Arts & Culture

Cuesta College's art gallery is still alive

Dalton Jamieson’s painting of a bowl and cup is part of the two-artist exhibit ‘More is More’ with Jeff Jamieson at the Cuesta College Art Gallery.
Dalton Jamieson’s painting of a bowl and cup is part of the two-artist exhibit ‘More is More’ with Jeff Jamieson at the Cuesta College Art Gallery. Courtesy photo

Cuesta College routinely exhibited up to eight shows a year in its art gallery until spring semester 2011, when the gallery director retired and the position was frozen. The number has dropped to about four annually — a mix of student and faculty shows.

Cuesta art instructor David Prochaska has taken over some of the curating duties and serves as the adviser for a new student art club on campus. While students are certainly inspired by the works of their peers and instructors, there’s nothing quite like a local artist or one from the big city dropping by to speak to an art class and exhibit in the gallery.

Prochaska told me last month that one of the exhibits he was most looking forward to for the year would take place in Cuesta College Art Gallery, “one of the best visual spaces from Santa Barbara to Monterey.” The time is here for “More is More” by Dalton and Jeff Jamieson, opening Friday and running through March 22. The opening is set for 4 to 7 p.m.

Ideally, the gallery director position would be a regular gig with a stipend and time to round up visiting artists. That’s where the Cuesta College Foundation comes in. The foundation is ramping up efforts this week to establish an endowment for the art gallery that would fund a stipend for a gallery director — good news for the students and the community. Donations can be sent to Cuesta College Foundation, P.O. Box 8106, San Luis Obispo, CA 93403 with a note that the gift is for the art gallery endowment.

And, full disclosure, yes, I’m still working as a temp at the college.

I also must disclose that I am reluctant to get a really good look at art hanging in restaurants. It’s invariably hanging above an occupied booth. But on a recent Friday night I had a great excuse to get over my fear. Two artists I wanted to meet were having their art receptions at downtown San Luis Obispo restaurants.

One was San Luis Obispo’s Loretta Ramseyer whose “In Full Bloom” is up at Big Sky Café through mid-March. Many of the pastels are florals with a couple of bananas thrown in for fun. “Just smile,” advised my friend Francesca as she led me around the bustling downtown SLO restaurant to sneak a peek over the heads of a dozen date-nighters.

We found artist Flo Bartell of Los Osos down Broad Street at Creekside Brewing Company. Her “Pyrogenesis: Abstracts in Wax” will exhibit through June 6. Her encaustic paintings are built by applying layer upon layer of molten wax, each fused with fire.

“The process is one of discovery, destruction, and rebuilding until resolution of composition and expression is achieved,” she says.

Bartell’s show is part of San Luis Obispo Museum of Art’s Art About Town business exhibit program.