History of "The Paseo" and The Paseo Arts Association
The Paseo was developed by Oklahoman G.A. Nichols in 1929 as the first shopping district north of downtown. The curved, two-block street has maintained its Spanish revival architecture with original stucco buildings and clay tile roofs still intact. The Paseo is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The arts have always been a part of the Paseo. The Elm's, a resident art gallery and studio built in 1920, located at 27th and Walker, was the first Oklahoma City artist studio and gallery.
In the 1950s, Paseo was home to small businesses, student partying and jazz clubs. The 1960s brought the counter culture with its creativity, free spirit and problems. The Paseo began its transition into an arts district in the 1970s. The first annual Paseo Arts Festival was held Memorial Day weekend in 1977 and the Paseo Arts Association was formed in 1982 to organize and further energize its place as Oklahoma's arts district. Today a vibrant group of artists with substantial involvement and support from the larger community continues to build The Paseo Arts District into one of the most creative art venues in the country.
The Paseo is now home to 20 galleries and more than 75 artists, all within walking distance. Intermingled with the galleries are fabulous restaurants, event center, art schools, boutiques, gift shops and other businesses.
The Paseo Arts Association is a non-profit, 501 c 3 organization. In January 2008 the PAA adopted this revised mission statement: The Paseo Arts Association seeks to preserve and maintain the Paseo in Oklahoma City as an historic arts district. We seek to foster an environment of cultural exchange between the public and the arts through performances, festivals and educational programming.