How ‘Merlot’ can you go? La Jolla’s Art & Wine Festival will show!
By Will Bowen
What could be better for your heart than sipping wine and viewing art — and knowing that you’re doing it to help La Jolla’s three elementary schools? It’s all possible at the third annual La Jolla Art and Wine Festival (LJAWF), to be held in the middle of Girard Street, from Pearl to Genter, on the weekend of Oct. 1-2. The 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. event is being directed by Joseph Lillis for the second year. Lillis is known for his triumphant handling of the Sausalito Art Festival in the Bay Area.
Event founder Sherry Ahern said this year’s goal is to make $60,000 to $80,000 for schools.
To that end, Lillis reports there will be 150 artist booths set up under white tents arranged in a zigzag pattern on Girard. At the end of artists’ row, there will be a stage for music with different groups performing jazz, folk, gypsy, blues, and surf rock on the hour each day of the event. Beyond the stage, there will be a large picnic-style beer and wine garden for sampling fine wines and great tasting beers with seating for 750.
On the east side of the Girard, a gourmet food court will spring up. On the west side, Geppetto’s Family Art Center is planned, where kids will be able to splash paint over everything — including a donated car!
All proceeds from the festival will go to La Jolla, Bird Rock, and Torrey Pines Elementary Schools — to support the art, music, and science programs on the budget-chopping block.
Lillis is optimistic about the future of LJAWF, too.
“Sausalito and La Jolla have a lot in common. Both are situated on the water in a beautiful setting. There are many art-minded people here, as in Sausalito, and I think we can build this festival into a Top 10 event,” he said.
Lillis explained that he upped the quality of the art at LJAWF and brought in a nationally recognized panel of jurors who selected a very high level of works “to attract greater interest.”
“I promise that you are going to see some very unique things — things you never expected to see. We were able to get topnotch artists to attend because they know they can sell well at my events. In Sausalito, some of the sculptors were making upward of $100,000 in the three-day event.”
Lillis has a background in musical theater and puts on his art events like they were a Broadway show.
“It’s just like producing a show for the stage,” he laughed. “The artists are the cast for the festival, much like the actors are for the theater. The sets are the booths and tents, and the focus is on entertainment.
“And we are also going to make this festival look very good. We are bringing in all the artists’ tents, so everything will be uniformly attractive. We will have set the tents up like a promenade; it’s going to be like strolling up the Champs-Élysées in Paris.”
2011 Panel of Art Jurors:
• Kathryn Kanjo is the chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD).
• Carol Romine Hawks served as the president of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival in Miami for 10 years.
• Robyn Nelson is the director of the Utah Arts Festival and a leader in commissioning works in the visual, performing, literary arts, and public art installations.
• Bruce Helander is an artist whose specialty is collage and assemblage. He is also an art critic and national juror with a master’s degree in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design.
• Caroll Swayze is a master printmaker and painter, a charter member of the Florida Printmakers Society.
If you go
What: 2011 La Jolla Art & Wine Festival
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1-2
Where: Girard Avenue, Pearl to Genter Streets
Who: 130 regional and national artists, 14 musical acts, dozens of vintners and food vendors
Why: Since launching in 2009, the LJAWF has raised more than $40,000 per year for La Jolla’s three elementary schools
Admission: $10; seniors (65+), military, kids $5; age 2 and under, free.
Note: The event replaces the Open Aire Market Sunday, Oct. 2. Some streets will be closed to motor traffic.
- They’re Engaged! Angelica Maria Quintero and Eric Matthew Spielman
- Two celebratory events for cancer survivors set in La Jolla
- Kaimalino Castle in La Jolla all decked out for Christmas
- Women in the arts invite others to join their La Jolla ‘support’ group
- Doris Lee McCoy will address Circumnavigators Club on Dec. 9 in La Jolla
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