2022 Year in Review: Top lifestyle stories in La Jolla
Many local lifestyle-oriented headlines of 2022 highlighted La Jollans’ efforts to make their community and the world a better place through creative, philanthropic and other contributions.
Here’s a look at many of the arts events, celebrations, programs, projects and more from the past year.
Polar Bear Plunge: Amid the still-present COVID-19 pandemic and cold ocean waves, about 250 people brave the water at La Jolla Shores on New Year’s Day for the annual Polar Bear Plunge, which also serves as a “double miles day” for the La Jolla Cove Swim Club’s “Big Chill” event.
Ann Marie Haney: Longtime La Jolla resident Ann Marie Haney has worked for decades to organize instrument donations for local schools to keep the music playing. The retired choir director’s efforts have netted thousands of donated instruments.
Project Butterfly: A public service club including students from The Bishop’s School in La Jolla completes a project to start two libraries in Africa. More than 1,800 children’s books are collected and more than $700 in donations are raised.
Erika Torri: After 33 years of expanding the cultural footprint of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla, Executive Director Erika Torri announces she will retire in the summer.
Laura Lafranchise: La Jolla resident and UC San Diego pharmacist Laura Lafranchise completes a 50-mile race after overcoming COVID-19. She hopes the accomplishment will inspire others to reach for their goals despite obstacles.
Crafting a surfboard: La Jolla surfboard maker Tim Bessell shows author Daniel Seddiqui his craft on Seddiqui’s cultural tour. The two discuss surfing, passion and process in Bessell’s Windansea workshop.
“West Side” outside and back in: Pandemic-related restrictions lead the San Diego Unified School District to notify La Jolla High School that its production of “West Side Story” needs to move outside, bringing objections from those involved who say it’s too late to change the venue and that athletics are allowed to continue indoors. The district later reinstates indoor events and the show goes on as planned.
Hummingbird book: Photographer Essy Ghavameddini and students at Stella Maris Academy in La Jolla collaborate on a book called “Welcome Baby Hummingbirds,” a collection of Ghavameddini’s photographs of a hummingbird and its babies with text written by the students.
La Jolla schools take Afghan refugees: Some La Jolla public schools welcome students from Afghanistan placed in the community by organizations that help refugees. Local families are prepared with resources to help ease the new students’ transition.
Wearable sensors: A UC San Diego laboratory has developed wearable sensors placed on the skin to monitor molecular information such as glucose, cortisol or electrolyte levels. The sensors are intended to be more accessible than other methods of testing.
Backyard program: La Jolla residents Marjan and Tom Pousti host a program in their backyard to give young adults with disabilities fitness, arts and crafts, dancing and science activities. The program is intended to provide the young adults with a supportive environment.
Torrey Pines Lodge: The century-old Torrey Pines Lodge will undergo a major renovation as new Torrey Pines Conservancy President Rick Gulley steps in to lead the organization.
“The Kitchenistas”: La Jolla resident Mary Ann Beyster produces “The Kitchenistas,” a documentary about culture, sisterhood and embracing food as medicine. It screens at the San Diego Latino Film Festival.
Beach volleyball: La Jolla High School enters the girls beach volleyball arena as the sport is recognized by CIF for the first time.
Humble Design: Volunteers from La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre & Medical Spa and La Jolla-based philanthropy group Las Patronas come together for a “Day of Service” for local nonprofit Humble Design, which furnishes homes for recently homeless people. The group spends the day furnishing and decorating a home for a woman in her 40s and her 14-year-old son.
Jazz show: “Jazz on Prospect” debuts during the First Friday Art Walk with a performance by singer Anna Danes.
History bee: Four La Jolla boys compete in the regional finals of the International Academic Competitions’ National History Bee. La Jolla Elementary School fifth-grader Rhett Peck-Pugh takes first place in the elementary school division; Muirlands Middle School sixth-graders Jacob DeMott and Colin Crowder place first and second, respectively, in the middle school division; and Muirlands eighth-grader Luke DeMott, Jacob’s brother, places third in the eighth- and ninth-grade division.
Jewel Awards: The La Jolla Historical Society kicks off its 2022 Landmark Week with the third annual Jewel Awards ceremony, during which several La Jollans are recognized for restoring and preserving their buildings.
DragonSkin: UC San Diego graduates create DragonSkin footwear to prevent stingray barbs from penetrating the skin. They hope their product, made from a proprietary puncture-resistant material, will lead to more inventions of similarly protective ocean wear.
Margie Lord: La Jolla resident Margie Lord thanks the lifeguards and paramedics who saved her after she broke several vertebrae falling from her surfboard in shallow water at La Jolla Shores.
New mural: Rosson Crow’s mural “Oceanfront Property in Arizona” is installed at 925 Silverado St. in La Jolla. The image of an abandoned beachside scene is set at ground level to encourage interaction with passersby. Crow later adds spray paint to enhance the mural.
Rescue dog to service dog: Meeka, Teresa Perry’s service dog, is nominated for the American Humane Hero Dog Award. Perry, who works in La Jolla and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, rescued Meeka and began training her as a service dog.
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego: The flagship location of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla hosts a ribbon-cutting ceremony after a four-year, multimillion-dollar renovation that more than doubled its square footage and gave its existing spaces a complete overhaul. Days later, the museum reopens to the public.
Lemonade for Ukraine: A Bird Rock family raises money via a neighborhood lemonade stand to benefit the branch of Doctors without Borders working in Ukraine to assist those affected by the war following Russia’s invasion.
Concours d’Elegance: The 16th La Jolla Concours d’Elegance car show roars into The Village with a three-day event. About 150 mostly classic cars are featured, along with a cocktail party and other events. The annual Concours is a fundraiser for the La Jolla Historical Society.
“The Clueless”: A team of students including three from La Jolla takes the No. 2 spot at the 2022 First World Championship in robotics. The team also is named the Inspire Award Finalist, given to a team that stands out technically while having an impact in its community.
Father Joe Carroll Award: La Jollans Ed and Ann Witt receive the inaugural Father Joe Carol Award for their decades of efforts with Father Joe’s Villages to help fight homelessness.
Green Dragon Art Show: Several La Jolla High School students present artworks in the school’s Green Dragon Art Show. The multimedia showcase contains pieces students created after reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Christie Mitchell: La Jolla High School graduate Christie Mitchell is announced as the new executive director of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla, effective after Erika Torri’s retirement in July.
Louis Vuitton: Globally renowned fashion house Louis Vuitton showcases its 2023 Cruise Collection at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla. It’s the event’s San Diego debut and the first fashion show hosted by the Salk Institute.
La Jolla book club anniversary: A La Jolla-based book club has been meeting for 65 years. As members cycle out, new members cycle in and help facilitate deep conversations about books and relationships with one another.
Princeton Prize in Race Relations: Daxton Gutekunst and Elias Herrera, students at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, earn certificates from the Princeton Prize in Race Relations for projects intended to help improve race relations in their community.
“Voices from the Rez”: A La Jolla Historical Society exhibit called “Voices from the Rez” seeks to remind viewers of the continuing presence of Native Americans in Southern California and the art some of them create.
“The Continuous Thread”: The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library’s retiring executive director, Erika Torri, showcases her own woven textiles along with artist books, portraits and other ephemera representing her time at the library.
Elementary reunions: La Jolla’s three public elementary schools host reunions bringing together graduating high school seniors who attended the campuses, along with faculty members and parents.
Piano competition: AmateurPianists presents its 2022 San Diego International Piano Competition & Festival for Outstanding Amateurs in La Jolla. The competition brings piano players from all walks of life to the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center.
Kiersten Riedler: La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre & Medical Spa surgeon Kiersten Riedler has traded musical instruments for surgical instruments, applying her discipline in music to medicine.
Jessica Berlanga Taylor: UC San Diego’s Stuart Collection of public art gets a new director, Jessica Berlanga Taylor.
Fourth of July: Bird Rock holds its annual Beaumont Avenue Fourth of July parade, themed “Top Gun.” Also, the Barber Tract Neighborhood Association presents its traditional parade, as does the La Jolla Woods neighborhood.
Book clubs: La Jolla book clubs keep the page turned to community, with several of them meeting online or in person at various locations.
Little blue penguins: Birch Aquarium in La Jolla opens its Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins exhibit, the first such home in Southern California for the smallest species of penguin. The aquarium’s 2,900-square-foot habitat features a penguin lagoon, multiple burrows, a sandy beach and native plants that mimic the penguins’ native New Zealand and Australia.
Witt Wolfpack: The Witt family of La Jolla galvanizes efforts to raise money for research on ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that Todd Witt was diagnosed with last year.
Summer concerts: The Kiwanis Club of La Jolla’s Concerts by the Sea series returns to Scripps Park, and crowds of music fans dance at the free weekly performances. The 33-year-old series had not been held since 2016.
Extreme runner: Dr. Russ Reinbolt of La Jolla completes his fifth Death Valley ultramarathon. The race is coined “the world’s toughest foot race“ and traverses 135 miles in 125-degree heat. Reinbolt runs the race to raise money for DS Action, a local nonprofit dedicated to advocacy for people with Down syndrome.
“Here There Are Blueberries”: La Jolla Playhouse premieres the play “Here There Are Blueberries,” a snapshot of the men and women who ran the Nazis’ Auschwitz death camp in Poland.
SummerFest: The La Jolla Music Society’s annual SummerFest begins, bringing more than 95 artists to La Jolla for a four-week festival of concerts. Several of the artists stay with La Jolla residents in a hosting program.
Juried Exhibition: The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library opens its 30th Juried Exhibition after a record number of artists submit works. The event includes 41 pieces by 40 artists and is the first one overseen by the Athenaeum’s new executive director, Christie Mitchell.
Monarch butterflies: Residents of the White Sands retirement community in La Jolla work to increase the local population of monarch butterflies, which have been deemed endangered. The senior citizens have planted a butterfly garden in their community and raise caterpillars in special containers on their patios.
“Resurgence”: A new mural by Chitra Ganesh is installed by the Murals of La Jolla program on Fay Avenue. The mural, called “Resurgence,” is about connection to other species, the artist says.
Enabling surfing: The Department of Veterans Affairs National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic takes place partly in La Jolla, giving injured and disabled veterans surfing lessons for health and healing. The five-day clinic welcomes dozens of veterans from across the country.
Pancake breakfast: The Kiwanis Club of La Jolla holds its annual pancake breakfast at the La Jolla Recreation Center. Kiwanis members and other volunteers flip stacks of pancakes and dole out juice and coffee to hundreds of guests. The event also includes a raffle, pony rides and more.
Faces of homelessness: An exhibit of photographs highlighting the faces and stories of local homeless people opens at the La Jolla/Riford Library. The show doubles as a fundraiser for Humanity Showers, which provides pop-up showers for homeless people.
La Jolla Cove Swim: More than 500 people participate in the annual La Jolla Cove Swim, which features 1- and 3-mile heats, with proceeds benefiting the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego and La Jolla’s Concerts by the Sea.
Art of activism: Katelyn Wang, a student at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, shares her advocacy of social justice by painting murals on her school’s campus. She hopes to paint more throughout La Jolla to expand her mission.
St. James organ: A new pipe organ at La Jolla’s St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church is installed and the sound tested. Crews had been onsite since June unloading almost all of the organ’s 4,551 pipes and installing them in the walls of the church.
Spirits Festival: The 13th annual San Diego Spirits Festival moves to La Jolla, bringing a two-day event including unlimited cocktails featuring more than 65 brands of spirits, entertainment and more.
“Smallest Show”: The La Jolla Historical Society premieres “The Smallest Show on Earth: Paper Theaters Explored.” The exhibit of Victorian-era treasures contains paper theater replicas, posters and accessory exhibits that showcase iconic local stages.
Alexis Smith: The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla opens “Alexis Smith: The American Way,” an exhibit of mixed-media collages drawn from film, literature and pop culture. The exhibit is the first retrospective of Smith’s work in 30 years.
Mary MacLaren: An exhibit in La Jolla featuring the first public display of artworks by former La Jolla Shores gallery owner Mary MacLaren premieres shortly after her death. Her daughter had sought to showcase her work before she died.
Fish printing: A showcase by La Jolla resident Rocky Frost debuts in La Jolla, with works blending the traditional Japanese art form of fish printing with the native marine species of La Jolla.
La Jolla Art & Wine Festival: The 14th annual La Jolla Art & Wine Festival is held along Girard Avenue to raise funds for La Jolla’s five public schools.
“Dragon Mural”: Native La Jollan Natalie Bessell paints a mural unofficially titled “The Dragon Mural” on the south wall of the Mandarin House restaurant at 6765 La Jolla Blvd. The mural, a large painting of a multicolored dragon seemingly rolling in ocean waves as the sun sets, is inspired by the former Green Dragon Colony, a 12-cottage artist colony built more than 100 years ago near La Jolla Cove.
Ocean Awareness Day: The Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans honors its namesake with an event at Kellogg Park in La Jolla Shores. The event, called Ocean Awareness Day, features educational activities, speakers and more to celebrate the late Munk’s legacy in oceanography.
King Britt: UC San Diego assistant professor and electronic music master King Britt presents his seven-hour “Blacktronika: Where I Stand Festival” at UCSD’s new Epstein Family Amphitheater. Britt’s “Blacktronika” is the only weekly course of its kind currently offered by an American university and digs into the contributions that Black artists have made to electronic music.
Las Patronas: La Jolla-based philanthropy group Las Patronas celebrates surpassing $853,000 in fundraising for the year. This year’s proceeds from the group’s Jewel Ball will help provide grants to several nonprofit beneficiaries for capital projects.
Halloween: La Jollans get into the spirit of the spooky season by participating in window painting, neighborhood parties, dog costume contests and trick-or-treating opportunities.
Resident artist: Bruce Neswick becomes the first artist-in-residence at St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in La Jolla. He will be a regular presence at the organ for Sunday services and will create new projects, performances and educational opportunities.
Missions to Mars: In a presentation at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla, NASA engineer Kobie Boykins tells the audience how exploring Mars helps humanity understand that world and ours. Boykins details several discoveries made by NASA scientists during its Martian rover missions.
Bird Rock tree lighting: The 5500 block of Waverly Avenue in Bird Rock brings back a tree lighting ceremony for the first time since 2009. The collaborative community event has neighbors flipping the switch on their various lighted trees at the same time to honor a late neighbor who loved the tradition.
Remarkable teens: Two La Jolla students are named among the “25 Most Remarkable Teens” in San Diego County for tackling homelessness in different ways. Jasmine Matthews, 17, is a senior at The Preuss School and Renee Wang, 15, is a junior at The Bishop’s School.
“Hedonic Treadmill”: A new mural called “Hedonic Treadmill” by artists and brothers Einar and Jamex de la Torre is installed. The piece is an amalgamation of imagery designed to prompt thought about conspicuous consumption.
Memoir showcase: The “What. Just. Happened?” memoir showcase is presented in La Jolla, with pieces ranging from humorous to heartwarming and brazen to touching. La Jolla resident Melissa Jordan Grey’s “A Walk in the Park” is one of the included submissions.
Octopus rescue: Researchers at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla rescue a female North Pacific bigeye octopus, which gives them the opportunity to make some never-before-seen observations about its reproductive cycle and to care for its eggs and hatchlings.
Christmas Parade: The 66th annual La Jolla Christmas Parade rolls through The Village amid thousands of spectators. The event, themed “Grand Ole Christmas: Celebrating La Jolla’s History,” features Nancy Warwick, owner of Warwick’s bookstore, as grand marshal, with several others serving as honorary marshals in various categories.
Raymond Chandler’s La Jolla: The La Jolla Historical Society presents a walking tour highlighting the local places that were personally and professionally significant to famed writer Raymond Chandler, who spent the last 10 years of his life in La Jolla.
Marathon family: La Jolla resident Dr. Jerold Chun completes his 50th consecutive Honolulu Marathon as his adult children finish their first. They run the race to honor Chun’s late father, with whom Chun first ran the Honolulu event at age 14.
Freemasons: The normally secretive La Jolla branch of Freemasons opens its lodge to non-members for a dinner to help celebrate its 100th anniversary. The Freemasons — now considered a fraternity-type association — trace their history back to the 10th century BCE.
Robotics victory: A team of local students wins a national robotics championship after learning to code a drone to pop specific balloons. The team, called Los Globos, consists of Ethan Sun, a sophomore at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, Chris Zheng, an eighth-grader at The Bishop’s School, and Steve Zhang, a sophomore at Francis Parker School in San Diego.
— Compiled by Elisabeth Frausto ◆
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