La Jolla’s first interpretive panel installed near Scripps Pier

By Kathy Day

In keeping with its mission statement of enriching “the environmental, social and cultural experience of La Jolla,” the La Jolla Community Foundation installed the first interpretive panel along the coastline on Wednesday and has lined up artists for two more murals.

The colorful photo display, that was mounted on the railing along the walkway overlooking the beach south of Scripps Pier, was drawing looks even before the installation, said Nigella Hillgarth, executive director of the Birch Aquarium, which is partnering with the community foundation.

On Tuesday as the installation was tested, several people stopped to see it at the end of the walkway near the Scripps Seaside Forum.

The panel shows “Species Found along the La Jolla Coast” — from the round stingray to the shovelnose guitarfish and has a spotlight on grunion and “giant kelp facts.”

Buzz Woolley, a community foundation board member who is spearheading the effort, and Hillgarth have said they envision as many as 10 to 12 panels, placed along the coastline from Scripps Pier to Bird Rock. Locations and content for the next panels are still being identified.

Meanwhile, the foundation’s art advisory committee has selected artists for the fourth and fifth creations of the Murals of La Jolla program, said Linda Forsha, an art adviser for the program. Eight to 10 of the temporary art installations are planned, with rotations set for every one to three years.

Once fundraising is complete, the newest artwork — overlooking La Jolla Cove — will be done by John Baldessari, a conceptual artist whose work questions “how we perceive and interpret the world around us,” according to his staff.

The other, by Ryan McGinness, whose work “consists of an amalgam of icons and symbols that resolve the clinical graphic aesthetics of media as vast, contemplative fields of intimate mediation,” will go up on the back wall of the Hotel Parisi facing the parking lot on Herschel Avenue. The hotel entry is at 1111 Prospect St.

The art project one of the undertakings of the La Jolla Community Foundation in an effort “to beautify our village, to build community and to recall La Jolla’s tradition as an art colony,” according to Phyllis Pfeiffer, foundation president and publisher of the Light. The group has also provided funds to keep the fire rings at La Jolla Shores.

The initial mural was painted in September 2010 on the back of the Lapiz Building at 7724 Girard Ave. Two others followed.

Pfeiffer recently received approval from Mayor Jerry Sanders for the art program. He agreed with the group’s position that the privately funded murals on private buildings are not “signs,” and thus fall outside the purview of the San Diego Municipal Code.

The foundation board apprises the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee about locations in advance of the work going up but is not required to do so, Pfeiffer noted in a letter to Sanders.

Anyone interested in contributing to the Murals of La Jolla or the coastal panel effort or with an idea about a future panel or mural should contact Trudy Armstrong at

or (858) 674-6979. The La Jolla Community Foundation is a partner of the San Diego Foundation.

Murals of La Jolla

• By Kim MacConnel, on the back of Lapiz Building 7724 Girard Ave.

• By Roy McMakin, ‘Favorite Colors.’ on the side of the building at 7596 Eads Ave.

• By Anya Gallaccio, ‘Surf’s Up,’ on the side of the building at 7540 Fay Ave.