studios on the Park, is set to transform downtown Paso Robles into a wonderland of sorts on Friday and Saturday, May 27-28.
“The focus of our 2016 ARTSFEST, as always, is on art and fun,” said Paso ARTSFEST Coordinator and Studios on the Park Executive Director Sasha Irving. “This year’s event really brings the party to Paso and the most important medium is YOU!”
Kicking off the weekend is a brand new event for 2016 – the Come As You Art costume party at Studios on the Park, Friday from 6-8 p.m. Come dressed as your favorite artist or work of art and enjoy a welcome cocktail from ReFind distillery, local wines from Ancient Peaks, Peachy Canyon, and Tobin James, appetizers, and live music. Costumes are encouraged, or just come as you are. A portion of event proceeds directly benefit Studio’s essential art services for children and adults; $50/person.
“The costume party will be a great way to get this art-filled weekend started,” said Irving. “And on Saturday, you want to be downtown for the all-out, spectacular, one-day main event.”
The main event happens Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., in the Downtown City Park. Paso ARTSFEST, the single largest Arts and Cultural event in the region, was previously-named Festival of the Arts, and has become a hallmark of festivals along the West Coast. Truly a destination event, attendees can expect to see their favorite artists from years past, some new faces and, of course, fabulous artwork in every medium imaginable.
A non-profit organization, Studios on the Park serves over 90,000 people annually. Paso ARTSFEST is another way for the Studios crew and volunteers to serve the community and, with an expected 9,000 attendees this year, it remains a completely free art festival to attend. Purchases of food, drink, and other canopy offerings support Studio’s programming throughout the year including its community arts access and education and Kids Art Smart.
“What that means for Studios, and for our entire community, is a year-round benefit to this one-day festival,” said Irving.
A crowd favorite, the Local Stars Quick Draw gives Central Coast artists 90 minutes to start and finish a drawing or painting. The creative process comes to life and attendees become part of the process by witnessing it. It’s a relationship between the onlookers and the artists; witness the talent and skill involved in creating masterpieces.
Tourism Coordinator for the City of Paso Robles, and Marketing Director for Paso ARTSFEST, Shonna Howestine looks forward to the new CREATEspace area. Here, along with other adult-themed offerings, students and staff of the local Designs School of Cosmetology will conduct a hair and makeup contest based on famous works of art.
“It’s like Project Runway meets Pageant of the Masters,” said Howestein, adding that she is also excited about the Fine Art Show & Sale, which she calls, “really impressive.”
The outdoor Fine Art Show & Sale, essentially the foundation of ARTSFEST, will have 60+ artists showing and selling in canopies along the east side of the park. Find a variety of mediums – drawing, painting, oil, water color, pastel, glass, wood, fiber, silk, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics – and meet the artists. Find a list of each artist and a map of their location in the program, available the day of event and online at pasoartsfest.com.
“Paso ARTSFEST has its own signature,” said Irving. “What we do is create the space where everyone can express themselves and be celebrated for their talent and creativity. You see it in the stilt-walkers, in the hands-on classes for children, in the top-tier artists in the canopies, in the Quick Draw artists, the sand masters with their giant sandcastle, in the participatory activities happening throughout the park. This isn’t just for watching, but for rolling up your sleeves and getting messy. There are so many ways to be creative and ARTSFEST celebrates all of those.”
PASO ARTSFEST 2016
Memorial Day Weekend
May 27 – 28
Friday, May 27
Come As You Art
Studios on the Park
1130 Pine St.
Be part of this fun-filled kickoff to Paso ARTSFEST! Dress as your favorite work of art or artist and enjoy appetizers, local wines and live music. Costumes are encouraged or come as you are! $50/person.
Saturday, May 28
Festival in the Park
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Downtown City Park
Stop by Studios on the Park, located across the street from the Downtown City Park, throughout the duration of Paso ARTSFEST and visit the resident artists. In the atrium, the Signature Exhibition will feature 18 artists who are at the apex of their careers.
Fine Art Show & Sale
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Find a variety of fine art and crafts – oil, water color, glass, wood, silk, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics – and meet the artists. A list of artists and canopy locations may be found in the program, available the day of event, and online at pasoartsfest.com.
Kids Art Smart Zone
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
This fun-filled, hands-on art, performance stage, action-packed area brings out the creativity in the youngest festival attendees.
Local Artists Quick Draw
Artists draw and paint throughout the downtown area while they race the clock; find their locations in the event program or online at pasoartsfest.com.
Quick Draw Exhibit & Sale
Gazebo, northeast portion of park
View Quick Draw art, talk with the artists, see demos, and purchase framed pieces.
“Art is not a thing; it is a way.” ~ Elbert Hubbard, American writer, publisher, artist, philosopher
“Let each man exercise the art he knows.” ~ Aristophane, Greek comic playwright
“[Art] is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity.” ~ Leo Tolstoy, author
Art and fun unite at PASO ARTSFEST 2016
…where the most important medium is YOU!
Contact Suzanne Robitaille at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 237-3870 to see how you can help with Paso ARTSFEST prior to and/or the day of the event.
Stop by Studios on the Park, located at 1130 Pine St. in Paso Robles, call (805) 238-9800, or visit pasoartsfest.com or studiosonthepark.com for more info.