Opening in 1933 as the “Spanish Village Plunge”, this 28,000 square foot building has transformed from public swimming pool to Jamboree Surf Club to Spaghetti Factory and is now reopening as a multi-purpose art space supporting a wide array of creative disciplines. As the largest facility in the state’s most enduring arts hub, the Paseo Plunge’s long-awaited rebirth completes a district-wide restoration project along the historic gallery and retail strip. The new facility fulfills the vision of long-time Paseo advocate and community developer, John L. Belt, who saw the Plunge as a critical landmark that needed to be saved, not just for the sake of the district, but for all of Oklahoma City. Following John's passing in 2013, his wife, Joy Reed Belt, vowed to finish John's work and complete renovations so that the building could open to artists in 2015.
About The Paseo
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 17 galleries and more than 60 artists, all within walking distance. Intermingled with the galleries are fabulous restaurants, a coffee house, clothing boutique, gift shop, yoga studio and other businesses.