La Jolla Festival of the Arts will kick off the summer this weekend, June 21-22
By Susan DeMaggio
The 28th annual La Jolla Festival of the Arts (LJFA) returns to UCSD’s Warren Field, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 21-22, bringing for show and sale thousands of works of fine art, local cuisine, wine, craft beers and musical entertainment — including American Idol finalist, Casey Abrams.
For the past 27 years, proceeds from this festival, produced by the Torrey Pines Kiwanis Club, were used to help San Diegans living with disabilities. To date, the Torrey Pines Kiwanis Foundation has raised more than $1.7 million to fund 30 adaptive sports, recreation and education programs throughout the county.
“That’s what brought me to the club,” said its secretary/treasurer Suzanne Sheridan. “What we do with the festival’s proceeds makes the event more meaningful; it has a larger, deeper impact than just going to an art fair. One of the many programs funded by the festival are the water sports camps for kids in wheelchairs. The camps mean so much to so many!”
This year, more than 200 West-Coast artists have passed through a rigorous jury process to win the chance to showcase their work in painting, sculpture, photography, glass, jewelry, ceramics, wood, fiber and mixed media.
Two standout La Jolla artists exhibiting are jewelry designer Mitzi Howard and photographer John Maher.
Howard is a second-time exhibitor who creates one-of-a-kind wearable art by braiding, stringing, wire-wrapping and crocheting materials, combining them with fine glass and gemstone beads. (See samples at lajollarocksjewels.com)
“I started making jewelry several years ago when I could not find bold jewelry items created with high quality natural gemstones and fine metals that I wanted to wear,” Howard blogs about her designs. “In my studio atop Mt. Soledad, I use only the finest available gemstone beads, cultured pearls, metallic fibers, artisan dichoroic glass, Argentium silver, sterling silver, 14/20 gold-filled and 14kt gold to create my (mostly) one-of-a-kind designs.”
Maher is a newcomer to the festival and a third-generation La Jollan. Before deciding to pursue photography, he was a sponsored surfer for top industry brands like Rusty, Reef and Rip Curl. His surfing experience has enlightened him with a deep appreciation of the ocean landscape, which is reflected in his aquatic photos. (See some of his images at johnmaherphoto.com)
When La Jolla Light asked him what kinds of images art lovers would find at his festival booth, he replied, “I specialize in taking unique images at, and below, the surface of the ocean. Many of my ocean images are refreshingly abstract while others have a classic, timeless appeal. I’ll be exhibiting my latest fine art collection, taken over the past eight months. The majority of my images were taken while swimming off the shoreline of La Jolla.
“My goal is to shoot photographs of the ocean, and the surrounding beach culture, that most people never have the opportunity to see. It’s important for me to make images that engage the viewer with curiosity, while at the same time personifying natural beauty, all while standing the test of time. I want the viewer to feel the energy in my images each time they see them.”
Maher’s images are printed onto the highest quality imaging paper using digital negatives and an old-school developing technique.
“Images on display at my booth will be face-mounted behind quarter-inch thick museum-grade acrylic using a float box, giving them a borderless wet feeling. Some of my other images will be framed with reclaimed teak imported from Indonesia, as well as classic black and white frames custom built for each image.”
Music and more
In addition to aisle after aisle of art, a main stage will host “American Idol” season 10 finalist Casey Abrams performing his soulful pop/rock favorites, 2-5 p.m. Saturday.
Returning musical guests include Dave Scott & Monsoon Jazz, Peter Sprague, Fred Benedetti and the Jazz 88 All-Stars, who will also appear on the main stage throughout the weekend.
A “Restaurant Row” will offer specialty cuisine from Stone World Bistro, Homeplate Fries, Bottaro Pizza, Green Truck and others. Craft beers and fine wines will also be for sale.
For the younger visitor, an activities zone will have art, fun and golf games presented by sponsor AWM Global Advisors.
LJFA supporters and media partners include the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, San Diego County Volvo Retailers, Wyndham Vacation Resorts, ScanDiego, Monarch Fine Art of La Jolla, Linda Brandes Foundation, AWM Global Advisors, Sharp Healthcare Foundation, Jazz 88.3, Saddleback Golf Cars, Stone Brewing Co., Event Beverage Solutions, La Jolla Playhouse, Whole Foods Market La Jolla, UC San Diego, San Diego Business Journal, U-T San Diego, U-T Community Press including La Jolla Light, Ranch & Coast and San Diego Magazine.
IF YOU GO: La Jolla Festival of the Arts
■ When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22
■ Where: UC San Diego’s Warren Field, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla
■ Tickets online: $11 single-day pass, $13 weekend pass at ljfa.org
■ Tickets at the door: $14 single day, $16 weekend.
■ Perks: Active duty military (and ages 16 years and under) admitted free. Complimentary auto and bicycle parking with shuttle service available.
■ Website for artist roster, schedule: ljfa.org
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