Art in everyday places around SLO County

All around town, art is popping up on walls of cafés, motels and other non-gallery settings

Special to The TribuneJanuary 11, 2013 

I began the first week of the year shopping for jewelry at an art gallery while overlooking paintings — and ended the week discovering paintings while looking for used Champagne flutes and getting my hair done.

Should you happen to have an old wedding band to hawk as I did, I’m told gold prices are up and the time is right. I took my earnings and immediately reinvested in silver, specifically an unusual silver clay ring from the Gallery at the Network made by Carol Fuentes. She covers seed pods, flowers, leaves and such with silver and puts the creation in her kiln to uncover what is left when the flora is burned away.

A few days later I found some decent art in the bins at the Achievement House Thrift Store on Cuesta College Road in San Luis Obispo. Among the mismatched Champagne flutes and paintings ready to hang and priced to sell was a large canvas with a disc jockey positioned over two turntables. If I wasn’t the last person on Earth without a camera phone, I could have sent an image to the KCPR Cal Poly radio Facebook group and had a buyer and finder’s fee within minutes. A barn painting piqued my interest, but I’ve already got one, and I don’t think I want to go down that collecting road.

Later that afternoon I waited my turn at Jamaica You hair salon on Santa Barbara Avenue in San Luis surrounded by vibrant florals and beach scenes by Lorri Trogdon of Arroyo Grande.

Finding art in the everyday places we happen to be is becoming a regular occurrence. Big Sky Café has incorporated a rotating gallery into its downtown SLO space for years. Sally Loo’s Wholesome Café at 1804 Osos St. also likes to give its patrons something to admire. Plein air painter Sandi Heller’s “Pastel Odyssey” is up through Feb. 16.

Another plein air painter, Lana Cochrun is taking a creative departure in a couple of non-gallery settings. “Improvisations,” a collection of lyrical abstracts and modernist oils, runs through March 31 at Windward Vineyard Gallery, 1380 Live Oak Road in Paso Robles. Cochrun’s “Wine Divas” is a whimsical collection of acrylic paintings through Feb. 28 at Alegria Wine and Ware, 942 Chorro St. San Luis Obispo.

Jules D. does a nice job of incorporating art into its men’s boutique at 1129A Garden St. Look for motorsports photography by Tod Rafferty, who should also have several of his motorcycle books for sale.

And last, but not least, on our tour through unconventional exhibit spaces is Bobbye West-Thompson and Teri Miller showing at Sands Inn & Suites Motel, 1930 Monterey St, San Luis Obispo, through the end of the month.

Contact freelance writer Monica Fiscalini at

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