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Art in the park


Studios on the Park gives Paso personality

Picture a perfect day of meandering around downtown Paso Robles. Surrounding our quaint little park, eateries, tasting rooms, and kitsch boutiques invite both locals and tourists alike in with their small town charm. During that perfect day downtown, a stop to Studios on the Park is necessary. Studios often double as workspaces for the resident artists, giving viewers a quick behind-the-scenes glimpse at the creative process.

Greeted by a refurbished Hudson Hornet, repurposed as a countertop, patrons are welcomed into the studio by a posse of themed cultures or installations which occupy the floor space around and in front of the individual artists’ galleries. A grand piano rests, silent for the time being, next to a kids’ play area; decorated with a vibrant graphic rug, brightly painted walls, and a notably large box of crayons.

Bob Simola has been displaying his woodblock prints and engravings at Studios on the Park for eight years and has sold “hundreds” of works of art. His favorite piece, he said, “…is always the next one, because that one is still in my imagination. The next one is still in the land of dreams. The next one is still perfect because I haven’t started the drawing and I haven’t started the carving or the printing.”

Open since May 14, 2009, Studios on the Park has had quite the history. The building started out as an auto parts store until 2007 when the nonprofit gallery took up the space. During its 10 years conveniently perched downtown, “studios has changed the perception of the city.  People come by all the time with friends and relatives from out of town, across the nation, and from around the world. My feeling is that they want to show off their town, to show that Paso Robles is not just some little Podunk town and not just a wine destination. They want to show that Paso Robles is also a place of culture and a love of the arts and people come to Paso Robles because of its emphasis on the arts,” Simola said.

If you are to walk towards the back end of the building and down a hallway, which is often lined with photography, to your left you will find the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District gallery. Student work is always displayed there, with an emphasis on high school students’ art, but often featuring middle and elementary school students’ art.

“I think [having artwork on display in the gallery is] such an amazing and unique opportunity, and it can definitely help you get your name out and let people see your artwork,” Roxy Hancock, a junior who is currently enrolled in AP Art, said.

“It feels really good to have people see what we have put so much work into this year… It’s great when people attach your work to who you are. I think it gives them a new perspective on who I am,” Haven Holmes, a sophomore in Studio Art, said.

Adding variety and creativity to downtown Paso Robles, Studios on the Park continues to inspire and provide our community with local art, culture, and one more engaging activity to do on a perfect day downtown.

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