La Playa Gallery loves to support San Diego art students and their studies. Local artist and graduate student, Krista Schumacher, asked to interview our curator, Erica Putis, and wrote a fantastic article about La Playa Gallery for one of her classes.
La Playa Gallery
La Playa Gallery: La Jolla’s Community Gem
La Jolla, California
By: Krista Schumacher
La Playa Gallery: La Jolla’s Community Gem
La Playa Gallery, located in La Jolla Shores, CA, is a hidden gem fostering culture and art in our community. The quaint gallery is nestled along the bustling boulevard, Avenida de la Playa, a street known to tourists around the world. Among the kayak rental stores, Italian restaurants, and coffee shops adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, you will find La Playa Gallery, a gallery which holds an unwavering commitment to supporting local artists in San Diego. From hosting numerous thematic exhibitions throughout the year, to their artist-in-residence program, the gallery is a moving force in ensuring that the voices of artists are heard and supported.
The dynamic players behind this growing gallery are curator, Erica Putis, and owners, Vaughn and Terrie Woods, who opened the gallery in 2013. The team of three has worked together to develop the gallery into the success it is today. As La Playa Gallery continues to advance as a local creative hub, connecting artists and art patrons alike, it is important to recognize the vital role galleries play in our community. Not only does the gallery provide opportunities for local artists to sell their work, but they are an essential piece of what curator, Erica Putis, calls the “circle of creativity” (Putis, 2018). Galleries provide a venue for artists to connect with collectors. When an artist sells their work, it allows for them to create new works, and continue to grow and develop their creativity, and hence, continuing the circle of creativity.
The role of La Playa Gallery is two-fold: to represent local artists and to educate the community about art. La Playa Gallery hosts eight thematic exhibitions during the year, alternating between solo and group exhibitions. Through the various exhibitions, the gallery works with over 20 artists per year. The gallery also has an online gallery platform via their website. The online gallery represents a number of artists that they have worked with during the course of the year. Depending on the type of exhibition, artists typically showcase between 5-10 pieces of their work. The gallery also permanently represents a select group of jewelers. The works are displayed in a professional manner, with gallery lighting, informational labels about each of the works, and display of the artist biography and statement. Artists who are interested in exhibiting with La Playa Gallery can send their portfolio to firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for selection.
The upcoming exhibition features the work of local artist, Kay Kaplan. The exhibition is called, “A Wondrous Perspective,” and focuses on the bold, confident, and vivid oil painting style of Kaplan (“La Playa Gallery,” 2018). With every exhibition, La Playa Gallery hosts an opening, and all are welcome to attend. These openings are typically held on Friday evenings and attract a large number of attendees. The receptions provide the opportunity for patrons to talk about the art with the artist and the curator. Through using their email list, marketing online, and posting the event in the local newspaper, locals are made aware of the upcoming exhibitions at La Playa Gallery. The next artist opening will be for Kay Kaplan on November 30th from 5-8 P.M.
In addition to their thematic exhibitions, La Playa Gallery also has an artist-in-residence program. This residency is awarded to one local artist from San Diego each year. It provides the artist with the opportunity for a month-long solo exhibition while creating their artwork at the gallery. The artist can choose to create works in front of the gallery doors on the sidewalk. The gallery expects the artist to spend 10-30 hours per week on site, creating their work while interacting with the community (“La Playa Gallery,” 2018). By doing so, the artist is engaging the public in the creative process. The artist-in-residence program is a unique program which helps cultivate community art education and appreciation. For art enthusiasts, it is an excellent way to see the artistic process in action.
As their community spotlight continues to magnify, the gallery is planning to offer art classes taught by local artists in 2019. Artists from the community can contact La Playa Gallery if they are interested in proposing a class idea. The gallery also has plans to host an art fair in the future. The gallery stated that they are still working out the details of these upcoming events.
La Playa Gallery values making visitors feel welcomed and comfortable in the gallery setting. Putis makes people understand that art is “not about what is ‘good’ to everyone else or by some kind of standard, it’s what moves you and makes you feel something” (Putis, 2018). She teaches viewers that by erasing their preexisting thoughts about what is ‘good’ art, viewers can focus on art that personally moves them. Then, the viewers can make meaningful connections with the artwork. The role of the curator and the gallery, is “bringing art to the public, and the education of viewing art in an accessible way” (Putis, 2018). As Putis discusses, “Art education is so important. Not just teaching how to create art, but how to relate to it in a non-class setting” (Putis, 2018). Art galleries, through exhibiting the work of local artists, play a valuable role in educating viewers about art.
The role of the curator, Erica Putis, is all-encompassing. Not only does she educate viewers about the art being exhibited, she also runs the behind the scenes operations. Putis works with the gallery owners to design their various thematic exhibitions and handling daily responsibilities such as contracts, online marketing, sales and much more. She strives to market and promote the artists so they can be successful during their exhibitions at the gallery. She creates promotional videos for social media, arranges studio visits with the artists, and truly seeks to understand the artist and their artwork.
Running a gallery is like running a small business, with many twists and turns and inescapable challenges along the way. Putis expressed that the biggest challenge is continuing to communicate to people how important art is and why collecting art is important. Among the inevitable challenges, are the numerous successes the gallery has experience. The gallery continues to increase the number of exhibitions they host each year, and make their mark in the art scene of San Diego. The most notable moments for the gallery are, “when a patron purchases a piece of art, that ensures the artist can continue to create amazing work and we can continue to promote it for them” (Putis, 2018). With a loyal following, and the high volume of tourists passing by the gallery each day, La Playa Gallery has proven to be a successful gallery for artists.
La Playa Gallery houses culture in our community. It provides an essential local hub, where artists and art enthusiasts can connect. By enriching our community through art education, La Playa Gallery upholds an important responsibility in preserving creative expression. La Playa Gallery is, without a doubt, a major player in the art-focused reputation of La Jolla and San Diego.
La Playa Gallery. (2018). La Playa Gallery. Retrieved from https://www.laplayagallery.com
Putis, E. (2018, November 11). Interview
Studio Visit with Kay Kaplan!
Erica Putis, La Playa Gallery's curator, had a chance to sit down with Kay Kaplan in her studio and talk about her inspiration behind her work.
Kay Kaplan will be La Playa Gallery’s solo featured artists for our new exhibition, "A Wondrous Perspective." A wine and cheese reception will be held on Friday, Nov 30, 2018 from 5 – 8 pm and the exhibition will run through Jan 4, 2019. Be sure to check back for more details! www.laplayagallery.com
Studio Visit with Michael Carini!
Erica Putis, La Playa Gallery's curator, had a chance to sit down with Michael Carini in his home studio and talk about his inspiration behind his work.
Michael Carini will be one of La Playa Gallery’s featured artists for our new exhibition, "The Quest for Rhythm." A wine and cheese reception will be held on Friday, Oct 12, 2018 from 5 – 8 pm and will run through Nov 23, 2018. Be sure to check back for more details!
Studio Visit with Becky Guttin!
Erica Putis, La Playa Gallery's curator, was invited to Becky Guttin's art studio where she got to speak with Becky and about her process. Becky will be one of La Playa Gallery’s featured artists for our new exhibition, "The Quest for Rhythm." A wine and cheese reception will be held on Friday, Oct 12, 2018 from 5 – 8 pm and will run through Nov 23, 2018. Be sure to check back for more details!
We are so happy to be featured in this weeks edition of the La Jolla Village News! Our next exhibition, "The Quest for Rhythm," is an event you won't want to miss. Opening reception is on Oct 12, 2018 from 5 - 8 pm. Hope to see you there!
Link to article: http://www.sdnews.com/view/full_story/27601595/article-La-Playa-Art-Gallery-s-October-Show-to-feature--Art-Alchemist-
Curator, Erica Putis, for La Playa Gallery got a chance to visit and interview Tiffany Bociek at her studio. She even taught Erica how to work in encaustic (beeswax)! Tiffany's solo exhibition opened on August 31st and will run through Sept 23, 2018. Make sure to come out and see her amazing art in person!
We are honored to be asked by SDVoyager to be interviewed. Curator, Erica Putis delves into the inner workings of La Playa Gallery.
* Link to the interview is below.
Meet Erica Putis of La Playa Gallery in La Jolla Shores
Today we’d like to introduce you to Erica Putis.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Erica. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
La Playa Gallery opened in 2013 and sits in the heart of La Jolla Shores offering local residents, visitors and tourists a warm collection of jewelry, ceramics, sculptures and paintings. The gallery provides the public with a unique set of thematic exhibitions each year. La Playa Gallery takes pride in offering its patrons a unique and individual experience while featuring local artists, bringing a variety of art that may not be seen in other galleries.
La Playa Gallery supports its local art community with an Artist-in-Residency program, hosts educational art classes for all ages and also offers a layaway option. We believe everyone should be able to own art they love and treasure, and we enjoy sparking the creative side of each person with whom we connect. This connection with art and our community is our driving force and we will continue to follow our mission wholeheartedly.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I joined the gallery in 2016 as the curator and what I heard is that, as with most new small businesses, there were some interesting twists and turns. They had to remodel to make sure the gallery was handicapped accessible and had to close down for a short time to accomplish it. La Playa Gallery then took a slow organic route to become publicly known. When I started working here, they were only hosting two or three shows a year with a limited staff. I decided to really focus on local artists and showcasing their amazing work by coordinating six group art exhibits a year.
Step forward to 2018 and I have increased that number to eight per year, including solo and group exhibitions. I have also started an artist-in-residence program along with educational classes which will be held at the gallery. These things are very new and we are extremely excited about them.
A small business is always a work in progress so I am constantly working on our website, social media and finding ways to support and engage our local community. When that connection is made, working here is very fulfilling. We love bringing attention to local artists who demonstrate creativity, quality and a willingness to work with us.
La Playa Gallery – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am the curator at La Playa Gallery. I coordinate many exhibits throughout the year along with managing the front and back end of the gallery. We specialize in fine art and jewelry, featuring artwork ranging from paintings, sculpture, fiber art and pottery. I am proud to feature local artists based on quality and not on what is just trendy at the moment or if they are well-known.
I enjoy organizing group exhibitions with no more than four artists that create in different styles or mediums but have something unique that ties them all together. It’s challenging and rewarding to find artists to fit the bill but San Diego is becoming a rich and diverse art community and every day I meet new people who inspire me. If they inspire me, they are bound to inspire someone else and that is such a powerful tool to feel connected to others.
I think what sets us apart from other galleries is our unique selection of artists, location, cozy space and our exciting artist receptions. We love celebrating our featured artists, with the public, while offering wine, cheese, and homemade sweets.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
As a small business, it is always important to make money but that is not the only thing we care about. Of course, in order to stay open, we need the support of our community to take an interest in art.
Buying art is so important in this field because you are not only supporting a local small business, you are helping artists put food on the table and buy new supplies to create more artwork. This symbiotic relationship really comes full circle when we all support each other. Artists create work that inspires them, we use our resources to bring their work to the public and the public must buy the artwork so that the artist can continue to create and we can continue to support them.
This is the ultimate definition of success for any small business but is especially important in the world of art. Art is not just an extravagance. Art speaks to every single one of us and creates a bond between what we see, how we deal with our surroundings and the people we come in contact with every day. Art can alter or define our values and beliefs or can even be as simple as making us feel calm or safe. We, at La Playa Gallery, really strive to help fill this need in our community.
New Video Of Krista Schumacher Painting
Krista Schumacher will be painting outside of La Playa Gallery during her artist residency from May 21, 2018 to June 22, 2018. Here's a sneak peek at her process:
This painting and many others will be available during her residency. Enjoy wine and cheese at our artist reception on Friday, June 1, 2018 from 5 - 8 pm at La Playa Gallery located at 2226 Avenida de la Playa, La Jolla, CA 92037.
Take this opportunity to meet the artist and to discuss the inspiration behind her textural, abstract landscape paintings. You won't want to miss this exciting show, "Formulations in Colors & Texture."
While San Diego is most famous for our year-round great weather, beautiful beaches, and awesome Mexican food you may not know that it is also the location of an amazing arts and entertainment district. La Playa Gallery shares our top 10 museum and gallery destinations perfect for anyone's artistic palette.
10. National Geographic Fine Art Gallery
Located in beautiful Downtown La Jolla, this gallery highlights award-winning photographs by some of National Geographic's finest photographers.
La Playa Gallery sits in the heart of La Jolla Shores offering local residents, visitors and tourists a warm collection of jewelry, ceramics, sculptures and paintings. The gallery provides the public with a unique set of thematic exhibitions each year. La Playa Gallery takes pride in offering its patrons a unique and individual experience while featuring local artists, bringing a variety of art that may not be seen at other galleries.