Celebrating centennials in Atascadero

Atascadero observes its own 100th birthday and that of one of its most well-known residents, photographer Joe Schwartz

Special to The TribuneFebruary 10, 2013 

Rosa Parks would have been 100 this month. The anniversary of Menachem Begin’s 1913 birth is coming up. And Jimmy Hoffa may or may not be reaching 100 this week.

Let’s hope Joe Schwartz is the type who doesn’t mind sharing his birthday. The photographer is also turning 100 this year, and his party will be held in conjunction with Atascadero’s centennial.

He seemed like a pretty easygoing guy when I was at his Atascadero home to check out his photos during an open house a dozen or so years ago. I’m guessing he’ll be A-OK with the A-Town tie-in.

The internationally known photographer who documented America’s “have-nots” from the 1930s to the 1980s will be included in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture under construction in Washington, D.C., and to be completed in 2015.

But to see his work sooner, and closer to home, plan to attend one of the events scheduled over several days this week in Atascadero. The main event, with Schwartz present, is a reception for Schwartz and Atascadero’s 100th birthdays set for 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, with a large photographic exhibit, a proclamation for Schwartz, speeches, appetizers, wine tasting and music.

Here’s the scoop on the rest of the week’s events:

  • There’ll be a presentation for Schwartz at the Atascadero City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Atascadero City Hall, 6907 El Camino Real.
  • Also on Wednesday is an 8 p.m. Joe Schwartz Film Fundraiser at Galaxy Theatres in Atascadero with a showing of “Ordinary Miracles” to benefit diversity and inclusion programs at Cal Poly. Tickets can be purchased for $12 in advance at www.pacslo.org/tickets
  • An “Open House and Joe Schwartz Photo Exhibit” is set for noon to 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.
  • Two Atascadero art galleries plan receptions and exhibitions of Schwartz’s work from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday. The locations are Envisions Gallery at 5975 Traffic Way and Olive Tree Gallery at 5850 Traffic Way. The Barrel Room will have wine tasting at 5985 Traffic Way.

A first-class website has been set up for the occasion at www.joeschwartzatascaderocentennial.org. Call 470-3490 for any unanswered questions about the centennial events.

Times Past columnist Dan Krieger wrote a fine piece on Schwartz last year. Take a look at www.sanluisobispo.com/2012/02/06/1937025/times-past-joe-schwartz-let-his.html.

Contact freelance writer Monica Fiscalini at Monica_Jane2000@yahoo.com.

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