By Sonja Eschenburg
Studios on the Park has announced the cancellation of its 2017 Paso ArtsFest, the largest free art festival on the Central Coast, and has no plans to continue the event in the future.
The discontinuation of the Memorial Day weekend event was disappointing to the artists who dedicated months to preparing for the show, yet, for the ArtsFest’s organizers and sponsors — not to mention the local businesses that depend on revenue from those visiting the area for the annual event — the impact of its cancellation is far more severe and lasting.
Prior to this year, the Paso Robles ArtsFest had never been canceled before and had been a hugely successful event for promoters, sponsors and the city of Paso Robles.
ArtsFest, which was run as a self-sustaining event, was designed primarily to focus on supporting arts access for the Paso Robles community, said Sasha Irving, executive director at Studios on the Park.
“Since the beginning of ArtsFest in 2009, we have consistently run the event,” Irving said. “We are so pleased to have been able to plan and produce this spectacular free community event for 10,000 attendees for (the past) eight years.”
While the demands of ArtsFest consistently proved successful and continued to grow annually, they unfortunately were too much this year.
“Studios on the Park regrets to inform the public that we can no longer sustain the demands of an event (with) the size and scope of Paso ArtsFest,” said Barbara Partidge, president of the board for Studios on the Park, in a news release Feb. 8.
Fortunately for Studios on the Park, even though the community has expressed disappointment in the decision, it has also been just as supportive, Irving said.
“(They understand) that the magic of ArtsFest was made possible by the tremendous effort of our volunteers and community partners,” she said.
Partridge added, “Community collaborations like this must be nurtured, and I hope Studios on the Park and the City of Paso Robles can continue to forge productive and meaningful partnerships. Discontinuing ArtsFest will allow us to better serve our community and visitors.”
More information regarding the City of Paso Robles’ ability to produce future arts-themed events will be made available in the coming months.