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Lynda Forsha shares her love of art with collectors, community

Lynda Forsha is an independent curator and art adviser who works with private collectors and corporate clients, advising them on art acquisitions and collection management.

She was a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (1979-93) and served as head of the museum’s curatorial department (1988-93). Forsha originated some 30 major exhibitions and commissioned numerous temporary and permanent works of art.

In 1993, she was appointed director of inSITE94, a collaborative project of 38 nonprofit institutions that commissioned 78 temporary installations and site-specific works throughout the San Diego/Tijuana region.

From 2002 through 2005, she headed the Public Art Program for the city of San Diego, planning, coordinating and administering all phases of a variety of projects. She was responsible for overseeing the planning and implementation of the Public Art Master Plan, which resulted in the passage of a new ordinance governing the inclusion of public art in private development and in all new public works projects.

Other consulting projects include the Stuart Collection at UCSD, the Children’s Museum and the Flower Fields in Carlsbad. In 2008, Forsha served as a director of the Gagosian Gallery, helping to launch its office and viewing room in La Jolla.

What brought you to La Jolla?

I was born and raised in western Pennsylvania and came to the University of California Santa Barbara to study art history. Shortly after graduating, I was offered a position in the curatorial department of the then La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art.

What are your favorite places to go in La Jolla?

My husband and I have favorite walks we take with our miniature poodle, Leo Castelli — on the beach to Scripps Pier, along Coast Boulevard, and from our house in the West Muirlands to Mount Soledad. Some of my favorite places to visit include the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Athenaeum, the Stuart Collection, Quint Gallery, Warwick’s, Girard Gourmet, The Coffee Cup, WhisknLadle and the Starbucks on Pearl.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add to improve La Jolla?

First, I would move the seals up to the cross. Then I would hope for better architecture and fewer “For Lease” signs. In a new and improved La Jolla, one street would be designated “Pedestrian Only,” perhaps Girard Avenue from Silverado Street to Prospect Street, and it would be a gathering place/pedestrian experience for residents and visitors.

Who or what inspires you?

I find that engaging with art has changed my life in profound ways. Once I enter into the mind-set of an artist, I see the world through his or her eyes and my experiences — often of superficially inconsequential things — are infinitely more interesting. Nature inspires me, and I love weather (clouds, rain, wind, fog, thunderstorms) and the change of seasons.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

This is how I would seat my dinner party for eight: Susan Sontag, Maurizio Cattelan, Madeleine Albright, Bill Maher, Lynda Forsha, Bill Viola, Rebecca Solnit and Barack Obama.

Tell us about what you are reading.

Rebecca Solnit. I’m reading two of her books right now: “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” and “Wanderlust: A History of Walking.” Her writing combines the rigorous research of a great historian with the poetic facility of a brilliant novelist. In “Field Guide,” Solnit writes “losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing.” “Wanderlust” investigates the history of walking over the past 200 years.

What is your most-prized possession?

A painting by Katherine Ward of our now adult children, Alex, Mackenzie and Dorian, made in 1994 when they were 11, 8 and 2. It hangs in our bedroom, and I wake up to it every morning.

What are your favorite movies of all time?

Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” Pedro Almodovar’s “Talk to Her” and “Volver,” Bernardo Bertlucci’s “The Sheltering Sky,” Julian Schnabel’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” and our family favorite, “Love Actually.”

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

I’d rather think in terms of introductions than accomplishments. As a curator and art adviser, I am proud of having introduced a number of artists at early stages of their careers to San Diego audiences. Among them: Anish Kapoor, Ann Hamilton, Anya Gallaccio, Antony Gormley, Tony Cragg and Markus Raetz.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Don’t mess with Mother Nature.