Fine arts connoisseurs look no further: BravoSLO!, a free showcase featuring local performance and art groups, returns this Saturday afternoon to the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC).
In its second year, BravoSLO! will showcase over 20 music, dance and art groups that will be performing later in the year at the PAC. As one of the only free events hosted at the PAC, the event was incorporated to not only preview upcoming performances, but also to connect patrons with the performers.
In addition, the groups will have display booths set up in the lobby with further information about their organizations, audience members can plan on experiencing one-on-one time with otherwise distant stage performers.
Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for the PAC, Melody Klemin, said that BravoSLO! is a perfect event for community members to connect with fine arts in the area.
“It showcases almost all of our client groups and gives people a feel for the different performance genres that happen here,” Klemin said.
Last year’s event, which garnered over 1500 attendees, was a green light to host the event again this year, she said.
“We had such a great response that we kind of wanted to go ahead and keep the momentum going,” Kelmin said. “As long as there is a need or want for it from the community, we will continue to do it.”
Several of last years’ participants will be returning this Saturday. Artistic Director of the Civic Ballet of San Luis Obispo and Manager and resident choreographer of the Academy of Dance Drew Silvaggio said that last year’s event gave the companies an opportunity to converse with potential audience members.
“It was good to get a dialogue going between the groups that use the PAC and the people that frequent them,” he said.
Silvaggio said he also enjoyed being in the intimate presence of fellow performing arts groups during the showcase.
“It was great for the groups to be in one area at the same time. We were able to talk to each other,” Silvaggio said. “It’s kind of a fun play time for us.”
Other featured organizations also enjoy being in the presence of one another. Executive Director of Opera San Luis Obispo Sharon Dobson said she feels that BravoSLO! creates a bonding between the performing arts entities.
“All of us are in our own little worlds during the day, promoting our little organizations. But one time a year we come together in celebration of performing arts and the wonderful Performing Arts Center we have at Cal Poly,” Dobson said.
Attendees of the six-hour event can expect to see unique 15-minute “mini-performances” from the local participating arts groups, ranging from dance to choir. The showings will be held at the PAC in both Harman Hall and the Pavilion. Taking advantage of the Harman Hall, Klemin said, is one of the changes they made to the program for this year.
“We wanted to utilize the main stage more. We split it up to have dance, choral groups, organ and film shorts in (the) main hall. Before it was just dance, organ and film, so we included choral groups this time. The choral music sounds amazing in Harman Hall,” Klemin said. “We wanted to better utilize that space.”
As a break from the live performances, three film groups will be featured in Harman Hall, including showings by The Met, Youth Outreach for the Performing Art Center (YOPAC) and the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF). SLOIFF Director Wendy Eidson said that they are showing a short film that will give viewers a good idea of what to expect for the upcoming spring festival.
“We’re going to be previewing a short film that illustrates well what the film festival shows. It’s really a humorous documentary short — it’s 12 minutes long. It’s third graders recounting the days when their teacher was gone and they had a substitute,” she said.
While audience members aren’t viewing a performance, they are encouraged by the organizations to check out their variety of display groups. Opera San Luis Obispo, Dobson said, will be dressed up in full opera apparel.
“We’ll be dressed up in costumes and we’re going to show to the public different component pieces of what it takes to put on an opera — such as wigs and costumes,” Dobson said. “Each booth is there to give the public information about their organization. And so the volunteers are very informed, you can ask questions and meet the artist.”
Aside from booths, BravoSLO! will also provide complimentary drinks and appetizers, as well as door prizes and wine tasting. Klemin said she hopes students will take advantage of the free price tag.
“We would like to do more outreach to Cal Poly students,” Klemin said. “Sometimes there are student rush tickets available, but by and large, it seems like the cost of performances are prohibitive for students to attend as many as they want to. It’s an opportunity for them to see live performances in (Harman Hall) and see what kind of performing arts opportunities there are on campus.”
The event is free and open to the public, and will take place on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.