Community Leader’s View: Art, wine festival unites three schools common cause

By Sharon Jones
La Jolla Cluster Association

The La Jolla Art and Wine Festival is proof that exciting things that can be done when a community comes together around a common goal. The third annual festival will be held Oct. 1 and 2 on upper Girard Avenue. For details, visit

The LJAWF started with Sherry Ahern, the dynamo who founded the La Jolla Open Aire Market. Ahern, a lover of art and music, felt that the village of La Jolla needed to celebrate its artistic roots. Because she had a long record of fundraising success, she got the go-ahead from the La Jolla Elementary foundation board.

Donna Scurio, president of the foundation, Friends of LJE, recalled that it was important to Ahern from the beginning that the festival should include the two other La Jolla public elementary schools, Torrey Pines and Bird Rock.

“We approached them and they were excited to be involved,” Scurio remembered. The three schools shared $60,000 in profit last year, and organizers hope to make even more this year.

Andrea Dahlberg, a parent at Torrey Pines Elementary, has been involved in the festival from the start.

“It helps the community but also helps the school,” said Dahlberg. “I enjoy meeting the other folks from the other schools and working together.”

Kristy Johnson, a parent at Bird Rock who also serves on the festival’s executive committee, agrees.

“It brings everybody together and it’s a fun event and we make a lot of money,” said Johnson. “It’s a brilliant idea. We should have more ideas like that.”

Many community members have embraced the event. Brian Miller, owner of Geppetto’s Toy Stores, has been a major sponsor of the festival since its inception. This year, Miller is sponsoring the Geppetto’s Family Art Center, which will feature all kinds of fun activities for children to do.

To Miller, the festival is a win-win for the business community.

“It’s a great way to market your business to an affluent client base,” he said. “And every year, as it grows, it’s more money for our schools, which is so important. Raising money is critical for public education.”

Sponsors, advertisers and volunteers are still needed. There are two advertising spots available in the festival program, which will be delivered to 100,000 residents in select San Diego neighborhoods. For more information, e-mail Dahlberg at:

Jones is a parent who sits on the board of the La Jolla Cluster Association, an organization that unites the five public La Jolla schools.

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Posted by Staff on Aug 20, 2011. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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