Arts & Culture

Local libraries are alive with local art

Sandra Kay Johnson’s silk hanging that depicts native plants is displayed in the two-story entryway of the new library in Atascadero.
Sandra Kay Johnson’s silk hanging that depicts native plants is displayed in the two-story entryway of the new library in Atascadero.

If you need a jolt, there’s no place like the library. Grabbing a stack of books, CDs and movies to sample at home always seems to clear out the mental cobwebs.

The library buzz is greater than ever with new locations in Cambria and Atascadero, a remodel in Morro Bay and expanded hours countywide. Reduced hours and inadequate facilities were a big bummer for too long.

The Atascadero Library at 6555 Capistrano Ave. has an inviting layout, children’s area to the left, adults and teens to the right. And just like a new home, the designer touches are there from booth seating in the teen area and colorful upholstered chairs throughout, to art on the walls.

Not art from a big box store, either. We’re talking art from Atascadero’s heavy hitters. I dropped by during the last week of Pat Cairns’ and Jim Carlisle’s July exhibit. Next up is John Barnard for August and September. The reception is set for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday. Barnard’s is another well-known name that means a trip from out of town will be well worth it.

Julie Dunn will be the artist for December and January, but it’s unknown just yet who will be the featured artist in October and November. The theme will be climate change and artists are invited to submit works related to the subject. Visit the Friends of the Library website, for information and an application. Deadline for submissions is Sept. 8.

The San Luis Obispo County Library “Visual Art Exhibits Policy and Exhibitor Agreement Exhibit Guidelines” is an impressive document, which basically says, not just anybody with a paintbrush will get an exhibit.

Eileen O’Grady, who is on the Atascadero Library Art Committee, and other members of the library community are looking for professional-quality artwork that increases public awareness of the visual arts and enhances cultural and artistic awareness in the community.

“The new library also has some permanent art done by local artists — a gorgeous silk hanging by Sandra Kay Johnson that depicts native plants hangs in our two-story entry, and the children’s area features tiles by Julie Dunn and a photo by Joe Schwartz,” O’Grady said.

Those interested in displaying artwork at Paso Robles City Library, which is not part of the San Luis Obispo County Library system, can submit proposals and applications through Aug. 30 for the library board of trustees to review. Applications for 2015 are available at 1000 Spring St. or contact Don Rader at 237-3870 or and he’ll drop one in the mail.