Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time —Thomas Merton
Escondido is the heart of North County San Diego’s rich history and culture and home to one of the few remaining authentic downtown historic districts. A downtown complete with vintage buildings with eclectic shops, appealing restaurants and a great mix of art galleries and museums.
The Escondido Arts Partnership Municipal Gallery (EAPMG) is considered by locals and visitors alike a jewel in the crown of wonderful galleries found in the area.
The EAPMG building is easily found on the corner of East Grand & Juniper Street. The east exterior wall of EAPMG building proudly displays a 12 by 20 foot local color mural by artist Daniel Hernandez. Titled “The Hidden Valley” the mural is a gift of public art to the people of Escondido made possible by a grant from the Escondido Charitable Foundation. The mural is a vibrant visual story about Escondido’s rich history and cultural identity.
The EAP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts agency established in December 1995.
One of the founding members, Kathy Rubesha, recalls that not long after the Center for the Arts, Escondido opened their museum, local artists worked with then Mayo Jerry Harmon and City Council members to open and fund the Escondido Municipal Gallery, which later became the EAP.
There was sound economic reasoning for the City’s support. Arts attract visitors. With both the Center for the Arts and the Municipal Arts Gallery the thought was that this combination would to attract other arts businesses to Escondido. And it did! At one time there were seven individual art studios as well as the Mingei Museum that moved to Escondido.
“It proved to be a boon for our local artists. An inspiration really” said Rubesha. “It seems like every year our artists are creating more and more outstanding work!”
The EAPMG provides a destination for visitors in downtown Escondido and is home to over 400 local artists. The EAPMG offers free ongoing arts education, monthly exhibitions with free entry and performance space to approximately 2000 visitors a month.
Chrisanne Moats moved to Escondido in 2006. Her new neighbor and then EAPMG board member Renee Richetts introduced her to the gallery where Moats found the positive and easy-going nature of the EAPMG to be her “new art place.” Moats participated as an artist and volunteered with fundraising and exhibitions and in 2011 was offered the gallery manager position and then executive director in 2015.
A self-taught artist, Moats sees art in everything. Most of her work is assemblage, using found objects to make large and small-scale sculptures, sometimes combined with her photography.
“I like to put the objects together and create a dialogue of who we are collectively – or perhaps create a new myth. Art for me is making the ordinary, extraordinary!” she says.
The Escondido Arts Partnership Municipal Gallery is truly a city, community and regional asset.
Home to high caliber exhibitions, like Wood: A furniture Show. A very popular exhibit that features wonderful projects handcrafted by award winning woodworkers. Artists from all over San Diego County, show their works in art exhibitions and themed, juried shows. The juried shows challenge artists in all mediums to create and display new works.
“We welcome the public to celebrate art with us regularly,” says Moats.
The EAPMG relies on fundraising events, grants, sponsorships, memberships and various fees for funding. EAPMG volunteers give their time as a labor of love to the art community and are crucial in the gallery’s operation. Student interns gain valuable experience in all aspects of running a public art gallery, exhibitions and non-profit arts management.
A few years back, the city cut funding for many organizations in working toward building the city’s reserves. This was a huge loss for the EAPMG and others and hopefully temporary as the city again prospers.
In the summer of 2014 the EAPMG assumed operations of the Escondido Certified Famer’s Market. The market is held every Tuesday at Juniper and Grand Avenue and all proceeds from this weekly event help sustain EAPMG’s mission of promoting locally created art and now also promote regional sustainable farms, crafters and small cottage businesses.
Art and food – two of life’s essentials!
Unprecedented times. In our community, region, country and world life has changed while all battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EAPMG’s key annual fundraiser – Panache, scheduled for March has like all public gatherings, been postponed. This silent and live art auction event is a main source of operating revenue. All of the auction items are donated by award winning artists, local businesses and museums including an original signed artwork by Niki de Saint Phalle that is donated from the Niki Charitable Art Foundation.
“Focusing on programming with themes common to everyone is the EAPMG’s key to drawing large crowds regularly and we look forward to an increased interest and visitation to art shows with socially relevant themes to increase tourism and be a part of a vibrant downtown Escondido and the San Diego region” says Moats.
“If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.” — John F. Kennedy.
Art is essential. Support the arts.
Escondido Arts Partnership Municipal Gallery
262 East Grand Avenue, Escondido 92025
Chrisanne Moats – Executive Director
Katie Werner – Gallery Manager
(760) 480 – 4101
Good business, great people!