By Pamela Dozois

Contributing Writer

An experiment to move the annual SLOPOKE fine art show and sale to Solvang from the Five Cities area was a success.

Meant to replace the respected Peppertree Art Show, last held a decade ago, the show and sale of “art of the West” on Oct. 6-7 at Flag Is Up Farms attracted a good crowd of art collectors and aficionados who bought paintings and sculptures from nearly 40 percent of the 31 participating artists.

An auction conducted by Jim Glines of Santa Maria sold original Channing Peake and Don Weller paintings to raise funds for Join-Up International. The nonprofit provides free Horse Sense and Healing Workshops to help veterans and first responders with post-traumatic stress injuries build resilience and coping skills.

The show was staged inside the farm’s 24,000-square-foot covered riding arena.

slopoke solvang

Tom Burgher and Gayle Roski discuss sculpture award candidates with the winner, “One Ornery Cuss” by Vic Riesau, seen in the background.

“Customers were very positive about the venue, with one stating, ‘When I buy Western art, I want to smell the hay and the horses.’  Flag Is Up Farms definitely provides the right atmosphere,” said Tom Burgher, founder of SLOPOKE and co-owner with his wife, Sherie, of Enterprise LLC, an art business that includes Seaside Fine Art Gallery in Pismo Beach.

A Friday evening artist reception, attended by local dignitaries and ticket holders, honored the juried selection of 31 (from more than 400 invited to apply) artists who came from as far away as Austin, Texas, and Colville, Wash., to participate in SLOPOKE.

“All 31 artists, including seven sculptors, 23 painters, and one photographer, are extremely talented and well recognized within their markets,” Burgher said. “Choosing award winners is a challenging task.”

With famed Los Angeles artist Gayle Garner Roski as jurist, awards were made to Nancy Davidson of Santa Barbara for her oil painting “Waiting Again” as Best Painting; Vic Riesau of Temple City,  Best Sculpture for “One Ornery Cuss;” Thomas Blackshear II of Colorado Springs, Best of Show for his mixed media painting “Sun Hawk;” and Ezra Tucker of Monument, Colo., the Artist Choice Award.

“One visitor commented that having attended many fine art shows in their life, they usually found, irrespective of skill or quality, that only one-third of the art appealed to them. At the SLOPOKE 2018, almost all the art appealed to their sense of quality and taste. This customer bought multiple paintings this year,” Burgher added.

“Most of us feel we have had a great launch for reviving outstanding art shows in the Santa Ynez Valley. The 2018 show exemplified the finest of art. Most of the artists participating this year were from the previous Peppertree Art Shows,” said sculptor Pat Roberts, who owns Flag Is Up Farms with her husband, Monty. “Although it was in a larger than life barn, the ambiance and the display of art was conducive to showcasing fine art of all categories. If someone missed this year’s show, they should plan to attend next year.”

SLOPOKE 2019 will be held Sept. 27- 29 with a similar format and group of exceptional artists.

For more information, call 805-773-8057 or 805-570-8088; visit, or Faceboook/seasidegallerypismo; or send email to