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Arts Alive banners in Encinitas during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Courtesy photo
Arts Alive banners in Encinitas during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Courtesy photo
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Letters: Don’t let the Arts Alive banners die in Encinitas

Dear Editor,

Something is missing — a 21-year Encinitas tradition that myself and many local residents cherish and anticipate each year.

I am referring to the beautiful Arts Alive banners hanging from light poles along Coast Highway 101.

All of these fantastic works of art are created by local artists, representing the huge and growing arts community that Encinitas has been blessed with.

At one time, there were 101 banners gracing and beautifying our main coastal thoroughfare.

This year, the number has dwindled to 22. Thanks in part to the dedication displayed by 101 Artists Colony, Cardiff Seaside Market and Surfing Madonna Foundation, this tradition did not die.

Now, this beautiful display has been reduced to the Seaside Market’s parking lot and a few of Cardiff’s Restaurant Row light poles along the highway.

Fortunately, the quality of the art has not diminished along with the numbers. Our local artists have again shown exciting talent. Many, many more of our artists were greatly disappointed they could not again participate in this fine tradition.

Why is this travesty happening? Good question. A big part of the problem has been an indifferent city staff and lack of interest from our City Council. A newly-required city permit took four months for 22 banners — a permit, by the way, never needed before.

Due to lack of maintenance, most of the display arms on the light poles are old and in disrepair. Despite many requests to the council and city staff from 101 Artists Colony, requests for much-needed repairs have fallen upon deaf ears.

The artists community of Encinitas is not a small nor trivial thing — it is one of the defining aspects of our city. The arts community makes our city unique, vibrant, and a true gem of San Diego County.

Please speak out to the powers that be and not let this beautiful tradition die away.

“Medicine, law, business, engineering; these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But (art), poetry, beauty, romance, love… these are what we stay alive for.” — John Keating, “Dead Poets Society”

Dave Fletcher
Cardiff by the Sea