La Jolla Art Association gallery to stay open through summer: GoFundMe account may determine its future

Earlier this year, the La Jolla Art Association (LJAA) launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $100,000 to keep the doors of its La Jolla Shores gallery open and set a summer deadline for raising the cash. With summer a week away, the board reports it has garnered enough to stay open through the end of the year, but fundraising efforts must continue.

The GoFundMe page raised $2,700, but in light of the Art Association’s pleas, others have stepped up and privately donated funds or art to sell.

Raye Ann Marks, LJAA secretary and fundraising committee chair said: “We’re grateful that the community has supported us. A woman walked in and gave us $500 just last week. The efforts through the site are going pretty well, but we need to do more outreach.”

The gallery is located at 8100 Paseo Del Ocaso and has a monthly rent bill of $2,500. Should the LJAA fail in its fundraising efforts, Marks said the association itself would not disband, but members would no longer have a permanent place to show their work.

While she hasn’t kept steady track of how much was raised, she said LJAA has sold a “few thousand dollars’ worth of art” and keeps its 25 percent commission. “We’re happy with the way things have gone, but we are under pressure,” she said. “We need to encourage new artists to apply for membership and donate funds.”

Perks of membership, she said, include opportunities to show every three weeks, and have exposure on the association’s website. “It’s tourist season, so a lot of people are coming into the gallery on foot while walking around The Shores. A lot of locals also come in and the work has been selling.”

The next LJAA exhibit opens June 24 and will be themed “Anything Goes,” on view during gallery hours, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

The LJAA was founded in 1918 when a group of artists came together to sketch landscapes of La Jolla. Founded with help from La Jolla benefactress Ellen Browning Scripps, a library was built soon after to show these artists’ works. Now a space within the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, the gallery was LJAA’s home for most of the 20th century.

In 1955, LJAA drafted a contract to pay $1 per year to keep its original space for 50 years. When it expired, LJAA moved to its current home in La Jolla Shores.

Marks previously told the Light: “During the years we were on our free site, we had dues that we saved. We had about $45,000 saved up. We’ve been using that and funds from memberships and the 25 percent commission from art we sell.” The Association’s signature event, in which artists donate pieces that are auctioned off through the purchase of $200 tickets (the names of ticket-holders are drawn at random, and they get their pick of available pieces) raises $10,000 a year.

— Learn more at gofundme.com/savelajollaaart (note the extra ‘a’), (858) 459-1196 or lajollaartassociation.org

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