Traffic may have slowed down in Bird Rock thanks to traffic circles, but a budding, bustling artistic community is very much on the move. Now home to several art galleries — with three opening in just the last few months — Bird Rock is cultivating and enjoying a new reputation as a mini art hub.
This comes as no surprise to local artist Jane Wheeler, founder of the Bird Rock Artist Guild.
“Bird Rock has an artistic vibe that is starting to grow. It is a very creative, entrepreneurial, grass-roots and tight-knit community. It has a lot of soul and I feel embraces the artistic spirit,” she said. Wheeler, who created the mosaic benches lining La Jolla Boulevard, added that one of her favorite quotes is “Art reflects the soul of the community,” from the Naples, Florida Museum of Art.
Already a part of the community since 1996 with an event and wedding planning business, Anseth Richards opened the Art Nest two months ago. Just as she offers event planners a convenient meeting space, she wanted to give artists a place to meet and space to hang their work.
“There are many creative artists without their own studios or galleries and this offers them a creative home, a nest,” she said. “We are eclectic and have something for everyone, all kinds of mediums, ceramics, paper art, oil painting, watercolor, photography, jewelry, mosaics.”
Richards runs the gallery with her husband Keith and daughter Sienna Feerrar. She enjoys hosting a show for each new artist and also rents out the gallery for private events. The Richards do not take commission for any sales, but encourage artists to contribute to their non-profit, women’s health organization,CHEERS
Also providing a gathering place for artists is Bird Rock Arts Gallery, which opened last spring. Owner Maria Parenteau offers gallery and studio space for a variety of artists including painters, sculptors and even shoe designers. One of her favorite artists is Iranian-born Jinah Abood, who uses coffee as a media for her paintings.
Parenteau also teaches creativity workshops for artists based on The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. “Many artists who first came for the workshops are now giving back by teaching here,” she said. Two of her regular contributing artists and consultants include Sherilyn Clayes (
Parenteau, who is originally from Brazil, is also enthusiastic about bringing people together. “I’d like to see this become another SoHo,” she said. She said she plans to spearhead a monthly art fair in the parking lot adjacent to her building.
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters
Chuck Patton, chief coffee roaster and owner of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters is converting one side of his cafe into an arts cooperative for art and music. Already a popular music venue on weekend mornings, the space will now feature artwork, with the help of Jane Wheeler. Currently on display is the work of Michelle Anise Mackey, who paints acrylic abstracts, and Ryder Mackey, her husband, who sculpts with wood and paper.