Petaluma’s arts group launches eight-person show
Tonight, in the community room of the Petaluma Library (on East Washington Street), the Petaluma Arts Association (PAA) will celebrate the opening of its annual art show, with a display of works by its members. With 2017 marking the 60th anniversary of the PAA, the show will reflect the integral role the group has played in the Petaluma community. Eight of the association’s longtime members, all part of the organization for 25 years or longer, will be featured in the multi-work show, which is co-sponsored by Friends of the Petaluma Library.
Two of the featured artists are husband and wife Pat Marshall and Frank Marshall. The couple has been involved in the PAA since 1962. Frank taught art at Petaluma High School. They both work in water color and oils and currently have work on display at the Boulevard Café on Petaluma Boulevard North.
“The Petaluma Arts Association has been a major focus of our lives,” says Pat. “We have seen so many good things happening, made good friends, seen artists grow and develop and we have been able to be active in the community. Our four children have been active too.”
Connecting artists with each other and connecting art with the community at large is a major focus of the PAA, explains President Elaine Larson, a collage artist and relatively new member, having moved to Petaluma from San Rafael in 2008 after a career in information technology. According to Larson, a full year of special activities is planned.
“In addition to the show at the library, we are hosting open studios the first weekend of May,” she says. “Then, in September, we will be celebrating the 60th year of Art in the Park. We will be going back to our roots by placing an emphasis on fine art.”
In November, the Petaluma Historical Museum will host a show featuring 60 years of Petaluma artists, followed by a crafts show at the Community Center on Dec. 9-10. These special events are in addition to the PAA’s regular meetings, held on the first Tuesday of the month at the Petaluma Arts Center. The meetings, which are open to the public, feature a guest presentation from a local artist.
Part of the association’s mission is to support art in the Petaluma schools and to encourage student artists. Revenues raised by events like Art in the Park are used to fund a student scholarship each year, awarded to a young artist attending Santa Rosa Junior College, as well as grants made to individual teachers and classes in local schools. The association has funded plays, murals, framing supplies for student art shows and art supplies. It also funds special events, such as the recent master classes in painting and print-making taught by artists Emily Roeder and Marilyn Dizikes, held in conjunction with the Children’s Art Show at the Petaluma Historical Museum.
Though there is much the Petaluma Arts Association feels proud of, over its long tenure, its members are clear that the group is always looking towards the future. Another new member, Treasurer Bob Phillips, would like to see the association have greater awareness within the art community, and in the community at large.
“How can we connect with local artists? How do we collaborate to make art be fun? These are the questions we are asking,” Philips says. “PAA will be exploring how to bring more variety of arts education to community residents and for artists to help them launch their careers. We also want to bring in more young artists. We hope to see more collaboration with other arts organizations and to have individual artists involved in the community by, for example, donating art for fundraisers.”
Phillips and other members of the PAA are also looking into collaborating with the Petaluma Arts Center.
“We are looking to see where our missions overlap and how we can be more effective together,” Phillips says.
According to Phillips and Larsen, the PAA has made a huge impact on both of their lives. Larson, in addition to creating her art, is now involved in a county-wide effort to make sure that there is art in every classroom, in every grade, in Sonoma County’s schools. She has gone back to school herself to pursue a doctorate in education. Phillips, who started painting at the Senior Center after a long career in health care, joined PAA to learn more about his craft, and to meet other artists.
“There are only two things that increase in value when they get old,” Phillips jokes. “Wine is one, and the other is artists. Artists remain relevant, and can be appreciated as they get older.”