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Sensorio art exhibition to aid Kern nonprofits

Bruce Munro: Light at Sensorio is already quite a draw in Paso Robles. The colorful outdoor art exhibition has drawn thousands to view its unique beauty. Now Kern residents have another reason to visit the Central Coast: a fundraiser for two local organizations.

On May 13, the "Sensorio Gives Back" fundraiser will aid Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Kern County and Bakersfield Homeless Center. For every ticket sold for that night, $20 of it will be split between the organizations.

Since 1994, CASA of Kern County has served as an independent voice for dependent children living in protective care in the county. It trains volunteers to advocate for the safety and well-being of abused and neglected children and youth in the juvenile court process in the courts, schools and in the community. Learn more about the organization and how you can become an advocate at kerncasa.org.

The Bakersfield Homeless Center provides a safety net and support network for homeless and at-risk families, starting with basic shelter. Programs to help foster self-sufficiency and provide the tools needed to independently maintain housing for a lifetime are available as are transitional services including drug and alcohol counseling; medical, dental and mental health care; child care; after-school programs; and housing and job placement assistance. Learn more about the center by visiting bakhc.org.

This is not the first fundraiser held by the outdoor art exhibition. The inaugural "Sensorio Gives Back" in September raised nearly $15,000 for the San Luis Obispo Food Bank and Family Care Network, the Paso Robles Daily News reported. Other events last fall benefitted the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo Law Enforcement Assistance Foundation (SLO LEAF), Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation and RISE.

Since opening in 2019, the Field of Light attraction — made up of 58,000 solar-powered, fiber-optic lights spread over a 15-acre field — has drawn about 200,000 visitors. It closed in December due to statewide COVID-19 restrictions, and reopened earlier this month with a new name (Bruce Munro: Light at Sensorio) and a new feature. The Light Towers pay tribute to the area's 200-plus wineries and vineyards with 69 towers composed of more than 17,000 wine bottles, whose glowing optic fibers inside change colors to a custom musical score.

These illuminated towers are composed of 17,388 wine bottles — 252 bottles per tower — rising 6 feet high and lit in gently morphing color. The entire exhibit is solar-powered with Light Towers uses approximately the same power as four 60-watt lightbulbs.

Tickets to Sensorio must be purchased in advance to guarantee admission at a set time. Admission ranges from $30-$40 (plus fees) and $9.50-$19 for children 12 and under. Children under 2 are admitted free.

For more details, visit sensoriopaso.com

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.