By Allyson Oken
Staff and alumni of the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District debuted a diverse art installation Sept. 22 at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles. The exhibition, on display until Oct. 26, includes paintings, ceramics, quilts and mixed media artwork all created by staff and local alumni with the intent to showcase the talents of those who call Paso School District home.
Jeni Miller, librarian at Flamson Middle School, and Jon Slivkoff, custodian at Flamson Middle, were just two of the accomplished artists whose work was on display at last week’s artist reception.
Slivkoff explained that his work of art was representative of a trip he took to Jerusalem and depicts a portion of the Western Wall, also called the “Kotel” in Hebrew, that makes up the historical site, the Wailing Wall. The importance of the Kotel to jews around the world has inspired many pilgrimages to the site where the Second Temple once stood before it was destroyed by the Roman army in 70 C.E.
“The painting I created is meant to provoke people to question and learn more about the cultural significants of the Western Wall,” he said. “Every day people make a pilgrimage to the wall to pray for their loss, for a loved one or to god at this spiritual site. In the nooks and crannies of the wall, as I painted here, people write a prayer on a piece of paper and traditionally wedge that into the cranny of the wall.”
The work that Slivkoff created is vivid and painted with passion, capturing the importance of the historical site depicted with every detail.
Miller’s works were a juxtaposition with a whimsy and wonder to them. Her artwork captured characters out of fiction and authors of famous written works in painting and sculpture. She said that all the works she created were made to be fixtures in the Flamson Library to capture the imaginations of youths and inspire them to pick up a new book.
“I created this sculpture out of polymer clay, and I have been featuring a new artist each month at the library. This month we are doing Edgar Allen Poe, so I chose to depict him in this great clay to display at the library. I used a wire frame and built up the armature with tin foil and and the molded the clay onto the form with my fingers. This was my first time working with polymer clay and it was really fun to bake it and see it come out.”
The diversity of the exhibition offers patrons the opportunity to the range of talent that PRJUSD staff and alumni bring to the table. This is the second year of the district’s partnership with Studios on the Park. PRJUSD is the only school district in San Luis Obispo County to manage its own professional art gallery.
Throughout the course of the year, the gallery hosts a wide variety of artwork from its elementary, middle and high school students. Students work in the gallery, display their artwork and sell their own pieces. The next show will be all student work, so don’t miss out on the experience.
Studios on the Park is open Monday to Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m., Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
For more information about the PRJUSD Gallery, contact the district Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator, Brent Moser, at 769-1000 or email@example.com.