Art San Diego in seventh year connecting collectors, enthusiasts

San Diego may have a growing art scene, but there’s only one time each year where art collectors and enthusiasts can enjoy work from more than 500 artists at one place, along with art labs, museum exhibitions and other events. Back for its seventh year, Art San Diego is expected to attract more than 15,000 people Nov. 5-8 at Balboa Park.

“It’s the only kind of show like this in San Diego,” said Del Mar resident, Ann Berchtold, the show’s founder and director. “It’s become this once-a-year opportunity to find really great art in San Diego.”

Art San Diego got its start in 2009.

Before establishing the event, Berchtold managed L Street, a fine art gallery in downtown San Diego. She also co-founded San Diego Art Prize, an award that spotlights established and emerging San Diego artists.

“I’ve always been on the business side of things, helping to curate and foster the local art scene,” said Berchtold, who has lived in Del Mar for 18 years.

After attending an art fair called Art Basel Miami Beach, Berchtold decided to bring a similar event to San Diego.

“I was taken aback by how massive that event was and what a catalyst it had been to Miami Beach in expanding its appreciation of art in the area,” she recalled. “I was inspired and thought that we could do something like this in San Diego.”

With help from her business partner, Berchtold launched the inaugural Art San Diego seven years ago at the Grand Del Mar. Then called Beyond the Border International Contemporary Art Fair, the show drew about 3,000 people.

To expand the event, organizers changed the name and location the following year to Art San Diego at the downtown Hilton.

“It’s very much a regional show,” Berchtold explained. “We try to showcase artists from both sides of the border as well as international artists that come to showcase their work in San Diego.”

The event has grown every year, with attendance and art exhibitors both increasing by about 20 percent annually, Berchtold said. Art San Diego now attracts as many as 17,000 art people over the four-day run. About 60 exhibitors are participating in this year’s event, including galleries from Rancho Santa Fe and Solana Beach.

“I represent a lot of local artists,” said Thomas Sergott, the founder and director of Rancho Santa Fe-based private gallery Sergott Contemporary Art Alliance. His gallery will once again have a space at the art fair. “This is a venue to be seen locally, which is very important.”

A longtime art collector, Sergott has transformed his Rancho Santa Fe house into a home for contemporary art.

Founded in 2012, Sergott Contemporary Art Alliance is the gallery he houses out of his home. Although private, the gallery sponsors several public events throughout the year for local charities. In addition, Sergott also spends much of his time representing San Diego artists at international fairs, showing and selling their work.

He plans to represent about 10 artists at Art San Diego, showcasing ceramic and glass artwork and a variety of paintings.

“We’re developing a growing art community within San Diego,” Sergott said.

The David Alan Collection, which is based in Solana Beach, will also be at the art fair. Located in the heart of Cedros Design District, the 15,000-square-foot store features furniture and woodcarvings.

“We are excited to be presenting over 50 pieces in our two booths, ranging from our ‘Lindu and Friends’ selection of life-affirming painting, to several pieces of our exquisite contemporary art furniture,” said owner David Bardwick, who opened the shop in 2003.

“I want people to leave this show inspired, both about life itself and about art and the possibility of having beautiful objects surrounding them in their everyday lives,” he added.

With this year’s theme of “Metamorphosis,” Art San Diego aims to honor the artistic history of San Diego’s past and present while looking toward the future.

In addition to exhibitors, the art fair will feature art labs and special exhibitions, including The Timeline Project, a wall installation 120 feet long and 8 feet high, built by San Diego-based ECOR Noble Environmental Technologies, with the graphic design by students from the Media Design School of Digital Arts at NewSchool of Architecture and Design in San Diego.

“It’s been a very interesting journey,” Berchtold said. “It’s gotten very large and I think it’s become an anticipated local event. There’s so much to see.”

Art San Diego will take place Nov. 5-8 in the 60,000-square-foot Balboa Park Activity Center. General admission costs $25 online and $30 at the door for a three-day pass, or $20 online and $25 at the door for a one-day pass. Tickets cost $75 online and $85 at the door for the VIP opening night. Visit

For more about the David Alan Collection, visit

For more about Sergott Contemporary Art Alliance, visit