I was only able to get to one event today — the “Don’t Feed the Artists” panel discussion this afternoon. When I left home it was pouring rain and I was hoping any rain that wanted to fall would finish before dawn tomorrow for the sake of all those exhibiting outdoors or entering the Quick Draw competition. The rain seemed to finish by the time I left the library after the panel discussion. It was a sunny drive to the park where I wanted to take my walk and get pictures of those gray clouds. Before I finished my walk it was pouring and I barely made it back to the car without getting drenched. I sat out the storm in my Paso house before driving back to Templeton in brilliant sun again. Is this really May? It seems like the April we should have had.
The panelists are pictured above. Left to right they are David Settino Scott, a painter and sculptor; Drew Silvaggio, a dancer and the artistic director of Civic Ballet; Charmaine Martinez, an associate professor of graphic design at Cal Poly; and Neal Breton, who opened San Luis Art Supply in 2009 and is very active in promoting art locally. The moderator, unseen except for her arms in the left of the picture, is Ashley Schwellenbach, managing editor of the New Times, as well as cofounder and editor of San Louie, an art focused local publication.
Although I took some video of the discussion, I won’t have time to process it until later, when I will write all about those things at the festival I can personally observe. Today’s discussion was animated and dealt with interesting questions like these (paraphrased):
- When did you discover you were an artist?
- Who should pay to support the arts?
- How did where you were raised affect your art?
- Do you use your art to promote your social and political views?
- How do you feel when people criticize your work?
- What does it mean to be creative?
As the panelists spoke, their art work was rotated on the overhead screen, and that made this presentation partly visual. It was fascinating to watch Drew’s body language. He danced to his seat on the panel and punctuated his statements with his hands. David’s comments showed that his years had given him the time to develop a matter-of-fact perspective of his work and experiences, which he expressed candidly.
All in all, I left with a better idea of what role art played in the lives of these particular artists, and what their attitude was toward their work. I also left with the idea that if I’d asked some of the other artists I’ve met those same questions, their answers would be as individual as the ones I heard this afternoon.
Although you may not have gotten to the Friday activities, be sure to attend the main event in the Park on Saturday from 10-5. And bring the kids. They will have a wonderful time in the youth section. Pick up the program when you come in so you can plan well enough not to miss what you are most interested in. There will be dancers, the Plein Air Quick Draw (begins at 9), live concerts, the outdoor fine art show and sale, places to buy food and drink to benefit the festival, interactive educational and art activities in the environmental area, and more. Don’t forget to spend some time at Studios on the Park, where there will also be concerts and a chance to see two more art exhibits and meet more artists.