Monday, June 10, 2024

North County Networking Event: Affordable Housing for Artists through Cultural Districts

 By Patricia Frischer, photos Nancy Heins-Glaser


Gerda Govine reading her poem Be Present.

Alex Goodman, NCAN board and Oceanside Theater Company welcomed this impressive group of VIPs from the Arts and Culture community to the Brooks Theater for the June North County Arts Network Networking event. He announced the next play Footloose the Musical presented by OTC Youth Academy from July 12-21, 2024 at the theater and pointed out the exhibition: Abundant Color by the Sargent Art Group at the Brooks Theater Gallery curated by Carole Naegle showing until July 28.

Alex Goodman, NCAN board and Director of the Oceanside Theater Company. Janice Davis, NCAN volunteer, in the background. 

Patricia Frischer, San Diego Visual Arts Network, spoke next as NCAN's Interim Chair. She introduced the amazing Gerda Govine, who recited her poem specially created for NCAN. Here are just a few of the first words to inspire all of us but read the whole of her recitation, Be Present. :

Be present
want arts professionals
to create a different world 

our story helps us breathe
give us moments
filled with action

let each of us
take a second look
focused on possibilities

Patricia Frischer, Interim NCAN board chair and founder/coordinator San Diego Visual Arts Network 

North County Arts Network celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and with its new nonprofit status, is ready to move forward. It will continue to build bridges not walls, believing that coming together is what gives us power. The contact they make with the community needs to be personal and meaningful. That is why most of those attending were given a shout out.

There was a full strategic plan presented but the two main goals continue to be civic advocacy and promotion of the arts. The past projects of NCAN are good proof of this. AEP5 Economic Summit at CCA, Escondido,  campaigning to bring back the SD County Arts and Culture Commission, Advisor to Arts and Economic Prosperity 6, Open Your Hearts to North County Arts and Participating in ArtWalk Carlsbad.
NCAN board member Andrew Utt , NCAN board and ICA director, would say…San Diego North County Arts. It’s not that Far!  NCAN would like to see a SD County Arts and Culture Tourist Board formed in the near future. 

There was a call for those present to think about joining the board of NCAN which has room for 7 more members and an endless number on their advisory board. A reminder was given to list your events on the NCAN events calendar.  

Jim Gilliam, NCAN board and Chairman of the  SD County Arts and Culture Commission

Jim Gilliam, Chairman of the  SD County Arts and Culture Commission spoke next with a brief report on the one-year-old commission. Their goals were knowledge, engagement, communication  and capacity. They have decided to ask for funding from the County Supervisors and Michael Angelo Camacho, Director of Government and Field Engagement at SD Art Matters stepped forward to request signatures on a support letter to this end. They are requesting two full time employees plus $362K in project expenses.

Michael Angelo Camacho, Director of Government and Field Engagement at SD Art Matters 

Jim then introduced Tracy Hudak, the Director of Field Engagement for CA for the Arts, who spoke to the group about the new AB 812 bill approved Oct 11 by the governor and authored by Assembly Member Tasha Boerner from our local county District #77.  It allows cities and/or counties to give up to 10% of its very low, low, or moderate-income housing to eligible artists as long as they are within one-half mile from a CA state or locally designated cultural district if certain income and occupation conditions are met.

Please note: local government for cities means municipal government, but for unincorporated cities that means the county government. The actual bill is from the state because the state determined that housing for artists is important as a fairness issue. 

CA for the Arts was a sponsor for Bill AB812 and Tracy
explained more about it and answered lots of good questions…PLUS she is gathering  those questions for a tool kit they are preparing to help cities take advantage of this new bill. You can listen to discussion recorded by Ms. Hudak, but the following are some highlights. If you have trouble with this video below here is a link to the 
 whole recorded discussion

Tracy Hudak, the Director of Field Engagement for CA for the Arts answers a question posed by Robert Parker, Oceanside Cultural Arts Foundation. Ms. Hudak tested positive for COVID the day before the event but was able to attend by zoom.  

First a cultural district has to be designated. This could be spearheaded by a  paid arts administration if there is one, but otherwise, a Cultural task force or the Arts Commission would have to take up this cause. You do this through a Community Development staff person. You need lots of data to back up your ask (like that from AEP6 or the new data gathering survey funded by SD Art Matters in the near future). It is always important to have an elected person championing your position. We also learned that the tax records (for those that pay taxes!) records codes for categories of  income (for example: performing arts or commercial arts).

The state is actually going to recognize more cultural districts next year (but with no funding attached). We already have three in San Diego: Balboa Park, the Cultural District of  Oceanside and of Barrio Logan. But remember, it does not need to be a state designation. 

The local government has to pass a local tenant preference ordinance for artists. This should apply to either existing affordable developments or future developments and should note that a 10% set-aside for artists within a ½ mile of a cultural district. It means finding out about and getting encoded in land use plans and affordable housing policies as well as Tenant preference and Inclusionary housing policies (so important in determining how many units are required to be for affordable housing). It is possibly but unlikely that artists are already mentioned so they need to be added to these policies, ideally not only currently but retroactively. 

Also, the local government and housing development property management would work together to create an Artist Selection Committee. This is to help define who is an artist. Hopefully that would include more than just an income criterion and would include a diverse committee to validate the applicants. It would also consider artists who have "an engagement in and commitment to an artistic practice." This would include community based art.  

One of the most interesting questions was posed by Dinah Poellnitz founder of the Hillstreet County Club. She asked how are elected official of cultural districts held accountable for the determination of who gets the affordable housing? Tracy suggested that an arts based forum of nominated candidates during an election could be powerful. 

Once this is in place, then artist would submit a housing application to the property management company (private or public). Of course, the artists have to meet income limits. Usually there is a rating system so if the artist is also in another category (for example: veteran, handicapped, racialized development victims) that might deserve an higher score in the lottery, of affordable housing. But artist on the state level are not recognized as a category that needs to be treated fairly. 

Not too many cities have managed all these steps yet, but hopefully the tool kits will give examples and samples to help in the process. The tool kit will be pointing out that there are federal tax credits for 100% affordable housing units for artists.

What this whole complicated process proves is the need for every city to have paid arts administration that is professional and knowledgeable.

A few of the other guests at this event where capture by the lens of Nancy Heins-Glaser.

Naomi Nussbaum, NCAN board and Synergy Arts Foundation. 

Luis Ituarte, artist and Brigid Parson, NCAN board and Oceanside Arts Commissioner
Luis Ituarte will be exhibiting his artworks in the show Took a While curated by Roberto Rosique starting June 21 at the Centro Cultural Tijuana. 

Bob Lehman,  SD Museum Council , SD County Arts and Culture Commission 

Felicia Shaw, SD Art Matters, SD County Arts and Culture Commission. Felicia also announced a county-wide data gathering project that will be funded by SD Art Matters.

Naimeh Tahna Woodward from Encinitas Friends of the Arts

James Stone, Stone and Glass and Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum. We welcomed James' wife Carol Rogers, Escondido Public Arts Commissioner as well. 

Lisa Laughbaum, Luminary Arts and Arts Outdoor

Cathy Haven, Escondido Art Association

BL Lane, artist in the Abundant Color by the Sargent Art Group

Nancy Heins-Glaser, Fallbrook Art Association and our wonderful photographer

Please note: Board members Sharlene O’Keefe, Poway Art Center, Andrew Utt, ICA,  Brenda Andrews, Fallbrook Art Center were not able to attend but sent their regrets. You can contact any board members if you are interested in joining the boards of NCAN. 

Alex Goodman: Oceanside Theater Company 
Andrew Ütt: Institute of Art San Diego
Brenda Andrews: Fallbrook Art Center
Brigid Parsons: City of Oceanside Arts Commission
Jim Gilliam: SD County Arts and Culture Commission
Naomi Nussbaum: Synergy Arts Foundation
Patricia Frischer: San Diego Visual Arts Network
Sharlene O’Keefe: Poway Onstage

If you want to dig deeper into arts advocacy, CA for the Arts is holding Wonky Wednesdays on June 12, July 10 and Aug 14 from noon to 1:30. You can join in at

Friday, June 7, 2024

A Practical Guide to Modest Magic at California Center for the Arts Escondido

  By Patricia Frischer

Adrian Gomez 
Make a medal or trophy for someone that you think deserves one.
Prompt by Scott Klinger (curator)
 Palomar College

A Practical Guide to Modest Magic showing at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido from June 1 – Aug17 is mounted in a beautiful space. Curated by Scott Klinger, an artist, filmmaker, and Associate Professor of Photography at Palomar College in San Marcos, CA., this exhibition of college level students’ work  is an ingenious idea.  Klinger invited a number of art school teachers to create prompts for a student assignment. From the results of those assignments, a selection was made for this exhibition.

As a former art student (more than 50 years ago), I still remember assignments, but we were never given this extent of freedom. My best teacher instructed me to make art about something that I knew. But it was not until graduate school, that we were actually challenges to make our own art. I can see this assignment being the beginning of a whole series for some of these students. 

Tiffanie Peters 
Create an artwork using alchemy or magic to correct a problem. 
Prompt by Larry Kline, Grossmont College 

 Helena Westra
Create an artwork using alchemy or magic to correct a problem.
Prompt by Larry Kline, Grossmont College 

Agnes Lin and Sonja Cooper
Create an artwork using alchemy or magic to correct a problem
Prompt by Larry Kline, Grossmont College 

Bella Marinos: "You come home after a long day. You want to sink into the womb of a warm bath. You try to clear your thoughts - unwind a little. Yet you find you are stuck in the checkout line of your local Target." 
Create your own interpretation of a modern version of purgatory. 
Prompt by Scott Richison, Palomar College

Audrey Gingras 
Pick a space. Within 24 hours total, build an installation, disassemble it, and leave the space as you found it.
Prompt by Piero Golia, the Mountain School of Art 

Jessica Baskett 
Create an art work to say "thank you" for something in your life for which you are grateful.
Prompt by Tina Yapelli, San Diego State University

Michele Murphy
Make an object for handing on the wall using at least 50% copper thread wire and smaller than a 12 inch cube.
Prompt by Terri Hughes-Oelirch, San Diego City College

Audrey Gingras
Make a piece of art for a child to engage with. 
Prompt by 
Scott Klinger (curator) Palomar College

Diana Sa and Jay Strickland 
Curate an exhibition in an unconventional space
Prompt by Rokhsane Hovaida, Museum Director, California Center for the Arts, Escondido
Music: No Man’s Land (Piano Trio No. 1) by Ezio Bosso

A Robbins
Abby Manzo
Adrian Gomez
Agnes Lin
Alexia Demiroska
Alex Tomeo
Audrey Gingras
Augustino Gamboa
Avery Novak
Belen Torralba
Bella Marinos
Benito Osuna
Bryan Woolf
Carla Sophia Horta
Cecilia Byron Fraher
Chloe Hernandez
Cielo Gonzalez
Diana Sá
Edward Rivas
Ella Chan
Elaine Zhao
Emilie Dohner
Erich Stein
Esteban Gabriel Marin
Eva Speiser
Evan Fecko
Evan Odom
Grace Lin
Haminshi Gupta
Hannah Emerson
Helena Westra
Isabella Silva
Jacob Faulkner
Jaime Leynes
Janine Avery
Jaselle Colon
Jay Strickland
Jennifer Leslie
Jessica Baskett
Joaquin Stacey-Calle
Josephine Behrend
Juliet Gentry
Kathryn Beck
Lauren Lee
Luke Gonzales
Marlon Thompkins
Marvin Flores
Mary Bowman
Max Padilla
Michael Bell
Michele Murphy
Olivia Lucia
Orion Lenz
Patrick Li
Preston McCallister
Quinn Miller
Romina Sandoval
Ryan Castillo
Ryan Hedrick
Safa Salman
Sajda Sims
Sharon Castellanos
Shiyoo Kim
Sonja Cooper
Sophie Coon
Stephanie Orea
Suchita Rathi Jhawar
Taia Pappas
Tiffanie Peters
Todd Bradley
Tristan Reynoso
Valentina Azul
William Ung
Xixi Edelsbrunner
Yali Alsberg

All educators who contributed to prompts found in the exhibition:
Adrián Pereda Vidal, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California
Gosia Herc-Balaszek, University of California, San Diego
Héctor Bazaca Lopez, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California
John McMurria, Palomar College
Joshua Tonies, University of San Diego
Larry Kline, Grossmont College
Nick Aguayo, Pasadena City College
Piero Golia, The Mountain School of Arts
Russell Shaeffer, Palomar College
Scott Richison, Palomar College
Terri Hughes-Oelrich, San Diego City College
Tina Yapelli, San Diego State University
Yaron Hakim, University of Southern California, Otis College of Art and Design

A Practical Guide to Modest Magic 
California Center for the Arts in Escondido
June 1 – August 17, 2024
340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025

Sunday, June 2, 2024

James Hubbell: A Timely Exhibition Morphs into a Tribute

 By Patricia Frischer

James Hubbell was much more that an architect and an artist. He was a gatherer of community. His optimism and belief in beauty and his love of humanity and the environment that surrounds us, was his daily source of hope.

He was fed by his belief that, “The imagination of an artist is not imagination, but the freedom of the soul.”

This exhibition, beautifully designed at the 9th floor Art Gallery at the Central Library, can only give you the briefest idea of the depth and stretch of work created by our own international treasure. You can see pictures of the homes he designed, but you can’t feel the families they created. You can learn about the string of oceanside parks he nurtured, but you won’t feel the sun on your face. You can observe the tribute to the Kumeyaay, but you can hear the wind whistling through the edifices he constructed for them. You can marvel at the 18 palace doors created for the United Arab Emirates sheik in Abu Dhabi, but unless you see them in person you cannot create the poetry needed to experience them.

A ten-year-old visitor to Ilan-Lael, the foundation set up to continue his work, stated, “Mr. Hubbell builds houses that trees aren’t embarrassed to stand next to.”

His youthful, play-oriented attitude never left James Hubbel and you can still see that in the models on display, almost like doll houses. You can see it in every detail (and he was a maximalist!) down to the door knobs. You see it in the tilting roof lines, almost like slides and the color, color, color glowing from every window.   

As I think about James Hubbell, I realize his whole life was meant to delight. He leaves a legacy for us. He no longer here to suggest words of wisdom, (like don’t build walls, build bridges), but the edifices and spirt he created will live on and on.    

  • Central Library Art Gallery: Exhibit featuring Hubbell’s 70-plus-year career as a contemporary master who expresses himself through nature-inspired art, architecture and functional objects and spaces. Open 1 to 5
  • Scripps Miramar Ranch Library: “A Mountain Home & Studios” exhibit features Hubbell’s studio and some of his most famous art.  
  • Mission Valley Library: “The Pacific Rim Project” tells the story of Hubbell’s vision that nations located on the Pacific Rim can find common ground through art.
  • Otay Mesa-Nestor Library: “Lado a Lado” focuses on Hubbell’s work in northern Baja California and his first experiment in community-built art parks.

I saw the exhibition at the Central Library Art Gallery, but I also visited the Scripps Miramar Ranch Library.  I can’t recommend that you go to the second unless you live locally. That display duplicates some of the image in the Central Library and has no objects, but it does serve as an introduction to the local residents about James Hubbell. And the library itself, which I had never been to, is extremely welcoming with a rich layout and lovely views.  

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Airport Art: Flying High Again

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt.
Photos by Maurice Hewitt, except those that are Courtesy of the Airport, as noted.


 A mixed media piece made of natural fibers, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and acrylic, created by Mexican American artist Becky Guttin, who lives in San Diego and shows on both sides of the border.
Location: Terminal 2 West, Gate 28, on the way to Baggage Claim.

Remember when—in the years pre-pandemic—you could go to San Diego International Airport to view art installations, not just to catch or meet a flight? Now you can do that again, with Espacios & Lines, an exhibition of artworks by 16 artists from both sides of the border, mostly spread out along the main floor of Terminal 2 and on view through the end of the year. It’s a great response to the designation of the San Diego-Tijuana region as World Design Capital 2024. 

Maurice and I were lucky enough to join a preliminary tour of the exhibition earlier this month, led by Daniel Dennert, curator of the airport arts program, who shared stories about the artists, their materials, and their processes. Here’s a look at some of our favorites.


Night-time lighting gives Becky Guttin's piece a magical glow after dark.
Photo courtesy of San Diego International Airport.

 One of four figures featured in painted acrylic panels on canvas backgrounds by Laura Lehman, who was born in the U.S. and raised in Mexico. Each panel portrays a common scene from one side of the border and viewers are encouraged to imagine switching characters and backgrounds.
Location: Terminal 2 East, Gate 28.

Artist Kelly Witmar, based in Joshua Tree, turns rusted-out car parts into engaging sculptures.
Location: Terminal 2 East, pre-Security. East End Gallery.

An upcycled jacket by Chicana fashion designer Claudia Rodriguez-Biezunski, famed for her unique studio/shop in Barrio Logan, Sew Loca. (Get it?) Her motto: “Sewing is Life.”

 Beside Claudia Rodriguez-Biezunski’s SD jacket: a display of its components.
Location: Terminal 2 West, pre-Security. Corridor exhibit cases.

 Tim Novara is a San Diego-based artist with a background in architecture. In this elegant multi-layered piece he uses mirroring, drawing, and acrylic painting to give an inspired new existence to what he saw in his local photographs.
Location: Terminal 2 West. Gate 33 cases. 

 A moving portrayal of indigenous Mexican women by Irene Monárrez, a mixed media artist from Juarez who now lives in Chula Vista.
Terminal 2 East. Transition Corridor.

 Hugo Crosthwaite is a multi-award-winning artist who was born in Tijuana, raised in Rosarito, and graduated from San Diego State University. After winning a national competition and commission from the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, he created a stop-motion-drawing-animation of Dr. Anthony Fauci that now hangs in the Smithsonian. He loves working in black-and-white, but here his use of color vividly brings the town he grew up in to life. 
Photo courtesy of San Diego International Airport.
Location: Terminal 2 West. North Concourse.


All the artworks in Espacios & Lines invite up-close contemplation, and have informative placards close by. Keep an eye out for the useful and attractive exhibition brochures; you’re welcome to take one home as a souvenir. 

If not listed above as “pre-Security” all locations are “post-Security,” but the airport offers occasional tours of the exhibition. If you’re interested, the next one is Thursday, June 20; contact for details. Or come early for your next flight, pick up a brochure, and you can browse through the art on your own. 


Lonnie Burstein Hewitt is an award-winning author/lyricist/playwright who has been writing about arts and lifestyles in San Diego County for over a dozen years. You can reach her at