The Coast News Group
A woman strolls the 101 during the 2015 Leucadia Art Walk, which will be held Aug. 27. File photo

Leucadia Art Walk becomes more interactive

ENCINITAS — The Mission-white wall on the south side of the Surfhouse Motel has been begging for a touch of color, motel co-owner Nikki Harth said.

This week, the color will be added, as artist Mike Nelson will start work on a new mural in connection with this weekend’s Leucadia Art Walk.

Patrons will be able to see Nelson complete (or almost complete) the mural on Aug. 27 at the 13th annual event where Coast Highway 101 transforms into a fine art gallery.

“We are excited, we’ve kind of had it in the plans, even during construction, we had this massive blank wall and we said, ‘We gotta do something with this space,’“ said Harth, who said the concept of the mural is under wraps until painting commences on Aug. 23.

“I think the Art Walk is just a great event to showcase how funky Leucadia can be,” Harth said.

The live mural painting is one of several new interactive exhibits that will be on display Sunday, as the art walk continues to expand its hands-on and live-art exhibitions, said Kellie Hinze, Leucadia 101 Main Street’s executive director.

Visitors will be able to try their hands at pine needle basket weaving, silk painting and even clay pottery, as well as watch the experts do it themselves, Hinze said.

Several dance troupes, including H20 Dancers and a local ballet folklorico, will also be performing throughout the day.

“We saw a push from the community, which wanted to see more of these exhibits, because watching the art come alive was enthralling to them,” Hinze said. “It’s really incredible to see how much art is brought to life to our guests if they are watching it unfold before their very eyes, and now we’re having it at all of our lot locations.”

Hinze said a grant from the city and the Mizel Family Foundation has helped pay to expand the interactive offerings.

In addition to the new interactive art, the number of artists exhibiting and selling their creations has also grown to a record high. Hinze said that 101 artists will dot Coast Highway 101 with everything from oils to pastels and in between.

Hinze said the event continues to grow in large part due to the word of mouth between artists, who tell their friends about the event.

One of those artists who heard about the Art Walk from a fellow artist in 2014 was Grant Pecoff, whose landscape paintings have become an event mainstay.

Pecoff will be displaying and selling 17 new paintings of San Diego’s beaches — which he painted during his vacation in Florida.

Pecoff said he was impressed with both the event and its patrons.

“There is a good feeling about it, everyone is happy to be there, the weather is gorgeous, there’s a really energizing vibe,” said Pecoff, who said he dabbled in pinks for his latest beachscapes. “It also introduces the public to the art that is happening in the community, which is important, because I feel we need to go out and discuss art and the creative process because it helps build the soul of the community.

Pecoff said the 2014 exhibition was his most financial successful show, and he has come back every year since.

“It’s so small, but it has that grassroots energy, no pretension, no huge corporations,” Pecoff said. “It is just down-home funky, casual, but it feels elevated if that makes sense.”

The Art Walk is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 27. For more information on exhibits and times, visit