AT A GLANCE
WHAT: The San Diego Art Club’s annual show at the San Diego Botanical Garden facility
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 23; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 24
WHERE: Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado (Room 101 in Casa Del Prado)
COST: free, with refreshments provided
Local club’s annual event showcases Japanese-style artwork in Balboa Park’s Botanical Garden facility
By Dave Fidlin | SDUN Reporter
The artistic wonders of East Asia come alive June 23 and 24 at Balboa Park’s San Diego Botanical Garden facility, with the San Diego Art Club’s annual showcase featuring members’ work. The club was established over a decade ago, and members highlight an array of Japanese artistry, including calligraphy, ceramics and dried flower arrangements.
“The primary purpose of the Art Club is to help individuals advance their knowledge and skills in Japanese brush painting,” said Joe Cross, currently one of 10 members actively involved in the organization. The group is headed by local resident Kayo Beach.
Beach, a native of Japan, studied oil and watercolor painting at the Maryland School of Art before venturing to San Diego. Since arriving, he has studied several specialized, Japanese-painting styles, called nihonga. Of these, Beach is well studied in sumi-e, a brush painting technique primarily using black ink.
Cross and other members of the club are high-level Japanese-style artists, with at least five years of experience in sumi-e painting. He said the small class sizes make it possible for students to master their skills under Beach’s guidance.
“It makes it better for studying,” Cross said. “It also makes individual tutoring possible when we do need help.” In addition to helming the Art Club, Beach routinely holds a summer workshop for children at Balboa Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden.
Members of the Art Club – one of 40 organizations affiliated with the Botanical Garden Foundation, the overseers of the Balboa Park facility – meet at least six times annually, though the level of participation is expected to double next year.
Leila Calamari, a longtime member of the foundation, said summer is an especially busy time at the Botanical Garden and shows like the Art Club’s annual presentation have become crowd-pleasers. “The paintings are really spectacular. There’s a lot of individuality. Each one stands out by itself,” she said.
“Basically, we want to make the city a more pleasant place, with nicer gardens,” Calamari said. “We promote all of the aspects of horticulture. We want to show that San Diego really is the center of horticulture.”
In addition to hosting a variety of shows throughout the year, the foundation serves as a resource for people interested in learning more about horticulture and art. The foundation has experts on hand during limited periods of time and includes a library.
The 40 organizations affiliated with the foundation are disparate. Membership for the various clubs range from 10, like the Art Club, to as many as 300. With all the organizations combined, Calamari said that approximately 9,000 people have a role in planning programs at the Botanical Gardens each year.
WHAT’S ON TAP
The San Diego Botanical Gardens will host the following shows later this summer:
July 21 – 22: San Diego Orchid Society’s summer show and plant sale
July 28 – 29: San Diego Turtle and Tortoise Society’s show and plant sale
Aug. 4 – 5: San Diego Dahlia Society show
Aug. 18 – 19: San Diego Fern Society’s show and plant sale
Aug. 25 – 26: Bonsai and Beyond show
Sept. 1 – 2: Southern California Plumeria Society’s show