When Don Ludwig was a fairly new member at the Kiwanis Club of Torrey Pines in the mid-1990s, he attended a luncheon with a special — and ultimately, influential — speaker. The guest, a disabled athlete, discussed a recent ski trip that was funded, in part, by proceeds from the San Diego Festival of the Arts (formerly the La Jolla Festival of the Arts).
“The San Diego Festival of the Arts is really our No. 1 event at the Kiwanis Club of Torrey Pines,” Ludwig said. “One of the beneficiaries is the Adaptive Ski Program in Durango, Colorado for disabled people. We will send 10-15 disabled San Diegans to Durango and they stay with host families and learn how to ski. When one of those skiers was a speaker at the luncheon, it was heart-warming and heart-wrenching at the same time. It was amazing to hear the person say they never thought they would fly, let alone ski with others like them. They felt they could do anything. They could really integrate into what I would call the ‘normal’ state of activity.”
In addition to the Adaptive Ski program, the Festival of the Arts supports more than 30 organizations serving the disabled and arts communities, including the ASRA Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp, San Diego Brain Injury Foundation, Sharp Rehab Quad Rugby, Adapted PE programs at San Diego City Schools, and more.
“That’s what hooked me into joining the Club. I liked the cause,” Ludwig said. “We are of service to San Diegans who need it.” Since then, he has been involved with the Club and the Festival of the Arts, continuing to raise funds for these programs — this year as co-chair.
This year’s the arts festival runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 8, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 9 at Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego.
“We will host 150 artists from around the country this year, in a variety of media such as woodworking sculpture, painting, ceramics, jewelry, and it’s all custom stuff,” Ludwig said. “We require the artists be onsite because we want the story behind their art, which is a great part of it.”
He added that there will also be live entertainment on three stages with everything from ukulele to jazz; a variety of food; and beer and wine gardens. Ludwig noted: “It’s a great place to spend a few hours.”
Run by Kiwanians, who are admittedly “zombie-ish” by the end of it, volunteers manage the entire event to raise as much money as possible. “We raised over $90,000 from this year’s proceeds,” Ludwig said. “If you go to the events our beneficiaries put on, and experience it first hand, it makes the event all the while.”
The Kiwanis Club of Torrey Pines, La Jolla was formed on 1982 and was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla. In 1998, the Jewel City Club merged with Kiwanis Club of Torrey Pines and in 2013 the Scripps-Mira Mesa Club merged. The Club now serves the communities of La Jolla, University City, Scripps Ranch and Mira Mesa, and has about 20 members.
The Club meets 7:20 a.m. Wednesdays at The Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, 4321 Eastgate Mall. Learn more at torreypineskiwanis.org
IF YOU GO: Admission to the 2019 San Diego Festival of the Arts is $12 for a one-day pass and $16 for a two-day pass, both with discounts. Weekend package $28. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 8; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 9 at Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego. sdfestivalofthearts.org