Solana Beach artists start art association


While Solana Beach is home to numerous artists, galleries, public art displays and a theater, there has been no association to bring them all together - until now.

Four local artists recently founded the Solana Beach Art Association, a professional networking organization for artists, musicians and performers.

“Our goal is connecting artists together, and connecting art with the community,” said Amber Irwin, who started the group with sculptor Christie Beniston, painter Carol Beth Rodriguez and writer Diane Welch.

A home for artists

Irwin, known for her mosaic sunburst on the Coastal Rail Trail, said she led the charge to create a “go-to place for artists” to build a support network for locals working in all mediums of art.

The association is holding its first show at the Solana Beach City Hall gallery from Dec. 1 to Jan. 15. The show will feature paintings, sculptures, photography, dolls and video by nine local artists, including the founders, Irene de Wattville, Gerritt Greve, Richard Moren, Nancy Klann and Helen Montgomery-Drysdale. An opening reception will be held Dec. 3 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

“It’s a whole range of eye candy,” Welch said.

The show will introduce the association to the broader community, and perhaps encourage other artists to join.

Membership is free and only available to professional artists, not hobbyists. However, art supporters are welcome to participate as “friends” of the association.

“We want it to be all-inclusive,” Irwin said.

Brainstorming sessions

The artists have been meeting monthly at Java Depot. The meetings provide an opportunity for artists to share ideas, talk about public art opportunities and spread the word about events and shows.

Beniston said she looks forward to “getting out of my studio and finding out what other people are working on.”

Membership is open to artists not only living in Solana Beach, but who also have an association with the city, Irwin said. Del Mar resident and fashion icon Zandra Rhodes and Carmel Valley-based conceptual artist Eleanor Antin are both honorary members.

Besides professional support, the association aims foster art education in the community, through hosting workshops and encouraging more public art in the community.

“Public art takes mundane daily experiences and makes it something special, something really extraordinary,” Beniston said.

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