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Lux Art Institute

Lux Art Institute in Encinitas is located on South El Camino Real. This amazing place has a gallery showing the latest artwork of it's students and features extremely talented artists from around the world who are featured for a month at a time.  You can come to view these artists at work, shop in their amazing gift shop, send your kids to children's camps and classes.  Lux Art Institute is very involved in promoting Art in the Community and sharing it's knowledge of art to all of San Diego and beyond. there is a nature walk full of amazing plants and sculptures.  There is even a grove of small apple trees that are a result of an artist's expression of art in nature.  A wonderful place to immerse yourself in a creative experience!

Spotlight Article: Lux Art Institute: Art and Life in Encinitas

In one of the quietest pockets of Encinitas, a new, 7,000 square foot project, the Lux Art Institute's Education Pavilion, has recently opened.  Privately funded and built, the building is a brilliant evocation of the type of architecture that is emerging in the "new" Encinitas, a simple, one story structure comprised of steel, glass, and concrete that has thoughtfully considered the context of its site.  As a resident, it is interesting to contrast traditional for-profit developments, for example the new Shea Homes luxury development on Quail Gardens Road, which has brutally graded and re-graded its rolling topography in order to maximize the yield on its site, to the elegance of the new Lux structure.

But architecture, as important as it is to promoting the mission of Lux, is simply a delivery mechanism for an Institute that has been around since 2007 under the stewardship of Reesey Shaw, but has taken on a greatly expanded new mission with the completion of the new facility.

A recurring theme in Encinitas, no matter where you go, upscale parties or bonfires on the beach, is that there is a wealth of creative talent here.  Art is everywhere and anywhere, from guerrilla illustrations on utility covers to mailboxes in Leucadia that have been re-imagined as waves, whales, and tridents.  The Rhino Art building, on a promontory at the intersection of Encinitas Boulevard and the Coast Highway, emphatically announces that Encinitas is an artsy town.  How many communities can support a freestanding, independent art store that until recently (a new venture will introduce a Lofty Coffee roasting operation) had about 5,000 square feet of selling space?

But the type of art that has captured the public's imagination has been subversive: the Surfing Madonna and Cardiff Kook have been the face of the Encinitas art scene for several years.  But, with the opening of its new 7,000 square foot Education Pavilion, Lux, at 1550 South El Camino Real, has created an institution to promote and inspire the development of art for Encinitas and the wider San Diego community.

Lux: Latin for light, half of Yale University's compelling motto "Lux e Veritas," light and truth.  The new structure, designed by Ann Sneed Architects, indeed connotes light and luxury.  The brilliance of the new structure is that can get dirty during the day and clean up at night.  At the cocktail opening on April 12, guests strolled the DG paths, their Gucci loafers gently crunching the gravel while they sipped champagne cocktails, while just inside one of the airy workrooms, a life drawing class was in session.  Such is the versatility of Lux, which purports to serve all segments of the community, specializing in living art, wherein artists-in-residence create works during their stay in view of the public and students in various programs offered throughout the year.

Lux has seized upon the lassitude with regard to providing public school students art instruction. As Collette Murphy Stefanko, Communications and Events Manager for Lux points out, even if a school offers art, it does so in a very structured manner, with normative standards with regard to what is correct and incorrect.  "At Lux the emphasis is on interaction with the artists, and there is no prescriptive way of doing things."

The Pavilion evokes coastal design at its best, eliding the distinction between indoor and outdoor space through the use of roll-up garage-style doors.  For interconnection between the gallery and studio spaces, Todd Noe Design contributed several rolling doors made from massive engineered teak slabs.  The doors easily roll away, allowing spaces to be combined and used for many different programs, including art camps, the Studio Series, and Kids in Residence.  Ann Sneed, the principal architect of the building, has done a masterful job of designing a building that commands attention yet is warm and inviting.  The entrance is a white box gallery space, grand enough for large installations. behind the gallery is a series of teaching studios, display space, and back-of-the house operations.  The back of the building opens to an expansive, landscaped garden space, with two gossamer ipe wood bridges linking the front and back sections of the grounds.

Ms. Stefanski offered some background on the impetus and realization for the new building in a recent Q&A.

Who were the driving forces behind the new development?

Reesey Shaw, a local artist and educator, founded Lux in 1998, with the first structure coming on line in 2007.  The new building was the result of a lot of private and public effort, including a great board of directors.  The capital campaign began in 2000, and the intent was to provide a public art resource for Encinitas and all of San Diego.  We've had some extraordinary contributions, including a donation of architectural services from Ann Sneed, and very generous contributions from Linda Brandes.

What are the programs offered to the public?

There are a variety of programs.  One of our most popular is the Valise Project, modeled after Marcel Duchamps, which takes museum-quality art produced by our artists-in-residence to elementary schools in the community.  Students are inspired to create their own works and benefit from the artist being in the classroom with them.

Our summer art camp has been especially popular and is a six-week program offered to children from 1-12.  The programs are very diverse, and include drawing, painting, sculpture, and book arts.

What is truly distinctive about Lux?

Lux is unique in terms of its breadth of offerings, but also it is the only place in the region, with the exception of Canyon Crest Academy, where students who have an abiding interest in museum curation can prepare and contemplate a career in the arts.  We also stand out in terms of accessibility to all segments of the community, from young children to seniors.

Are there programs that are available at no cost to participants?

The Junior Art Board is a program that requires application and is open to middle school-aged children who meet weekly after school to make art, meet artists and museum professionals and plan activities and events for their peers.  The highlight of the Junior Art Board is the monthly "Tweensday" event, along with an annual art show.

What are some of the ideas to engage the community moving forward?

The idea is to make the Institute as accessible as possible, and as you can see the new Education Pavillion opens up a world of ideas for us.  We are exploring a lot of different things, including film screenings, concerts, and bringing together a variety of artistic disciplines in the form of a market or "makers" experience are some of the ideas under consideration.

Lux is poised to become a creative force in a community of creative people.  The sponsors of the non-profit, have got the formula right, balancing education, community engagement, and programming that will appeal to all ages and diverse interests.  With its underlying precept of art being defined by the maker's perspective, Lux has announced that it welcomes everyone, and as an institution it is just as willing to learn as it is to teach.

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