‘Lunch & Learn’ about the magical home and ongoing artistic endeavors of Anne and Jim Hubbell

Roof line of the Big Studio, completed in 1965.
Roof line of the Big Studio, completed in 1965.
(Courtesy of Ilan-Lael Foundation)

Virtual event to be held by Solana Beach Civic & Historical Society


The Solana Beach Civic & Historical Society invites all to join a Zoom at noon on Friday, Jan. 21, to “lunch and learn” about visionary artist Jim Hubbell and his remarkable mosaic and glass home near Julian.

Marianne Gerdes, executive director of the Ilan-Lael Foundation, which sustains the property, will speak about Hubbell, his self-built home, and his art outreach programs in San Diego, in Baja, Mexico and around the Pacific Rim. The Hubbells established the Ilan-Lael Foundation in 1982 to help sponsor public art projects, lectures, seminars and exhibitions in San Diego and Tijuana. Among the programs the foundation has inspired are ArtWalk San Diego, KidzArt and an award-winning newsletter about San Diego’s downtown development called Hidden Leaves.

Ilan-Lael translates from Hebrew to “a tree that unites the physical and the spiritual,” integrating art, nature and community in a dynamic setting. The name Ilan-Lael was first given by artist James Hubbell and his wife, Anne, to the structures they designed and built as both home and studios over the past 60 years on 10 acres near Santa Ysabel.

Hubbell started building the first of 11 organically-inspired structures in 1958. The intent was to create a home that appeared to grow out the landscape, using the natural shape and materials of the land. The first few structures were built with no bulldozers: all footings were hand-dug and wildflowers were kept and appreciated for their beauty. The architectural styles of the buildings are influenced by adobe structures in New Mexico, where Hubbell lived for a time as a boy. Each building incorporates intricate details, including mosaic murals, soaring arches, stained glass windows and natural materials from seashells to gemstones. The property received historic designation in 2008.

Today Ilan-Lael also serves as the home of the Ilan-Lael Foundation: an art education and nature center, a retreat space, and a place for all those seeking inspiration in beauty, art and natural surroundings. During the past year, the foundation sponsored “Healing the Healers,” providing Covid workers a day of rest, reflection and renewal, as well as a Harvest Moon dinner at the home/studio.

To join the “lunch and learn” event go to us02web.zoom.us/j/83276030101

Meeting ID: 832 7603 0101