Community comes together to recognize Celeste Hope’s contributions to the arts 

PASO ROBLES — Gathered under the shining sun, Studios on the Park friends and family honored champion of art, photography, and music, Celeste Hope, on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Hope was honored during the nonprofit’s annual fundraising event Sweet Art Luncheon.

Proceeds raised at the Sweet Art Luncheon go to keeping Studios open and functioning and also to their Kids Art Smart Program for local youth. Studios has served over 100,000 students and visitors every year through our Kids Art Smart and Community Arts Access programs, free of charge. They have studied and created works of art in mediums such as marbleizing, sumi-e resist painting, watercolor, collage, sculpting, ceramics, and printmaking.

Honorees for the fundraiser are usually those who helped create Studio. The event acts as a way people can give money to Studio’s and their programs but also in honor of who they are celebrating.

This year Studios on the Park was able to raise over $25,000 at this year’s event held at Bella Terra Vineyard Estate.

Hope, who specializes in black and white photography, was surprised when learning she would be this year’s honoree. “I was very honored and excited,” she said.

Raised in Austin, Texas, Hope’s passion for the arts started at a young age with dance. At 10 years old, Hope received her first camera and from there her talents grew as she developed a passion to tell stories of the people around her.

“People drive me. I am a people person … I am drawn to children and women and I dont know why. It’s something inside me,” said Hope of what inspires her work. 

Leaning to a documentary style, Hope became drawn to black and white photography, noting how it brings out her subjects emotions in a raw format. She mentored under renowned photographer Mary Ellen Mark and soon her freelancing gigs took her all over the world.

Sweet Art Co-Chair Liz Lee said of Hope, “Celeste’s enthusiasm and desire to constantly explore new environments to convey stories is her driving force. She is a storyteller.”  

Twelve years ago, Hope came to Paso Robles and was immediately drawn to Studios on the Park. 

“I thought what they [Studios on the Park] were doing was important,” said Hope, who began as a volunteer for the nonprofit, later hosting fundraisers and becoming a member on the Board of Directors.

Guests at the event were dressed in black and white to resemble their “Work of Art” honoree and were welcomed with a cocktail provided by the Pappy McGregor’s new “Cocktail Trailer” — an extension of their Eleven Twenty-Two Cocktail Lounge & Speakeasy. Following a live auction, live music performance by Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist of Band of Heathens.

Studios on the Park is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a creative, educational, and transformational experience to enhance understanding and appreciation of the visual arts.

For more information on Studios on the Park, visit

Feature Image: (From left) Studios on the Park Board President Stephanie Wilbanks, Board Secretary Celeste Hope, and Board Director Liz Lee. Photo by John Fedorowicz