The SLOPOKE annual fine art show and sale of contemporary art of the West was presented for the first time in Solvang in the Santa Ynez Valley, near Santa Barbara in early October at Flag Is Up Farms, a ranch owned and operated by Monty and Pat Roberts.
Meant to replace the well-respected Peppertree Art Show last held a decade ago, it attracted a crowd of art collectors and art aficionados who purchased paintings and sculpture from nearly 40 percent of the 31 participating artists.
A fine-art live auction, conducted by auctioneer Jim Glines, sold original paintings by Channing Peake and Don Weller, raising funds for Join-Up International. This charity provides free Horse Sense and Healing Workshops to help veterans and first responders with post-traumatic stress injuries build resilience and coping skills.
Renowned Central Coast musical artist and Flamenco guitarist Jon Stephen played original compositions throughout the weekend event. Opolo Vineyards served wine, and California Tacos offered tasty meal selections at noon. Each of these extras is an art in themselves. Attendees were very positive about the venue, with one stating, “When I buy Western art, I want to smell the hay and the horses.” Flag Is Up Farms definitely provides the right atmosphere.
A Friday evening Artist Reception, attended by local dignitaries and ticket holders, honored the juried selection of 31 exceptional artists (from over 400 invited to apply), who came from as far away as Austin, TX, and Colville, WA, to participate in the SLOPOKE. The artists — 7 sculptors, 23 painters, and 1 photographer — are extremely talented and well recognized within their markets. Choosing award winners was a challenging task.
With famed Los Angeles artist Gayle Garner Roski as jurist, awards were made to:
• Nancy Davidson of Santa Barbara for her oil painting “Waiting Again” as Best Painting
• Vic Riesau of Temple City, CA, Best Sculpture for “One Ornery Cuss”
• Thomas Blackshear, II of Colorado Springs, CO, Best of Show for his mixed media painting “Sun Hawk”
• Ezra Tucker of Monument, CO, Artist Choice Award
Mark your calendar now for SLOPOKE 2019, which is scheduled for September 27–29, 2019, with a similar format and cadre of exceptional artists. SLOPOKE Events, part of ENTREPRISE, LLC, is owner of this public art show. ENTREPRISE, LLC, also encompasses Seaside Gallery, a fine art gallery located in Pismo Beach, CA, featuring multiple artists with a variety of styles, and Digimagination, providing imaging and advertising services to a broad range of customers.