By B.J. Coleman
From Uptown to Downtown, artists who live and work around the outskirts of central San Diego are preparing for the late-April arts festival that enlivens Little Italy during springtime. This year’s 35th annual Mission Federal ArtWalk will fill 16 blocks of Downtown’s Little Italy on Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28. More than 350 artists will display their works, while musicians and other performing artists entertain event-goers on stages during the arts festival.
Among them is Ruth Fromstein, who creates her art in her Hillcrest home. She is currently working exclusively on abstracts painted on canvas. Fromstein is one of eight featured artists at this year’s ArtWalk. “This is pretty exciting,” Fromstein said in a recent phone interview. “This is a real honor. This was by award of judges who considered artists working in all different mediums.”
This will be Fromstein’s second appearance showing her work at ArtWalk in Little Italy. “I consider myself an emerging artist,” Fromstein said.
Fromstein said that art festival displays are challenging for working artists, even festivals as accessible as Little Italy’s ArtWalk. “Setting up is a real challenge,” Fromstein said. “This is hard work, any way you look at it. You gotta love it to do this.”
Fromstein declared that she has been making art her whole life but made it a full-time gig after raising three children and working earlier jobs in vocational rehabilitation. A Wisconsin native, Fromstein moved to San Diego eight-and-a-half years ago. Prior to focusing on painting abstracts on canvas, Fromstein created jewelry, textiles and painted furniture.
Fromstein’s work can be viewed on display Downtown at Adelman Fine Art and at venues in Kensington and Hillcrest. Her art can be seen online and purchased by email at links on ruthfromstein.com.
“I love it here. I love my neighborhood,” Fromstein said.
Fromstein disclosed that she is an avid hiker and backpacker, who derives inspiration for her art from nature. She described her abstract art as intuitive, based on landscapes and nature.
“I would love to have my original art displayed in homes,” Fromstein said. “I want to take people on a journey to a happy place. Art can bring so much joy, color and emotion to a viewer.”
Sarah Stieber is on a longer journey to ArtWalk in Little Italy. Stieber spent three weeks in the U.K., and two of those weeks in London with her own art residency. While there, Stieber performed live painting in a local pub and attended art openings. Work she created abroad will be shown in a Chelsea London gallery.
This will be Stieber’s fourth year participating in ArtWalk. “I have had a wonderful experience each year,” Stieber said. She was a featured artist at the 2016 event, and did an art performance piece that year.
Her show at ArtWalk will preview work that will be on display at the Stieber Summer Gallery, running from June 11 through July 30. Her first summertime gallery was last year in Little Italy.
Stieber has a new thematic series in mind, which is still in the development stages. Stieber’s art will be part of a multimedia art project, addressing concerns about what she calls the “rampant depiction of faceless women in contemporary art and culture.” Stieber plans to respond to the seeming “decapitation” in headless imagery with powerful, large-scale portraits focusing on female faces.
Stieber’s art studio is in North Park, where she hosts monthly open studio events. Viewings of her work can be arranged by appointment as well, by emailing email@example.com.
Other Uptown artists whose work will be on display include Adrian Arango, Moni Blom, Padgett Mason, Ariadna Saenz, Christine Schwimmer, Daniel Bommarito and Stephanie Clair.