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‘Collective effervescence’: Artists and supporters gather to celebrate Murals of La Jolla

The sun beat down and a band kept the beat as about 150 art devotees gathered for a parking lot party for Murals of La Jolla on Oct. 3.

Murals of La Jolla is project of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, begun in 2010 to commission public art on private property throughout La Jolla.

Currently, 15 murals are on display throughout The Village, La Jolla Shores and Bird Rock. Thirty-seven have been commissioned in the first 11 years of the project.

The parking lot party is an annual event to thank donors, said Patsy Marino, Murals of La Jolla art advisory committee chairwoman and an executive committee member. “Because all the murals are outdoors, and because most of them are in parking lots, they lend themselves to people hanging out in front of them and enjoying them in a more prolonged way,” she said.

During the party, held at the site of the latest mural, by June Edmonds, Murals of La Jolla members and vendors mingled with several of the mural artists as a jazz quartet played and servers passed out wine donated by Milagro Winery and bites prepared by Giuseppe Ciuffa.

“The concept of collective effervescence describes the sense of energy and harmony that people feel when they come together in a group around a shared purpose,” Marino said in remarks to the crowd. She added that Murals of La Jolla is “a tremendous source of pride for our community.”

The party was not held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It feels so good to be able to gather after such a long hiatus,” Marino said.

Still, five murals were installed throughout La Jolla during the pandemic.

That meant artists earned commissions and installation vendors were employed at a time when many arts organizations were closed to the public, said Murals of La Jolla Executive Director Lynda Forsha.

Roman de Salvo, whose mural “McCairn” is installed above La Jolla Boulevard in Bird Rock, said the Murals of La Jolla project is “just awesome” and that “it’s an honor” to be a part of it.

Lauren Cartwright, whose husband, Derrick, is a member of the Murals of La Jolla art advisory committee, said the project’s importance is making art “part of your day-to-day life. [It] makes everybody understand that art should be part of your life.” ◆