Homegrown artist’s roots go deep

Carolyn Cope’s banner “Sunset” is on display in front of Coast Highway Traders on Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas. Image courtesy of Stephen Whalen Photography

Carolyn Cope counts herself lucky.As a vital part of the fabric of Encinitas, she is one of the few true born-and-raised natives remaining in the community.

Cope has painted banners for all but one of the 14 Encinitas Arts Alive exhibits. This year her contribution to the event simply titled, “Sunset” is on display in front of Coast Highway Traders, where Cope can often be seen jovially assisting customers. Her current banner depicts the view from her private guesthouse balcony — a lone cypress tree against a backdrop of wispy pink clouds and bright blue sky. Cope remarks, “Sunsets are a huge thing around here.”

Participation in the annual banner project is just one of the many ways in which Cope gives back to the community that she feels has given much so her. Serving as the first chairperson of the Commission for the Arts from 1998 through 2002, she was later reappointed for an additional term. As a concerned community activist, she has served on the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce board, been a member of Encinitas Rotary Club for 16 years, and remains highly involved in the Sister City program, which fosters the relationship between Encinitas and Amakusa City, Japan.

Having three times been named Volunteer of the Year by the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association, she currently serves as its secretary. Cope has been instrumental in the annual Lima Bean Festival sponsored by the San Dieguito Heritage Museum, of which she previously served as president.

Cope directs much effort towards Encinitas maintaining its small town character and the individuality of its five distinct neighborhoods. She feels it’s necessary to “keep a tight lid on unmanaged growth,” which threatens to destroy the very things that make Encinitas an idyllic place to live. However, she has also learned the importance of adjusting to change, as she has witnessed major transformations of the local environment, including a natural forest of palms replaced by City Hall, and an extension of Cottonwood Creek covered by the freeway.

Cope’s roots run deep here. Her parents met and married in Encinitas, settling near the downtown area of Coast Highway 101 to raise their family. They owned and operated Roy’s Market in Leucadia, a family run business in the truest sense, with the children stocking shelves until they were old enough to make change and serve customers.

Cope received all of her formal education locally, attending Pacific View, Central, and Ocean Knoll Elementary schools, Oak Crest Middle School, and San Dieguito High School. She earned an associate arts degree from Palomar College.

Cope learned by contrast that Encinitas truly is paradise. After living in Japan for several years, she launched Rising Sun Gallery, a Japanese art and antique business, which she operated successfully for more than 30 years. After several years in Houston, Texas in 1988, she returned to Encinitas and opened a concession in Coast Highway Traders, where she still lends a hand when needed.

Since participating in a recycled art exhibit at the Encinitas Library several years ago, Cope has found that she particularly enjoys working in tile and mosaic. She says, “I love it when I get into an artist’s frenzy…where the work takes you in and makes you create it!” She will be presenting her fanciful mosaic butterflies at the Coast Highway Traders Art and Craft event scheduled for May 25.

Cope’s banner will remain on display in front of Coast Highway Traders until shortly before the live auction May 26 at Cardiff Town Center. All of the current banners can be seen in the online auction guide at artsaliveencinitas.com, and bids may be placed by calling the Leucadia 101 MainStreet Association at (760) 436-2320.



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