A salon, chocolate shop and pub were only some of more than 20 nontraditional-venues-turned-art-galleries featured in Friday’s Art After Dark event. But maybe the most surprising stop at ARTS Obispo’s Art After Dark was the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC).
For the first time in Art After Dark’s 12-year history, the PAC was converted into a featured gallery.
Melody Klemin, outreach services director for the PAC, said the venue and ARTS Obispo began brainstorming the collaboration more than a year ago.
“It came together as kind of this perfect storm of factors,” Klemin said. “We’ve been wanting to partner with ARTS Obispo for a while because we serve the same target population. And although Art After Dark has generally just been about visual art downtown, the arts council wanted to break into more performing arts as well.”
Klemin said the PAC was already going to have the Cal Poly Jazz Band’s open rehearsal at the same time, so everything fell into place seamlessly.
Then the management team found out it was also Arts Education Month.
“We thought, ‘Oh man, perfect,’” Klemin said.
Along with complimentary Cal Poly wine and hors d’oeuvres that included Cal Poly chocolates, the PAC provided a free shuttle service.
The shuttle ran in a loop from the PAC to downtown throughout the night. Patrons were encouraged to park in the Grand Avenue structure, start their art tour at the PAC and then continue their tour via the shuttle.
Bre Goetz, an academic adviser for the College of Liberal Arts, supported the addition of the PAC to the monthly art trek.
“I haven’t been back to Art After Dark in years, since I was a student at Cal Poly, but I know one of the coordinators,” Goetz said. “There’s free food and drink, and it’s on campus this time, which is a very convenient location.”
Although Goetz is not a habitual Art After Dark patron, the regulars agreed with her.
Psychology junior Lorin Farr has attended Art After Dark monthly since her freshman year.
“It’s got a small community feel,” she said. “I’m biking from here to downtown, but it’s still nice to start at the PAC. It’s an easy meeting place, and the shuttle’s a good idea too.”
Art After Dark attendees such as Goetz and Farr converged upon the PAC’s Rossi Grand Library to see a collection of student works from the Cal Poly University Art Gallery and local artist William Tuck’s watercolors, landscapes and still-life paintings.
After retiring from a position with the Department of Defense, Tuck turned back to art, his first passion.
When Tuck, a member of the Paso Robles Art Association, found out he was chosen as the Performing Arts Center’s featured artist, he was humbled.
“Quite frankly, I was honored by my selection,” Tuck said.
Tuck’s artwork is diverse with abstracts, landscapes, political pieces and introspective works.
“They’re like my children,” he said. “You don’t just have a favorite.”
Still, Tuck is partial to “The Road Narrows,” an abstract watercolor that represents the idea of aging.
“‘The Road Narrows’ is about exactly that,” he said. “When you’re young, you’ve got the whole world ahead of you, and as you grow older, things start to narrow out. You have all the options while you’re young, but you find your path.”