• Michelle Powers

Art Telling: New Exhibition at Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the crown jewel of District 7, the Mission Trails Regional Park. The Park encompasses a breathtaking 7,220 acres of natural and developed recreational area and is one of the largest urban parks in the United States.

Contained within the Park is the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center, which offers educational exhibits about local plants and animals, as well as information on the history of the land that now comprises Mission Trails. Visitors can also pick up maps of area hiking trails, check out one of four shows in the 94-seat theater, and ask questions of any of the friendly guides and interpreters on staff. A walk from the front of the Visitor Center to the back finds a series of doors that open up to a beautiful view of Mission Gorge.

While the focus on Mission Trails is to inspire everyone to explore the outdoors, the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation regularly organizes art exhibitions that are typically on display for about six weeks at a time.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover their latest exhibition – Art Telling: It All Begins with a Word. On display until October 25, 2019, the exhibit highlights the work of eight award-winning San Diego artists. The artists include Pat Aiken, Joan Boyer, Sue Britt, Lynn Daniel, Vicky DeLong, Deb Gargula, Ellie Hitchcock, and Gail Woods. Most of these artists also have a studio in Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park and share ideas through various art mediums and practices.

According to the artists whose work is on display, “Art Telling started with three goals in mind: The first was to use language, a single word, to inspire us to dig deeper into our work and find new meaning within our own practices. The second goal was to share this individual process with each other. In doing so, we had to find language to describe what is often an indescribable process filled with intuition, past learning, mistakes, and failure. In trying to put into words what we do, we better understand what pushes us, what frustrates us, what drives us to our chosen goals. The third goal was to tell the story of art making and share it with the public and allow viewers to connect to it in new ways.”

For the purposes of this project, the artists use words like “Sanctuary, “Bountiful,” and “Geomorphic” and turn these words into a narrative piece through their art medium. The words “Cultivate” and “Magical” yielded works of enamel, paint, and colored pencil to tell their stories. Beautiful scenes of locally inspired images, such as the ocean and rolling hills, connect us directly to the environment around us.

The next featured word, “Sanctuary,” continues the trend of images of lush, leafy greenery and abstract images in blues and greens that evoke the natural world. A wily raccoon hiding in a tree stump is a charming addition to this theme.

In the center of the exhibition sits a table with a binder that has detailed bios and summary of each of the artists and their work. Art Telling: It All Begins with a Word will be on display until October 25, 2019.

Admission to the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center and its exhibitions is free. The visiter center is open daily from 9:00am-5:00pm, and closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

To learn more, visit mtrp.org/art.

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