Viva evolution!: Arroyo Grande art exhibit

Rich Austin's 'Time Square' digital art photo
Rich Austin's 'Time Square' digital art photo The Tribune

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The El Camino Art Association was like many 50-year-olds — ready to shout, “I am neither fuddy nor duddy. I like stability, but I never want to stop evolving.”

Around since 1961, the group has been known as a band of painters who show in rotating spaces, both indoors and out. But in the past four months, those painters have hooked up with sculptors, potters, jewelry makers, photographers, fused glass artists and a few who make wearable art. And this revitalized group has found a place to call its own — the Art Space — in the shopping center that also houses the SLO Down Pub in Arroyo Grande.

The theme for the current all-member show is “Ride the Wave” and features Jean Rittenberg’s giclee prints of landscape paintings. You can also get some of her work on tiles and cards. A visit to the Art Space is free, but if you feel like taking something home you can spend anywhere from a couple of bucks for a card to $850 for a painting by El Camino president Franczeska B. Angel, who, by the way, just won a first-place ribbon at the Santa Barbara County Fair for one of her oils.

One piece that looks like it might follow you home if only it weren’t sleeping is “Fat Cat,” a sculpture of Mexican agate by Rick Shreve.

Another piece outside of the painting realm is photographer Rich Austin’s colorful “Time Square” digital art complete with New York City’s guitar playing Naked Cowboy. Joan Bogle’s “Flotsam and Jetsam” sticks most closely to the “Ride the Wave” theme with its mixed-media depicting what might wash up on the beach.

Paintings and drawings, however, still rule the El Camino Art Association and the Art Space is a fun spot to see a range of media side by side — watercolor, acrylic, pastel and oil. It’s also where you’ll see a range of experience side by side. Bogle’s work reflects her 30-year membership in the group. No surprise, others are still on their way to that level.

One glance at Hattie Stoddard’s “Jake’s First Wave” proves that she would make a fantastic children’s book illustrator. So it’s no surprise to see Shelly Cone’s book by the same name — with illustrations by Stoddard — for sale with some other gift items.

All 30 or so members support South County high school students by contributing a portion of proceeds to scholarships and assisting with fundraisers. The group awarded six $500 scholarships this year. Student work is also on display now.

Those interested in joining the ECAA and/or volunteering at the gallery can get information at

Contact freelance writer Monica Fiscalini at Monica_Jane2000@

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