By Claire Harlin
The recognizable mosaic work of Betsy Shultz is a major part of the Solana Beach identity, adorning the arches of the Coastal Rail Trail and several spots in Fletcher Cove and the adjacent community center. Soon the community will get yet another Shultz masterpiece in the form of colorful sea creatures atop four picnic tables outside the newly renovated Fletcher Cove Community Center, however, this time it was not the artist herself who completed the mosaics.
On March 22, dozens of art students at Earl Warren Middle School put their hands to the tile under Shultz’s direction and created four works of art that will be installed at the community center as part of the city’s renovation efforts.
Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society president Carol Childs said she remembers when she was a teen and the adults were more active in the community. Now a very active community member herself, that memory inspired her to involve the community’s younger generation in an art project that will be part of the community for years to come.
“We, as children, felt less involved, so that’s the reason for the Earl Warren involvement,” said Childs, a major supporter of the sweeping improvements that have been made to the community center over the past year.
The idea behind the tables at the community center is that they will be identified by the different sea creatures that adorn them.
“People can say, ‘Meet me at the lobster,’ or ‘Meet me at the garibaldi,’” Childs said.
Tami Austin, the students’ art teacher, said the students treated the task of coordinating the mosaics like a puzzle, getting each piece to fit and blend perfectly.
“It’s such a rich curricular experience for students when a community member and artist like Betsy comes to the classroom to share their passion for art, and then gives students a chance to help create something for their Solana Beach community,” Austin said.