Bidding silent, but banner artists’ work can speak volumes

%E2%80%9CA+California+Mermaid%2C%E2%80%9D+shown+March+22%2C+is+one+of+101+banners+on+light+posts+along+Coast+Highway+101+in+Encinitas.+The+banner%2C+by+Lauren+Tannehill%2C+is+part+of+the+Arts+Alive+project.+%28North+Coast+Current+photo%29

“A California Mermaid,” shown March 22, is one of 101 banners on light posts along Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas. The banner, by Lauren Tannehill, is part of the Arts Alive project. (North Coast Current photo)

Helen Hawes

Silent bidding has already lifted the value of the Arts Alive banners that flutter along Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas from Leucadia to Cardiff. The 101 banners may seem to vary wildly in subject matter, but they all have one thing in common: they’re celebrations of living a seaside life. From mermaids, shells and starfish to portraits of babies and late musician Ravi Shankar, the art reflects the homegrown beauty of the people, nature and wildlife of Encinitas.

Kay Colvin is the director of L Street Fine Art in downtown San Diego. Her contribution to the show is “Calypso.” It depicts a golden, almost fiery sea nymph reaching high through the water.

“It’s symbolic of hope for the future of Earth’s oceans; like the phoenix, again she rises,” Colvin said.

Julie Ann Stricklin is a graphic artist and illustrator. She painted “Storm ’n Starfish,” a study of deep Caribbean blues. Her inspirations for the piece are far-flung. She put together a starfish she saw at Windansea Beach along with thunderheads from South America.

“Right before or after a storm, everything is glowing; I wanted to evoke that peace,” Stricklin said.

Cardiff Elementary students created a piece inspired by John Lennon and Andy Warhol. Diegueño Middle School students paid tribute to Frida Kahlo with their work, “Las Maravillas de Frida.”

The Arts Alive project is in its 14th season. While half the proceeds from the show go to the artists, the rest will be split between the 101 Artists’ Colony, Cardiff 101 Mainstreet and Leucadia 101 Mainstreet.

Minimum bids start at $150 and go up in increments of $10. Patrons can view the work along Coast Highway 101 and online. Phone-in bids are being accepted in the silent auction, already in progress. The show will culminate in a live auction at the end of May when the banners will be sold to the highest bidders.

The success of the show is especially important to one group.

“This is the only fundraiser for the 101 Artists’ Colony,” said Danny Salzhandler, president of the organization.

While membership in the 101 Artists’ Colony is thriving, it no longer has a physical shelter to call home. It was located in the Lumberyard for three years, on E Street for three more and finally across from Rhino Art in the old Nofufi gallery space before hitting the streets.

But Salzhandler has his eye on a new key location: Pacific View Elementary School.

“It’s a beautiful old school that’s just rotting away,” he said. “The family gave that land to the city back in the 1800s. It was given to the children of Encinitas for the betterment of the community.”

The fate of the now-closed school has been hotly debated in the community for the past few years.

The Arts Alive banners can be viewed in their entirety in the auction guide online at www.artsaliveencinitas.com. Silent bids can be placed by calling Leucadia 101 Mainstreet at 760-436-2320. The final live auction will take place at 2 p.m. on May 26 at the Cardiff Towne Center courtyard, located at 2087 San Elijo Ave. in Cardiff. The event is free.

Helen Hawes is a North County freelance writer