In praise of the arts

If you’ve been to Encinitas city hall you’ve probably met Cynthia Miller without knowing it.Cynthia works at the front desk and is quick with a smile and a friendly “Hello” to residents seeking solutions to questions about city business.

Cynthia can help direct you to the right decision maker you need be it in planning, parks and rec or in my case administration. Cynthia’s job is very important in giving citizens a feeling of exceptional customer service and she does it well.

The last few months I have found myself admiring the various works of art displayed in the main city hall lobby and I noticed this week that the art had changed. Cynthia shared with me that the opportunity to display art at city hall is eagerly sought by local artists. As you might imagine with such a vibrant art scene in Encinitas competition is stiff and selected artists are rewarded with the chance to host receptions and sell work.

Cynthia let me know that about every 40 days local artists submit their works to Art Director Jim Gilliam for consideration. Mr. Gilliam has done a terrific job for citizens in providing diverse events in music, theater, literature and art.

Mr. Gilliam and the Arts Commission then review the art — no easy task. My good friend’s wife serves on the commission and I know that she takes her community service seriously. The art that is selected is then displayed in one of three locations that include the Civic Center Gallery at the entrance to city hall, the Community Room at the library and the Glass case 3D display next to council chambers.

This month the Civic Gallery is displaying the photographic works of Mark Drawbridge and the collection includes various wildlife and nature scenes.

The 3D case includes the works of the “Misti Washington Gourd and Basket Guild.”

I have to say that growing up in New England we had a garden and I’ve seen a lot of gourds but none like these. This collection was an array of interesting baskets and artifacts and there were simply too many artists of the Guild to mention individually.

In the community room at the library are collections from two local artists entitled Shape Shifters. I liked not only the exhibit name but the art as well. Vanessa Lemen produces one collection, and the other artist is by Rick Berry.

North County is lucky to have a thriving art scene. In life I have found that attending city sponsored events be it galleries, plays or music makes me feel a closer connection to my community. My dad Hank says, “You can’t have a hometown if you don’t participate,” and I think he’s right. This summer there are many exhibits and concerts lined up so consider being adventurous and going to one, you might be glad you did.

Thanks to Art Director Jim Gilliam and all the Art Commissioners for doing such great work and much appreciation to city employees as Cynthia for providing all of us with exceptional public service.



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