This is no Temecula art show.
This is Lake Elsinore, where independent spirit, cultural diversity, creative openness, 123 years of history, and a very cool vibe provide the perfect backdrop for a flourishing art scene.
That scene is on display at the as part of its annual “Art From the Heart” show that runs through today and tomorrow.
“We have a thriving arts community. The talent is here,” said Cathy Stevenson, Elsinore Woman’s Club Arts chairperson.
As Stevenson worked Thursday afternoon at the club, hanging more than 200 submissions inside the historic building on Graham Street to ready for the show, she explained that art is a longstanding part of Lake Elsinore’s history: The Woman’s Club has been supporting local artists since 1956 when it held its first art show.
But this year’s event, Stevenson said, is pushing the envelope in terms of sophisticated expression. Stevenson pointed out four boldly colored mixed media pieces she had hung earlier in the day. The works were by a local artist and included one nude.
“The show isn’t just landscapes and bowls of fruit. I want people to react,” Stevenson said.
Another mixed media piece – an all black bust wearing sunglasses – was an example of the avant-garde style Stevenson believes Lake Elsinore is ready for.
“The empty storefronts on Main Street should be filled with art,” she said. “We need galleries here. It should be like Santa Barbara.”
Stevenson, 61, is a Lake Elsinore resident. She’s not an artist, but she’s done some acting in L.A. and she possesses a youthful style that’s genetic.
“I grew up in New York City and my mom was a fashion writer,” she explained. “I was always around the arts. It’s a part of me.”
Stevenson’s East Coast ties explain this year’s “Art From the Heart” theme: “SoHo Gallery Chic.”
“We really want this to be a classy gallery event, but at the same time it won’t be pretentious,” Stevenson said. “We want people to feel welcome.”
Her passion for art, especially Lake Elsinore art, is contagious. She squealed like a young girl when a reputable Lake Elsinore artist walked into the Woman’s Club Thursday with several mixed media submissions.
“He was voted one of the Top 10 rising artists by Los Angeles Magazine,” Stevenson said proudly. “Look at these pieces. Incredible.”
“Art From the Heart” is a judged show, so Stevenson asked that Patch not reveal artists’ names or works' titles prior to judging, but approximately 50 artists from throughout the region were entered by Thursday afternoon.
The event, which is open to the public, runs from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday. The event includes an appetizers/beer/wine reception starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, which is also open to the public. All the displayed works will be for sale.
“I hope the community comes by to support these artists,” Stevenson said. “Why buy a manufactured generic print from Costco when you can buy an original piece from a local artist?”