RP artist one of 10 featured at exhibit
Art show at library runs March 4-15
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By Jud Snyder  February 21, 2014 12:00 am

Sonoma County’s loaded with artists. There are probably more artists per capita in studios west of Sebastopol than there are in Greenwich Village or the entire city of Taos, New Mexico.

We bring this up because Rohnert Park’s Annual Invitational Art Exhibit will be held in the Forum Room, just inside the main door to the Rohnert Park-Cotati Public Library on Lynne Conde Way. It begins Tuesday March 4 and runs through Saturday March 15. Admission is free.

Exhibit hours are noon to 6 pm weekdays, noon to 3 pm both Saturdays, and closed Sunday and Monday, March 9-10, when the library is closed. There’ll be a “meet the artists” reception for the public, Wednesday March 5 from 6 to 7:30 pm.

Several Rohnert Park artists will be showing their works in this year’s exhibit including Donald Pate and (full confession), yours truly.

Pate has an interesting background. He’s a travel consultant, working for several travel companies including Oakmont Travel and has visited many countries worldwide as part of his career. He’s also a professional photographer and has many exhibits to his credit.

He lives in D Section and his front yard is filled with plants, most of them potted. Right now he’s concerned about his geraniums which were killed by heavy frosts earlier this year. “I’m not optimistic about saving them but I’ll give them a few more weeks to see if they’ll survive.

“I was born in Texas, in a little town near Dallas and when I graduated from high school, I went to a business college in New York City and also art school there. I then got involved in the travel business and never really left it,” Pate, 76, added. 

“ My travel company sent me to their San Francisco office and I found a place in Tiburon to rent for I really love living near the water. Then my travel consulting business really grew and I felt the need for more permanent headquarters with room for an art studio. Rohnert Park had the perfect spot.”

He works in oils, acrylics and watercolor and has many photographs from his extensive travels for inspiration. He’s not specializing in certain categories, they’re mostly representational paintings of people, foreign scenes and flowers. Many of his pieces are framed and hanging on his interior walls. They have competition from many of his framed photos, potted plants and knick-knacks from his travels.

“My next trip will take me back to Africa, so  you can expect me to return to my studio and concentrate on paintings based on what I saw in several African countries.”

Pate has never been married but seemingly has friends everywhere. “I often stay with friends in Pacific Grove, not far from Asilomar, and of course, they’re close to Monterey Bay.

“I’ve visited Carmel, its overloaded with art galleries and boutiques – really not my favorite city, it’s too commercial.”

The Rohnert Park art exhibit itself occupies a unique niche in the North Bay art world. It’s only once a year and only ten artists are invited. This makes it a most desirable art show in Sonoma County and it has a reputation for quality and not quantity that attracts a large audience.

Sponsors are Friends of the Library and RP’s Association for the Arts (AFTA). Three representatives from these groups do the screening and selection each year. Formal term for the trio are “curators” but very few label them as such.

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