ENCINITAS — San Diego is a mecca for artistic reverie and ArtWalk @ Liberty Station is one of its largest festive outdoor art galas. The 14th annual two-day event will take place Aug. 10 and Aug. 11 and will feature paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry, metal and wood work from over 200 local, regional and international artisans.
Nestled within Ingram Plaza’s grassy knolls and rose gardens, visitors can also enjoy live music, food from surrounding restaurants, market and street pop-up venues plus a wine and beer pavilion.
“ArtWalk is delighted to host its fine arts festival at Arts District Liberty Station,” said Sandi Cottrell, director of ArtWalk @ Liberty Station. “Ingram Plaza is the perfect, park venue — surrounded by its natural beauty and lush rose garden — to celebrate artistry at its finest. The vibe is elegant and inviting. And the abundance of art studios, galleries and restaurants makes it even more ideal.”
Encinitas resident Kelly Villasenor will be among the seasoned professionals and proven newcomers showcasing their work to collectors and first-time fine art buyers.
“I’m really excited to show my work at ArtWalk,” she said. “Liberty Station is a beautiful location. I’m honored to be among such talent.”
Villasenor is no stranger to everything art. With a degree in graphic design from Washington State University, she’s been drawing since childhood, a talent that “came very easy.”
While raising a family Walla Walla, Washington, Villasenor dabbled in graphic design, owned a clothing store, and painted murals. One mural caught the eye of a San Diego resident who offered her a job to do the same in Southern California.
Villasenor moved her family to the “charming community of Encinitas.”
Eventually becoming “bored with realistic painting,” she said she experimented with color and texture and evolved to become an open expressionist.
Tracing its origins to a group of Paris-based artists, open impressionism is characterized by its “open composition of ordinary subject matter,” set against a backdrop of changing light and “unusual visual angles,” that alludes to a perception of movement.
True to form, Villasenor’s vibrant, textured work showcases a myriad of rich, colorful, impressionistic compositions.
“I use painterly brush strokes that create lots of texture,” she said. “I love experimenting with color. I love using bold strokes to create scenes that move hearts and capture the beauty that God has given us to enjoy.”
Inspired by all things nature, “but particularly the ocean,” Villasenor said she spends lots of time photographing the beach and people — scenes that have become the hallmark of her signature pieces.
“It’s always fun finding great subjects,” she said. “I’m a mother of six from a blended family, so there are lots of kids in my work. I also love to connect and convey my own childhood memories of summer fun at the beach.”
Touting its theme, Connecting Creative Communities, ArtWalk will also host interactive, family-friendly arts and crafts activities on its kid-friendly lane known as KidsWalk.
“ArtWalk is a fun day for the entire family, including the kids,” Villasenor said. “And as a mother I encourage creativity for all ages.”
“KidsWalk encourages young and old to express themselves and find the artist within, which exists in all of us,” Cottrell said.
A portion of the day’s proceeds will be donated to ArtReach San Diego, a nonprofit organization that offers hands-on art education to children from kindergarten to eighth grade, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
“ArtReach provides free art classes to San Diego County students without access to art programs,” Cottrell said. “To date, we’ve worked with thousands of students and look forward to working with even more.”
Over 25, 000 attendees are expected to peruse the festival along with Liberty Station’s wide array of artistic and retail space, historical museums, dining and entertainment.
“We work closely with our sponsors, vendors, featured artists, entertainment, community and local nonprofit organizations to bring an extraordinary art experience to San Diego,” Cottrell said.
Arts District Liberty Station, noted as one of San Diego’s largest arts and dining districts, is located within 38 historic buildings of the former Naval Training Center. Nearly 120 museums and galleries, art studios, dance companies, educational groups, creative and retail space along with fine dining and entertainment venues span across its 28 acres.
For more information, visit ArtWalk @ Liberty Station www.artwalklibertystation.org.
Photo Caption: “Distracted” by Encinitas artist Kelly Villasenor. Courtesy photo