It’s well known that Encinitas is that classic California surf town with rich local history; however, the city has also made a name for itself to be a town with an impressive and thriving art scene. We talked with several local well-known artists who represent a variety of art disciplines to discuss their background and passion for being part of the Encinitas arts scene. They shared advice for those seeking to blend arts and culture into their daily lives and allowed us to learn about upcoming opportunities to appreciate the arts in the community. After gathering all the artists together at the Lux Art Institute, we were impressed with the passion they have to bring art to the community now and in the future. As Joe McNally, Grammy nominated artist and founder of The Hutchins Consort, put it so clearly, “I cannot tell you enough how wonderful it is to live and work in downtown Encinitas. I’m in “art central” every day and I just love it here. There are so many talented artists interacting and trying to make our community a better place. And they do!”

Did You Know




Opened to the public in November 2007, Lux Art Institute, a LEED-certified visual arts destination in Encinitas, is redefining the museum experience to


make art more accessible, engaging and personally meaningful. Through an acclaimed artist-in-residence program and innovative and educational classes, camps and events, visitors and participants don’t just “see art,” they also “see art happen.” Our team chose this location for the cover feature shoot as it clearly exemplifies art at its finest, offering an array of opportunities for all ages bringing in renowned national and international talent. It is truly a cultural gem in the community – one of Encinitas’ best kept secrets that has wonderful plans of expansion this calendar year.



Performing Arts



Joe McNalley

Community of residence: Downtown Encinitas

Title: Artistic Director, The Hutchins Consort

You have been studying music since you were eleven. What sparked your interest in the discipline? 

Music was always around the house – I’m the youngest of 5, all of whom played at least one instrument, and my mom had been a church organist before we moved to CA. Early influences helped inspire me and made me realize how inexhaustible the world of music and art is. So over the decades I’ve had many mentors and still do to this day. t.f.-6173

The Hutchins Consort prides itself on being a “refreshing departure from the typical chamber music performance.” Please elaborate.

With the Hutchins Consort, I have been working on re-energizing and reinventing classical music, as every generation must if the art form is to remain relevant. We endeavor to be at once educational, entertaining, spiritual and humorous.

What do you like most about being part of the Encinitas art scene? 

I cannot tell you enough how wonderful it is to live and work in downtown Encinitas. I’m in “art central” every day and just love it here. The arts scene here is supportive and invigorating. There are so many talented artists interacting and trying to make our community a better place. And they do!

What advice do you have for youth interested in performing arts?

You can, and don’t let anyone convince you that you can’t! To master any skill takes many hours of practice and a lot of soul searching. You’ll get knocked around a bit, but if you stick with a discipline it will pay off in ways you can’t even imagine at this stage. Keep your eyes, ears and heart open. And get out there and perform!




Sean Cox & Christy Yael

Titles:  Co-Artistic Directors and Co-Founders, Intrepid Shakespeare Companyt.f.-6016


What is the history behind Intrepid Shakespeare Company? 

We were professional actors who lived in Encinitas and loved Shakespeare. We wanted to create bold, daring, fast-paced, relevant and intrepid productions of the classics that would inspire the next generation of theatre goers. Thus, the establishment of Encinitas’ first professional theatre company.

What roles do you play as co-artistic directors?

We direct, act, teach, design, study and promote Shakespeare and modern classics with our hearts, imaginations and souls. We inspire our actors, designers and patrons and remind the company that a theatre is an empty box and that it’s our task to fill it with fury, ecstasy and revolution.

What do you like most about being part of the Encinitas art scene? 

This is such an amazing community with an eclectic collection of arts and it deserves to have a first rate, professional theatre company. We are constantly overwhelmed by the response from locals who support our shows. We are moving into our 4th season and growing much faster than we anticipated.

We are thrilled to be bringing summer theatre camp to North County students.

What advice do you have for youth interested in theatre?

Keep reaching for the highest height and never give up. Always raise the bar and meet each challenge head on.




Ann Chase

Community of residence: Leucadia

Title: Musician/Singer

What is your background in music? What/Who was your inspiration?  

Music has been a part of my life since my early childhood, studying piano at age eight and singing in choruses throughout high school and college. Throughout my studies, my greatest inspiration has come from the singers who were immersed in storytelling – the lieder singers and others who wove drama into their singing.


You have created a cabaret series called CabaretCaccia. Please describe the series and your motivation.

As “cabaret” suggests intimacy and theatrics, CabaretCaccia will center upon songs, intimate chamber music and storytelling. CabaretCaccia will create an alluring environment, offering wine, table seating and candlelight and will encourage a place somewhere between concerts and entertainment.

What do you like most about being part of the Encinitas art scene? How long have you been in Encinitas?  

I have lived in Encinitas since 1974. The arts environment that is emerging here is very exciting, and all of us in the performing and visual arts wish to be a part of it. After years of performing in various parts of Southern California, wishing to be bi-coastal, reveling in the intensity of New York City, it is now my ardent desire to bring some of that sophistication and culture to our beautiful beach town.

What advice do you have for youth interested in music?  

Study your instrument of choice with a good teacher and follow through with self-direction. Surround yourself with literature, poetry and musical and theatrical performances of all types. Listen, observe and embrace.




Tyler Hughen

Community of residence: Cardiff

Title: Director at Finback Films

What your background with film? How did you get involved in the discipline? 


Filmmaking is really just storytelling, and that’s something my family has always done well. Most early memories are from uncles and family friends swapping stories that mainly revolved around fishing and water. Filmmaking has been the next step for me, and the recent film “Low & Clear” is my first feature completed alongside Co-Director, Kahlil Hudson. It deals with the universal theme of old friends struggling to deal with time past, and the importance of living a passion driven life.

You are a videographer, photographer and artist. What discipline do you enjoy most? Why?

I’m really an all or nothing kind of guy, and find it hard to do more than one thing at a time. I just get so into it. At the moment I’m all about filmmaking and searching hard for the next story to tell. Any discipline requires a full commitment and for me, at least right now, motion picture has captured
my imagination.

What advice do you have for youth interested in film, photography and so forth?

The work that usually goes the furthest is very personal. Learn your gear enough so that it gets out of your way and then simply shoot what speaks to you.





Sayat Asatryan & Olga Tchekachova

Community of Residence: Carlsbad

Titles: Artistic Directors

What is the history of the Encinitas Ballet Academy and Arts Center?


In 2008, we moved to Encinitas where we opened Encinitas Ballet Academy and Arts Center. We have successfully conducted public ballet and music performances since then. The Academy operates a teaching academy of ballet that delivers and promotes the highest standards of technique, integrity and professionalism for young dancers, while cultivating self-confidence, style, artistic expression and an appreciation and love of ballet.

What do you like most about being part of the Encinitas art scene? 

There is something special about Encinitas. It is not as busy as downtown San Diego, but it’s a great place for families and children to grow, while still being spoiled with a beautiful coastline. We have been here since 2008. We feel that Encinitas has great potential of becoming a city of the arts that will bring many local and international artists here for spectacular productions.

What advice do you have for youth interested in dance? 

Ballet changes lives and every child and adult should have an opportunity to learn its graceful art. It develops coordination, concentration, physical abilities and confidence. It is gold in your hands.

healing arts



Ellen Speert


Community of residence: Encinitas

Title: Director, California Center for Creative Renewal

The California Center for Creative Renewal is a haven for healing arts. Please explain creative renewal?

This is a term I coined to reflect the process of helping my clients reclaim their spark of curiosity and the freedom to explore their fullest sense of


themselves through the process of making art. We all know that children create freely – my work is to return this birthright to adults through the use of simple art materials in the safety of the healing gardens.

What do you like most about being part of the Encinitas art scene? 

I have lived here since the 1970s and love the camaraderie of the art scene. Encinitas has a large, vibrant community of artists who freely share ideas and friendship.

What are the most popular art therapy services, workshops, retreats that you provide?

My weekly women’s art therapy groups have been very popular since 1980, as well as my weekly surrealist collage group. Each spring I offer a mother/daughter workshop on making Affirmation Dolls.




Micaiah Hardison

Community of residence: Leucadia

Title: Artist


How long have you been involved with visual arts? What sparked your interest in the discipline?

I started taking painting seriously when I was 16 years old. I began selling large paintings, taking commissions, selling apparel with my artwork, and marketing my work in the action sports industry. I was excited to be able get paid to do what I enjoyed and keep my attention close to surfing and the ocean. I am now 34 years old and have made my greatest improvements over the last five years by studying and receiving guidance from masters of the craft.

What do you like most about being part of the Encinitas art scene?

I wouldn’t say that I am very involved in the art scene, but I am proud to be one of the many fine artists here. Some of the most successful artists are relatively unknown locally, and most of the local talents are unknown outside of the area. So really, any artist can find a place here.

What advice do you have for youth interested in visual arts?

I would recommend that young artists find a good teacher, school or atelier to teach them the fundamentals and guide them towards greatness. They should have fun, be spontaneous and ambitious, but they should understand where they are in the big picture of art and history so they don’t waste their energy on a lifetime of art that will be discarded.


literary arts



Danny Salzhandler

Community of residence: Cardiff by the Sea

Title: President, 101 Artists’ Colony

What is the history behind Full Moon Poets? How long has it been part of the Encinitas art scene?  

I founded FMP in 2001 to give poets a venue for reading their poetry. The bi-annual Poetry Slam offers a venue for performance poetry.t.f.-6157

What are some of the most popular programs you bring to and offer the community? 

The La Paloma Poetry Slam brings 400 community members together. I have been involved with the Safe Trick or Treat in downtown Encinitas since 2001 and the Arts Alive Exhibit each year that involves over 100 artists.

What do you like most about being part of the Encinitas art scene? 

Helping to create an art culture that is accessible to all walks of life in this community and discovering more talented artists each year, including visual, spoken and performing artists. I have lived in Cardiff for 19 years.

What advice do you have for those who would like to become involved with literary arts? 

Jump right in with both feet and an imagination.


Visual Arts



Ryan Maher

Community of residence: Encinitas

Title: Creative Director, Said Gallery

How long have you been involved with visual arts? What sparked your interest in the discipline?

I have been making art since I was little. Making visual work always made the most sense to me.

t.f.-6176You specialize in art, design and illustration. What are the current projects you are working on? Where are they displayed?

I like to have multiple projects going. I think it helps on keeping yourself in check by getting out of one particular work mode. So right now, I am doing an illustration project for children, the art/creative direction for a new fashion company, a new show at SAID and potentially a residency in Chicago. I like to work.

Who has been your inspiration for embarking on a career in visual arts?

Encinitas is wonderful for the connection to the ocean and outdoors. I grew up here and I moved around a bit for several years. It is really nice to be back.

What advice do you have for youth interested in visual arts?

Tom Sachs said it [I believe] best: “Work earns you more work.” That has always resonated with me and is something I have found to be proven true.



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Mar. 2 – Apr. 8

Opening Reception for the Exhibit: Saltwater + Sand + Seaweed

6 – 8 p.m. | Encinitas Library

On view: A collection of original paintings by Micaiah Hardison. Meet the artist and enjoy refreshments. 


Mar. 3

A Telling Experience: David Novak, actor/storyteller

7 p.m. | Encinitas Public Library

$15 cash or credit card at the door.


Mar. 6

Wednesdays @ Noon Concert: Darius Degher

12 – 12:45 p.m. | Encinitas Library

The celebrated Leucadia recording artist’s music has folk, country and rock influences. He will be joined by his daughter, Cleopatra.


Mar. 9

2nd Annual Encinitas Arts Festival

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Encinitas Community and Senior Center

A passport to the arts with 20 music, dance and theatre performances on two stages, an outdoor drum circle, performance art, hands-on art workshops, dance workshops, 600 piece student art exhibit and food trucks. Presented by the Commission for the Arts and numerous organizations.


Mar. 11

Play: Amelia Earhart Lost and Found

7 p.m. | Encinitas Library

Directed by Tim West


Mar. 14

Opening Reception for the Exhibit: Art Explosion

5 – 7 p.m. | Civic Center Gallery

Artwork created by students enrolled in the Stardust Arts, a youth art education program which builds confidence, creativity and imagination.


May 25

Sleeping Beauty Ballet 

2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sherwood Auditorium, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla

Apr. 4

Art of Élan at Lux 

6 – 7 p.m. Reception refreshments

7 – 8 p.m. Concert

Funding for this concert was provided by former County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price.

Tickets: $20 Lux members; $25 non-members; $10 students. Advance purchase recommended. 


Apr. 6

Sketching & Watercolor: Journal Style with Jane LaFazio


Apr. 7

Camarada performs tango music of Astor Piazzolla.

7 p.m. | Encinitas Public Library

$15.00 cash or credit card at the door.


Apr. 12 -13

Play: The Knights of the Red Table!,  Park Dale Players

7 p.m. | El Camino Creek Elementary School

A full-scale musical, a wacky medieval comedy filled with knights, dragons and damsels-in-distress!


Apr. 28

Encinitas Pops Concert: A Salute to Young Musicians, Coastal Communities Concert Band

2 p.m. | San Dieguito Academy

Also hear 24 outstanding high school musicians who will compete for music scholarships.




Through May 26

2013 Arts Alive Exhibit with Live Auction on May 26

2 p.m. | Cardiff Town Center; ;


Hutchins Consort

Concerts throughout March and a Midwest tour in April.


Intrepid Shakespeare

Season Four: 

Oleanna, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Into The Woods, Macbeth

12 play readings at the Encinitas Library throughout 2013 (one per month).


Mar. 14 – May 18

Lux Art Institute

Artist-in-Residence, James Chronister; Underwritten by Steve Black

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