This year our 17th annual western art show was open to all community artists. All entry fees were paid back to the artists in awards. The western artwork that came in was exemplary. We brought in “The California Cowboys” a great western band, to have a barn dance for the artists and Oakdale western enthusiasts. We had the event Friday evening (April 8), so not to compete with the Oakdale Saddle Club event. The Oakdale Leader included the event in the rodeo weekend activities as usual. A stage was built for the band and the cost and labor for the event was exorbitant.
We were hoping to ”break even” and consider our labor a promotion for the arts. We donate hundreds each month to keep the co-op gallery open in our renovated barn gallery on Orange Blossom Road. This year, the event was interrupted by Oakdale Police Department, who refused to leave our driveway. There were no alcohol sales and the only underage dancers were a group of 5- to 7-year-olds. When asked why Oakdale police were four miles out of their jurisdiction, they told us the sheriff’s department had been called and they were busy. They accused us of giving ID bracelets to underage drinkers who supposedly were using them at the rodeo dance.
Number one, the dance was the following night. Number two, we gave no ID bracelets to underage drinkers.
Is this police harassment? Doesn’t Oakdale police department have enough to do on rodeo weekend?
Our goal has always been to create a retreat for artists and enhance our community.
Bonsack Gallery and Art School
P.S. — Congratulations to Rebecca Harvey for “Best of Show” for her beautiful western photography.