It's already Wednesday and some of us are beginning to think about plans for the weekend. Whether you're preparing for a family outing, a first date or a night out with a few friends, it can be difficult to find options for a fun, budget-friendly excursion these days.

Fortunately for residents of San Luis Obispo County, the SLO County Arts Council works to promote art education and public access to the arts, by offering an array of fun events, workshops, meetings, and exhibits. The non-profit organization hosts events that are designed to facilitate the celebration and appreciation of art and are available to the public at little to no cost.

The Arts Council, also known as "Arts Obispo," will be a hosting one of its most popular events this Friday, April 1. On the first Friday of every month, "Art After Dark" takes over more than 20 galleries and non-traditional art venues in downtown San Luis Obispo. The event showcases the work of both established and emerging local artists, and occasionally some who are nationally and internationally acclaimed.

This month the Steynberg Gallery will have a special exhibit called "Down the Rabbit Hole," featuring the work of internationally recognized satirist Mark Bryan. The artist has been widely recognized and his work has been featured in publications, websites, and covers of books and magazines.

Frame Works will host an enticing exhibit called " From Field to Plate ." The demonstration will feature prints done with various art processes that chronicle our various relationships with food as it moves from the garden to the table and will run through May 20.

Meet downtown to experience these and a number of other great exhibitions for free. Art After Dark runs from 6 pm to 9 pm, and the venues are as follows:

1. Anam-Cre' Pottery Studio: 570 Higuera #140 (SLO Creamery) 544-1850 - Student & instructor pottery sale. Share some wine with your own purchased handmade cup and listen to Bluegrass music. anamcre.com

2. Art Central: 1329 Monterey 788-0887 - ‘Artistic Impressions' an intriguing mixed media & digital photography show by in-house artist Deborah Hobbs.

3. ARTS Space Obispo: 570 Higuera #165 (SLO Creamery) 544-9251 - M'Lou Mayo's ‘A Material World' on display showcasing sculptures & mixed media from 1970 to present. Wine pouring by Eberle Winery. artsobispo.org

4. Bali Isle: 672 Higuera 544-7662 - Recycled Art; Fibers and Fashion. Celebrate Earth Day with color analyst & stylist, Linda Waldon.

5. Bambu Batu: 1023 Broad 788-0806 - Handmade craft marketplace featuring local artisans and photography, wine from Lone Madrone, and Gypsy Jazz performed live. bambubatu.com

6. Baxter Moerman: 1118 Morro 305-8118 - Exploring Mokume Gane: Enjoy our newest jewelry utilizing this centuries-old Japanese technique of fused fine metals in organic patterns. baxtermoerman.com

7. compact: 1166 Higuera 235-3256 - Mai Braun ‘Double Flat' folded acrylic screenprint on tissue paper. Deyo Dances performing ‘Gnarley Buttons' at 6:30, 7:30 & 8:30 dancers: L. Deyo, R. Jensen & T. Tolmasoff. compactgallery.net

8. Frame Works: 339 Marsh 542-9000 - Demonstration by Central Coast Printmakers for 'From Field to Plate' Explore our relationship with food as it travels from garden to gallery. sloart.com

9. GALA Center: 1060 Palm 541-4252 - Showing works of Rosanne Anglade and Robert Eugene Click. ccgala.org

10. The Gallery @ Energy In Motion/Body Centered Therapy: 1023 Nipomo, Suite 50 (Soda Works Building) 305-5197 - Nikoletta Bersentes, "Healing Dimensions." Multidimensional Art inspired by nature, cohabiting with nature in the company of healing "Omomi Stones." nikolettabersentes.com

11. The Gallery at the Network: 778 Higuera, in the Network 788-0886 - "All Things Poppy II" will welcome Spring at the Gallery at the Network with poppy images from multiple gallery artists. galleryatthenetwork.com

12. Granada Bistro and Lounge: 1130 Morro 556-4211 - Exhibit: Urban Art.

13. Growing Grounds Downtown Store: 956 Chorro 544-4967 - We will not be featuring an artist this month but hope to see you in May for the start of our 2011 Art After Dark Season.

14. Hands Gallery: 777 Higuera 543-1921 - High dynamic range (HDR) photography by local artist David Johnson. If you are interested in photography this is a must see show. handsgallery.com

15. Heaven and Earth: 964 Chorro (Upstairs) 801-0163 - Come hang on or off our New Orleans style balcony and see the wild and wonderful fabric art banners.

16. History Center of San Luis Obispo County: 696 Monterey 543-0638 - Exhibits include: Wedding dress display, photos & stories of Morro Bay's fishermen during the 1970s, an early 1900s librarian's office. historycenterslo.org

17. Hospice of SLO @ the Dorthy Rupe Center: 1304 Pacific 544-2266 - Tour our historic home and view works by local favorites Marcy Adams and Anne Kellogg. Chamisal Vineyards to pour.

18. humanKind Fair Trade: 982 Monterey 594-1220 - Paintings by local artist Sheryl Daane Chesnut. Sheryl's paintings are contemporary abstract, landscape & figurative. humankindslo.org

19. Ian Saude: 1003 Osos 784-0967 - Images from Arthur Tress's visionary photo suite, Requiem for a Paperweight (1992) - a psycho-spiritual chronicle of the American salary man. iansaude.com

20. iDrew Fine Art: 331 Pacific 234-2302 - Showing at the Beacon Art Show for April, please come back for here for May's Art After Dark. drewdavis.com

21. Josephine Crawford Studio: 873 Church (Railroad district) 543-2237- 5-6pm Pre-Party Salon. Maps & previews of Art After Dark. (close at 6).

22. Kevin Main Jewelry: 720 Higuera 547-0662 - Featuring Scott Hemphill from Eureka and his strikingly original copper sculptures of marine life, boats, and more. kevinmain.com

23. Linnaea's Café: 1110 Garden 541-5888 - New works by Liz Maruska lizmaruska.com Reception during Art After Dark. linnaeas.com

24. The Photo Shop: 1027 B Marsh 543-4025 - BODY OF WORK a tremendous collection of photographic images from Alaska to Yosemite by BOB CANEPA is on display. Artist in attendance 6-8pm. photoshopslo.com

25. San Luis Obispo Museum of Art: 1010 Broad, in Mission Plaza 543-8562 - "Inside Out: Self-Portraiture," Gray Wing; "Nixson Borah: Movements," First Gallery; "Shirley Pittman: Aqueous Visions," upstairs gallery; "Russ Pope," Nybak Wing. sloma.org

26. Stephen Patrick Design: 888 Monterey 544-3326 - Talented local artists: J.Salazar, P.Forrest, D.England, M.James, J.Thies, R.Wayne, S.Pierce, D.Wolfe, K. Patrick, M. Manning - Canvas, Furniture, Jewelry, Botanicals, Photography.

27. Steynberg Gallery: 1531 Monterey 547-0278 - New paintings by Mark Bryan "Down the Rabbit Hole". Join us and enter into the fascinating world of Mark's painting. steynberggallery.com

28. West End Espresso & Tea: 670-A Higuera 543-4902 - Exhibits talented local artists - acrylics, oils, photography - various styles & types. Come see what's new! westendespressoandtea.com

For more information please contact Arts Obispo at (805) 544-9251 or visit their website at www.sloartscouncil.org .