Local

Popular Paso Robles arts festival comes to an end after 8 years

The Dragon Knights stiltwalkers stroll around Downtown City Park in Paso Robles in 2015 as part of the seventh annual Paso ArtsFest. The free arts festival, traditionally held Memorial Day weekend, has been canceled.
The Dragon Knights stiltwalkers stroll around Downtown City Park in Paso Robles in 2015 as part of the seventh annual Paso ArtsFest. The free arts festival, traditionally held Memorial Day weekend, has been canceled. ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

A free arts festival that attracted thousands of people to downtown Paso Robles each Memorial Day weekend has come to an end after eight years, organizers announced this week.

Paso ArtsFest will not return this May, Studios on the Park Executive Director Sasha Irving confirmed Thursday.

“After heartfelt and careful consideration, our board of directors concluded that our largely volunteer team can no longer sustain the demands of running an event of the size and scope of the festival,” Irving wrote in an email, adding that the decision to discontinue Paso ArtsFest “was not influenced by financial pressures in any way.”

Originally called the Paso Robles Festival of the Arts, Paso ArtsFest was sponsored by Studios on the Park and the city of Paso Robles.

The festival, which featured art shows, talks, workshops and the all-day Festival in the Park at Downtown City Park, drew about 10,000 people in 2016. About 8,000 people attended the previous year.

The two-day weekend festival served as a fundraiser for Studios on the Park, a nonprofit organization that offers arts education programs, rotating art exhibitions and open studios for professional resident artists.

Last year, Paso ArtsFest’s net proceeds contributed more than $9,200 to Studios on the Park’s general operations. The event brought in about $15,000 in 2015 and $34,000 in 2014. (Event costs were offset by revenue from sponsorships, art sales, merchandise, concessions, and beer and wine sales, Irving explained.)

“It was never meant to be a primary fundraiser for Studios,” Irving said of Paso ArtsFest.

“From day one, our aim was to provide everyone a day to come together and celebrate and experience the arts for free,” while promoting Paso Robles as an arts destination, she said.

According to Irving, Studios on the Park will reallocate festival resources to its Community Arts Access and Kids Art Smart programs.

And she’s not ruling out future events in the vein of Paso ArtsFest.

“We love working with a blank canvas and are always open to new ideas and collaborations,” she said.

For more information, call 805-238-9800 or visit www.studiosonthepark.org.

  Comments