Friday, July 2, 2021

A PHES-tival of Art: New Carlsbad Gallery Opens July 16

 By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt. Photos by Maurice Hewitt.

Last month, at the soft opening, Alessandra Colfi posed with
Paul Henry
and Ellen Speert in front of the PHES Gallery.

PHES—sounds like a weird name for a new gallery whose intention is “to serve as a creative gathering space for the greater San Diego area by hosting artist talks, poetry readings and intimate musical events to foster the exchange of ideas and artistic inspiration.” 

If you can’t figure out what the gallery’s name means by the time you’ve finished reading this, you can email, or just show up at the grand opening on Friday, July 16, from 6-9 p.m.

There are 11 well-respected local artists whose works are installed in the State Street gallery, and inside and out, it’s a lovely place to visit. Some of the artists were present at the soft opening on June 22, and one of them, Becky Cohen, will be giving the first artist’s talk at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 23.

Becky, who has several artworks on view, chose to pose with Solastalgia,” a painting that expresses her major concern these days—"the psychic and existential pain related to climate change.” She is probably best known for her extraordinary photographs of the Le Notre Gardens in France and the Getty Gardens in Los Angeles, but the garden she’s most interested in now is “our entire planet, which is under enormous stress.” 

Becky Cohen with Solastalgia

Cheryl Tall with White Rabbit

Lynn Schuette's Eden

William Leslie and Alessandra Colfi with Tree of Light

Paul Henry with Tall Clock.  
This piece evolved over the last 5 years,” he said. “I started with what was left over from a panel I did for a window behind our bed. Then I got a piece of walnut and thought: I should make a cabinet out of this. Then I got a clock, and I said: let’s make it a clock! It delights me that I didn’t start with an idea or a drawing; I just started playing and went on from there.” 

Paul Henry
happens to be one of the gallery's co-owners, along with his wife, Ellen Speert. They have been living in Encinitas since 1981 and have long been devoted to the arts. He specializes in custom woodworking and antique furniture restoration; she's an art therapist who is director of the California Center for Creative Renewal and leads art retreats at their center in Encinitas. Shortly after moving in, he rented a studio space at the State Street property in Carlsbad. In 1998, when the property went up for sale, they bought it, and rented out the other building there to a day spa, which finally closed down last year.

They were going do some work on it and rent it out again, but the closer they looked, the more they saw its possibilities. The building had “good bones”—with caring renovation, they could turn it into a gallery. It wound up becoming their main Covid-time project.

“It was a spontaneous decision,” Paul said. “And once we started doing it, it felt so good.”

At the soft opening, a rainbow appeared just outside the gallery--an omen of good things to come. Follow the rainbow…you’ll want to be part of what’s happening at PHES. 

PHES Gallery: Fine Art and Craft
2633 State Street, Carlsbad Village, CA 92008
Hours: Thursday, Friday & Saturday, 2-7 p.m. /760-696-3022
Grand Opening: July 16, 6-9 p.m. All welcome.
Artist Talk with Becky Cohen: July 23, 7 p.m.
Pre-registration by phone or email required.

Lonnie Burstein Hewitt is an award-winning author/lyricist/playwright who has written about arts and lifestyle for the La Jolla Light and other local media for over a dozen years. You can reach her at

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