Have a lark at Morro Bay’s Art in the Park

The Morro Bay Art Association hosts Art in the Park three holiday weekends a year — Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day — at City Park just past the Highway 1 exit on Morro Bay Boulevard.

“It all started 55 years ago,” show director Alan Cook said. “All 17 members nailed their art to trees in the wooded area of Eagle Rock. It has grown to be the biggest fundraiser for the association and funds our high school and college student art contest and show each fall.”

With the muscle of Morro Bay’s Boy Scouts Troop 214 to set up, fine artists and craftsmen from Florida to Hawaii bring their best to display, demonstrate and sell.

“They love to come to the Morro Bay show,” Cook said. “Most will come from California and Oregon. We have regulars who don’t miss a show and then new vendors each year. We limit the number of artists in one art form to give a nice variety to the show. We have wood turners, pottery, metal and wood sculpture, jewelers, fused glass, photography, leather, oils and acrylics. Don Miller will be back. He won the Duck Award for his wildlife paintings.”

Cook took the reins 12 years ago.

“The association had selected a potter from Cambria to direct the show,” he explained, “but the earthquake destroyed his works. He needed time to rebuild.”

An artist himself, Cook showed three-dimensional nautical scenes. He offered to help organize and found he was good at it. The members and artists alike insisted he continue as director. A few years ago, a rumor circulated that he might retire. At the end of the show, he was given a petition signed by all the artists saying they didn’t want him to go.

“As a former vendor, I’m tough and stick to the guidelines to maintain the quality of the art for the public,” Cook said.

“But 90 percent of these artists are like family to me. I respect them and want them to do well. And now I have (Art in the Park’s assistant show director) Chris Pool’s help. As long as I can do it, I like the challenge of coming up with new ideas to enhance the show.”

The show is free. Artists wishing to show should contact Cook at 772-7964 or cookscoves@aol.com.

Carol Norton is the association’s president. A new show, “Parades & Festivals,” opened last week through June 24 at the Art Center at 835 Main St. Featured are mixed-media artists Jade Herrera and Jacqueline Morello and seven additional artists from the Central Coast producing 3-D glass. Find more information at www.artcentermorrobay.com.   By Judy Salamacha — judysalamacha@gmail.com

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