Arts & Culture

Art? Indispensable!

Arts Obispo, aka San Luis Obispo County Arts Council, and I hit the county around the same time in 1982. My mission was to turn as many of my new Atascadero High School classmates on to Elvis Costello as possible. SLO Arts Council’s mission was a bit broader: advance all of the arts through the promotion of arts in education, public access to the arts and artist opportunities.

As the group celebrates its 30th anniversary, I thought I’d give you an assignment for this Friday and/or Saturday. Attend Art After Dark in downtown San Luis Obispo or First Saturdays, Wine and the Arts in downtown Paso Robles. It could not be easier: Enjoy the warm evening and poke into galleries, wine bars, coffee shops and assorted other spots like Tartaglia Realty to check out some art.

Take along someone who wouldn’t usually do such a thing and you’ve really helped Arts Obispo meet its mission.

Arts Obispo promotes the belief that visual, literary and performing arts are essential to our communities. As Craig Watson, director of the California Arts Council, pointed out when he gave a local talk earlier this month, the arts help students with critical thinking skills, boost California’s economy and make life more fun.

Watson was really jazzed about Eric Booth’s May 20 commencement speech at New England Conservatory about the arts. Google it if you’ve got a minute. He also recommended joining Americans for the Arts. Of course, you really ought to join Arts Obispo first.

Volunteering is another way to help. A committee that once got me off the couch was dedicated to getting schoolchildren to concerts and other arts events. Not Elvis Costello concerts, but that’s OK.

So you’ve got your homework for Friday in San Luis Obispo: Walk from Sweet Earth Chocolates on Monterey to see “Eye Candy,’’ an exhibit of Susan Pyburn’s photos, over to my favorite spot for something unexpected, Heaven & Earth Gallery on Chorro. Or take a stroll Saturday around Paso Robles City Park where you’ll find David Child’s watercolors and acrylic paintings during a reception and continuing through August at Pianetta Winery, 829 13th St.

Download a flier at for details about this week’s downtown art walks or get the free iPhone app in the app store by searching “Art After Dark.”

Contact freelance writer Monica Fiscalini at