ENCINITAS — The more than 100 banner artworks that line the street lampposts along Coast Highway 101 right around this time each year have come to reflect what it’s like to live here and quite possibly inspire those driving past them. This year, the Arts Alive banner project has also come to inspire a San Francisco neighborhood to begin its own version of hanging artwork.
As this year’s banners were unveiled on Saturday, Richard Kurylo, project manager with San Fransisco’s office of economic and workforce development, was on hand to learn all about the project, from the materials of the banners to the paints used.
Kurylo, who previously worked with the North Park MainStreet in San Diego, knew of the Encinitas art project well. The banner project, he said, was always in the back of his mind as something he wanted to do.
Undergoing revitalization for the past several years, Ingleside, a neighborhood about 7 miles from downtown San Francisco, will soon be bringing the program to its own street lampposts.
“I visualize this project emphasizing arts, culture and entertainment that would form the backbone of the revitalization for the eastside neighborhood,” Kurylo said.
Taking cues from Danny Salzhandler, president of the 101 Artists’ Colony, which helps to host the banner event, Kurylo said they’re basically copying the whole project — everything from the unveiling event to the auction and splitting the auction funds with the artists.
This year marks the event’s 16th year, which Salzhandler describes as an “art exhibit that goes (for) about 6 miles.”
Every year, a mixed bag of about 100 amateur and professional artists create original works, he explained, which are then displayed after the unveiling from La Costa Avenue down to the Cardiff Town Center.
Though the event isn’t sponsored by the city, Councilman Tony Kranz said the event brings an enthusiasm for the arts. “It’s just always been exciting to see all the energy around the beautiful paintings. It’s what I love about Encinitas,” he said.
“One of the things about Encinitas is that we’ve always had a rich group of artists, and the 101 lends itself to this sort of event,” Kranz said.
What Kranz said he’d like to see happen with the event in the future is to expand it to the El Camino Real corridor and to have more school kids get involved. “But we’re very fortunate, I think, to have the work here hanging on the light poles on the 101 corridor,” Kranz said.
Much of the art appearing on the banners has come to reflect what it’s like living in the coastal community.
Don Doerfler’s banner “Endless Encinitas” shows the silhouettes of three surfers in front of palm trees with the instantly recognizable domes of the Self Realization Fellowship in the background.
“It’s basically Swami’s, where you can meditate, do yoga and ride world class waves all from one parking lot,” Doerfler said, when describing his banner.
Julie Ann Stricklin, a commercial artist by trade, said unveiling her banner was fun, because it’s the first time any of her friends get to see it.
Her banner, which she titled, “Nature’s Sermon Through Abandoned Bones” depicts a scene of nature seen through the bones of an abandoned building.
“I always think of nature as like a church because all of our answers, in my opinion, you can find in nature, and that’s kind of like a sermon,” she said.
Casey Gomez said of his first banner, that it was a good opportunity to do art in the community and share it with his neighborhood.
The banners show all of the creative individuals here, he added. “It shows that art is something that you can really do, it’s not just a hobby. And I think it beautifies the community. It’s a great representation of all of the people that live here and how they feel about things visually.”
All of the banners are available for sale, with a live auction scheduled for June 7. The banners will be displayed from February through May and bids may be placed by calling Lecuadia 101 at (760) 436-2320. Visit 101artistscolony.com for more information.