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Morro Bay Art Center thrives and survives to reach 70 years 

Salon Exhibit Nico Vandenheuvel Still life with flute. collage

Still life collage by Nico Vandenheuvel from the Salon Exhibit. Photos provided by Morro Bay Art Association.

–Who would believe it? The Morro Bay Art Association is in its 70th year! “Imagine this,” exclaimed Pat Newton, President, “celebrating 70 years by surviving a worldwide pandemic.”

A year ago, the gallery at the Art Center on Main Street in Morro Bay was closed for a few weeks as everyone sheltered in place. However, as soon as they were able to follow all the guidelines for retail they reopened, reducing days of operation to 5 days per week. All classes, workshops, excursions, receptions (any kind of gathering) were stopped, but the gallery stayed open, and they extended exhibit periods for longer terms. Now, the gallery returns to open seven days per week, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. beginning April 1, 2021.

Art in the Park is one of the association’s largest income sources and they have been operating in the red without government funding. Volunteers are the bottom line of operations for the group and as the pandemic progressed some of the most dedicated volunteers stepped forward to help, allowing the more vulnerable volunteers to remain in the safety of their homes.

Cloud Mask Experiment by Pat Watson

Cloud Mask Experiment by Pat Watson.

The center has meticulously followed safe protocols, cut hours, and continues to do whatever they are able to keep everyone safe including their customers. Art in the Park is still pending but they are hopeful to hold the event since May (Memorial Day weekend), July 4th, and Labor Day weekends are outdoor events. This will be dependent on state and local government officials.

Currently, the art center offers online workshops, with one coming up with Thomas W. Schaller as a live interactive workshop on zoom, with video following the workshop for 30 days on YouTube for registered students. There is training available for anyone who isn’t familiar with zoom. This workshop is over the course of three days, from the safety of home, April 16, 17, and 18. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a lunch break in between. For more information see: https://artcentermorrobay.org/index.php/workshops/

Register here for the workshop: https://artcentermorrobay.org/index.php/products/

The center is planning to return to limited in-person art workshops for adults and children beginning soon. They will continue to follow safety protocols such as smaller classes, wearing masks, and social distancing for the sake of others. For more information see: https://artcentermorrobay.org/index.php/comingevents/classes/

art center morro bay

The Art Center Morro Bay is located at 835 Main Street, Morro Bay.

The current Flower Power exhibit, with Ikebana floral arrangements, is like walking into rooms full of sunshine. Just what COVID-19 wary people need right now!

May 8 through April 24, the exhibit switches to Broken Nature. This exhibit explores the serious broken nature of our planet. For more information see: https://artcentermorrobay.org/index.php/upcoming-exhibits/

Upcoming is the Salon 2021, with art hung in the French Salon method emphasizing the special artist statements from each artist in the exhibit. An opening Vernissage will be Saturday, May 29, 2021, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Live music on the patio is planned during Farmer’s Market).

The association is also working on adding a history wall to the gallery with stories about how the Morro Bay Association began and all the struggles and joys involved. This is how The Morro Bay Art Association is celebrating 70 years!

The Art Center Morro Bay is located at 835 Main Street, Morro Bay. For more information, call (805) 772-2504.

By Ruth Ann Angus

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