La Jolla Art Association aims to inspire aspiring artists

If you go

■ What: La Jolla Art Association

■ When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


■ Where: 8100 Paseo del Ocaso,

La Jolla

■ Admission: Free

■ Contact: (858) 459-1196

■ Website:

By Ashley Mackin

For the past 96 years, the La Jolla Art Association has been promoting art and artists, and members say it will continue to do so through themed receptions every two weeks.

For George Johnson, the receptions are the very reason he joined the art association.

“There is the challenge of the show and the camaraderie with the artists,” he said. “And at the receptions, you hear comments about your work and you might get an award, so there’s the fun of it, too. You get to look at other art, observe the technique or the subject matter, and learn from it.”

Pointing to a piece hanging in the association’s galleries at 8100 Paseo del Ocaso in La Jolla Shores, Johnson commended the technique used and said he knows he could always ask for advice if he wanted to learn something new.

Vice President Judy Judy Judy agreed. “There is a large group of us who work together and painted together for a long time,” she said. “If you said to somebody, ‘Can you help me, I don’t know how to do this and you do, will you show me?’ I don’t know anybody who would say no.”

Because inspiring artists is such a big part of its mission, the association presents art classes every Saturday morning.

Members can also learn and are inspired by observing the pieces, which change every two weeks, based on a theme. One theme included Black and White, where the pieces could not include even a fleck of any color. Another theme was Femme Fatale, which permitted members to submit pieces of any medium, and which Judy said was fun because she got to see the different ways the theme inspired the artists.

“One time they may go in and see digital photography, and then modern art, and then tropical art,” Judy said of the ever-changing pieces. “The receptions try to be festive, but the evenings are about buying art to keep the gallery going and supporting the artists who show there.”

All the art at the gallery is for sale and a percent of each sale goes to the art association to cover expenses. Artists also pay an annual fee of $95 to help the organization operate. But with membership, comes benefits, Judy said.

“The biggest benefit is there is an actual place to hang your work,” she said. Maybe an artist’s work is in their house or garage, but this is an actual gallery.”

Association secretary Raye Ann Marks added that up-and-coming artists, who are too new to show anywhere else, may premiere their work at the gallery, although they have to be juried in first. Those who want to become members may bring five pieces to the board for discussion and then a vote. Newcomers can also be mentored in, but then their membership is voted upon.

Marks joked that some art “hurts her eyes” but it gets approved. “I’m no judge of what the public likes … but I vote on what I like and what will bring diversity to the gallery.”

Once a member is approved, he or she can start submitting pieces for shows. Depending on the number of submissions, the pieces are juried in under the appropriate theme. Judy said she tries to keep the themes open and subject to interpretation, so the board always receives several submissions and can have their choice.

The current exhibition, running through Dec. 8, is a visiting exhibit from the Rancho Santa Fe Artists Guild. The RSF group does not have a permanent space, so they occasionally use the La Jolla gallery. Dec. 8-14, the La Jolla Art Association will display pieces up for auction as part of its annual fundraiser.

More than 50 paintings have been donated by members — including a painting of a bright blue dahlia by Johnson — and each is valued at $300 or more. The art association is selling 50 tickets for $200 each, which guarantee at least one piece of art.