By Pamela Dozois

The much-anticipated SLOPOKE Art Exhibition and Sale will once again be held at Flag Is Up Farms in Solvang on Sept. 25-27.

A Western-themed art show, SLOPOKE is more than cowboys and Indians. The art includes abstracts to photography of landscapes, seascapes, urbanscapes, wildlife and virtually anything that captures the spirit of the West from the 1850s until 2020.

Although many artists from throughout the Southwest as well as California are invited, only 20-30 are accepted through a jurying process. This year, the jurist will be Jim Wodark, a California Art Club artist who won Best of Show last year at SLOPOKE.

“SLOPOKE continues to be the highest quality regional art show along California’s Central Coast,” said Tom Burgher, founder of SLOPOKE and co-owner, along with his wife Sherie, of Entreprise, LLC, an entrepreneurial art enterprise that includes Seaside Fine Art Gallery in Pismo Beach. “SLOPOKE is celebrating its 10th anniversary and the third year we are fortunate enough to be at Flag Is Up Farms due to the kindness and courtesy of Pat and Monty Roberts.”

“Late Night,” a 20×24 oil on canvas by Jim Wodark.
Photo contributed

“Flag Is Up Farms is the perfect spot to host SLOPOKE,” Burgher pointed out. “The art show is set up in a roofed, 25,000-square-foot riding arena open on three sides providing lots of space critical today to maintaining social distancing and natural air flow common to Solvang in the autumn. Further, to make people safe and comfortable, visiting the SLOPOKE this year, each visitor and all artists will be provided with a 100 percent cotton SLOPOKE cowboy bandana similar to the SLOPOKE logo to be used as a face mask and to keep as a souvenir.

“Flag Is Up Farms is an authentic venue with great atmosphere. It has an open floor plan, with white walls, color-corrected LED lighting to perfectly display the artwork. Art collectors can interact with all of the artists in this open-air arena. Our objective is to replace the once very popular and highly thought of Peppertree Art Show that was run by Irma and Bob Eubanks. The last Peppertree Art Show was held in 2008,” Burgher said.

Tom and Sherie Burgher created the SLOPOKE (originally named the SLOPOKE Western Art Rodeo but shortened as time wore on) after visits to the Autry Museum’s Masters of the American West Show and the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Annual Art Auction because of the uniqueness and beauty of the western art genre and the fact that no one else on the Central Coast was marketing it on a regular basis. They made “quality” the primary plank in the platform of the SLOPOKE; quality of art, quality of presentation, quality of promotion and quality of execution. 

“I’m looking forward to the 2020 SLOPOKE Art Exhibition coming in September. I hope to have two new sculptures to exhibit there along with some others done in the past,” said Pat Roberts, sculptress and owner of Flag Is Up Farms. “This is a great show and the perfect location for an art exhibit to meet the Santa Barbara County requirements for a gathering with our large outdoor arena allowing us to spread the art out and keep everyone at safe distances.”

Awards include Best of Show, Best Painting, Best Sculpture, Best Wildlife, and Artists Choice Awards. The last two are sponsored by Art of the West Magazine and Western Art and Architecture Magazine.

“We are posting a different artist’s work for the SLOPOKE on Instagram every day at #slopokewesternartshow and we are modifying the website weekly at,” Burgher said.

The Artists Reception is scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and the public is welcome to attend. The art show is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept.26, and from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27.

Tickets are $25 per person and include parking on the ranch, the bandana, and the SLOPOKE Art Booklet. The admission fee will be refunded if art over $250 is purchased.

Flag Is Up Farms is at 901 East Highway 246, Solvang. For more information, visit call 805-570-8088 or email