Fun in the Sun: La Jolla Festival of the Arts celebrates its 25th year

Linda Pirri's 2011 festival poster is one of two this year.
Linda Pirri's 2011 festival poster is one of two this year.

By Kirby Brooks

Art, music, culture, food and philanthropy will all come together at the 25


annual La Jolla Festival of the Arts at Warren Field on the east campus of UCSD, June 18


  1. Visitors will see the work of nearly 200 award-winning artists on display with entertainment by The Mar Dels, Rockola, Dave Scott Band, Fred Benedetti & Peter Sprague, and the U.S. Navy Destroyers.

Proceeds from the event, which has evolved from an art festival to a weekend-long extravaganza, support more than 30 programs for San Diegans with disabilities.

“With 2011 marking 25 years of art and giving, this year’s La Jolla Festival of the Arts is going to be the best ever,” said co-chair Ted Peña, a member of the Torrey Pines Kiwanis, which produces the event. “From a new grass venue on UCSD’s campus, adding craft beer and fine wine to our restaurant row, and bringing back the Mar Dels and Rockola, this is no doubt the most anticipated festival to date … and it’s all for a great cause.”

In celebration of the festival’s silver anniversary, two pieces of art were chosen for the commemorative poster — a classic coastal scene of La Jolla painted by Karen McLean-McGraw and a piece touting a “quarter-century of art and giving” by Linda Pirri.

Santa Barbara native and nationally acclaimed artist, McLean-McGraw, first showcased her art at the festival in 1998 and was honored as the 1999, 2008, and now its 2011, poster artist. She is best known for her ability to capture Californian and European landscapes, and her dramatic watercolor scenes of the coast have garnered her numerous national awards. Her poster art for the festival puts a fresh twist on the traditional La Jolla coastline.

Linda Pirri is known as a contemporary master of “Serti,” an ancient art form in which pure silk is hand painted. Pirri was the 2004 poster artist and returns this year with a painting embodying the spirit of the festival by incorporating art, music, the commitment to San Diegans with disabilities and, of course, La Jolla. Her colorful, spontaneous creations have appeared on covers of prominent magazines and received many awards.

The festival will also feature a classic car display, an interactive kids’ zone, book signings and demonstrations from celebrity chefs and authors. Bernard Guillas, the Executive Chef of La Jolla landmark The Marine Room, will return to the festival along with Amy Finley, Season Three winner of the TV show “The Next Food Network Star,” and the host of “The Gourmet Next Door.”

On Saturday, Guillas will recreate a luncheon scene painted by the 2010 official poster artist Cara Brown and also share his recipe and the techniques used to create the dish. He will also sign his cookbook, “Flying Pans,” which he co-wrote with Ron Oliver, his Chef d’cuisine. The following day, Amy Finley will host “Salad Day.” After sharing the recipe and demonstrating how to create a gourmet salad, Finley will read from her new book, “How to Eat a Small Country.”



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