Banners help keep Houlihan in mind

The Arts Alive 2012 banner auction scheduled for May 20 is rapidly approaching. This year’s event has been dedicated to late Encinitas councilwoman Maggie Houlihan, who left many of us remembering her with tremendous appreciation and affection. Regardless of her physical absence this year, her spirit seemed not only present but particularly feisty, as her image on the reverse side of each banner created a community controversy.

The backs of the Arts Alive banners serve as a memorial to late-Encinitas Councilwoman Maggie Houlihan. Courtesy photo

Members of the art community recently recounted personal experiences of Maggie, consistently describing her as an avid supporter of local arts. Many banner artists told of Maggie’s perennial support of the Arts Alive program by attending every unveiling ceremony and purchasing banners at all annual auctions.

Lisa Roche said, “Maggie often spoke about the importance of art in the community.”

Julie Ann Stricklin added, “She was a tremendous advocate for Pacific View Elementary as a community cultural center.”

Dody Crawford shared: “One of her last wishes was that the banner program would always continue. My current banner depicts Maggie surrounded by the animals she had cared for.”

Don Doerfler, having originally met Maggie at an animal rescue meeting, said, “It was no surprise to see her working on the city council, planning and directing projects with a cause. It had to benefit people, the planet and its creatures. Maggie was always working from her heart, always promoting the Environment and the Arts.”

Arts Alive director Danny Salzhandler remembers Maggie as the delightful epitome of both patron and volunteer for 101 Artist Colony, which sponsors the annual banner event. “She was there making her rounds every Easter in her fluffy bunny suit.”

Fred Caldwell said, “Maggie was always a fan of the arts and endorsing local artists, on top of the myriad of other things she’d do to keep Encinitas on track.” Caldwell witnessed her compassionate support of the Surfing Madonna’s creator Mark Patterson during its removal from its unauthorized location. Patterson recalled the event: “She was so warm and thoughtful of me, even though she had her own huge health battle to fight.”

Nancy Nelson noted, “Maggie always had a smile and uplifting spirit, even when she was in tremendous pain.”

Carolyn Cope spoke pensively, “Maggie not only ‘governed’ or ‘guided’ people…she loved us all. She loved her town and it showed. She supported all things good for Encinitas.” She continued, “She’s now smiling down from her lofty perch high up on the banners.”

Beverly Goodman articulated her friendship with Maggie, “I am a better person for having known Maggie. Her tremendous passion for the city, the arts, animals, and life changed us all.”

Mark Patterson added, “Maggie was truly remarkable. The rest of us can only hope to be as much of a blessing to our community as she was.”

The inspirational Maggie Houlihan left this town with an indelible legacy. Mine is just one of many lives she touched.

Support art in Encinitas by attending the Arts Alive banner auction 2 p.m. this Sunday in the Cardiff Town Center Courtyard. Visit Colvin is an art consultant and director of the L Street Fine Art Gallery in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. She specializes in promoting emerging and mid-career artists and bringing enrichment programs to elementary schools through The Kid’s College. Contact her at



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