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During the Festival of the Arts in Paso Robles, Jim Irving welcomes guests to Studios on the Park, which recently opened its doors to the public.

Studios on the Park

September 1, 2009 - Central Coast Magazine, Culture

“I can imagine people who, all their lives, have wanted to study art and have been afraid to do so. Perhaps now, because they have been able to watch someone making a painting or ceramic item, they are inspired to finally take that class, finally develop their creative side,” explains Studios on the Park founder, Anne Laddon. Her vision has come true through the welcoming atmosphere of the art center which encourages visitors to walk through the doors and feel the same rush Laddon felt when she first worked alongside professional artists at the start of her career.

Laddon has spent the last 24 years in San Luis Obispo County raising her two children and painting as often as possible. She loves capturing the beauty of the area noting that, “I’ve fallen in love with the North County landscape and architecture.” However, she became frustrated that there wasn’t a space to gather with local artists and share “our passion for the arts with the community.” Now, thanks to Laddon’s determination, local artist have an even greater presence on the Central Coast.

Laddon’s motivation stems from her previous involvement in the transformation of a Washington D.C. torpedo factory into a working environment for area artists in 1974. It was here that she first began printmaking and where now 160 professional artists currently work, exhibit, and sell their art. When an old auto parts store came up for sale in Paso Robles in May of 2007, Laddon knew it was the perfect time to bring a similar concept across the country and to renovate the building into her long-time vision for a North County art studio. The one-story space is already a success with classrooms and exhibits, and there are future plans for a complete rebuilding of the structure into a two-story art center.

Distinctly different from a gallery, Studios on the Park provides an interactive opportunity for the public to enjoy not only original works of art, but also to witness the artists during the creation process and ask them questions as they weave, sculpt, mold, and paint.

Studios on the Park is a nonprofit organization that acts as one of the few open studio environments in the country as well as the premier organization of its kind in California. It strives to stimulate creative expression and to enhance the understanding and appreciation of the visual arts. Visitors are invited to be a part of this uniquely transforming experience by participating in one of the many educational programs for children and adults, or by stopping in to chat with the artists while viewing the quality exhibits first-hand.