Sights & Sounds: The Artists at the Upcoming San Diego Festival of the Arts Sept. 11 & 12

The San Diego Festival of the Arts has come far since its 1987 inception when it was a little more than a small exhibition and a taco bar called the Golden Triangle Festival of the Arts. It grew into the La Jolla Festival of the Arts and in 2016 the festival moved downtown to Waterfront Park. This year, for ease of access and parking, the festival is moving to North San Diego at the San Diego Surf Club Soccer Park (formerly known as the Del Mar Polo fields) on Saturday, September 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, September 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This prestigious juried festival will showcase stunning works of painting, sculpture, photography, glass, jewelry, ceramics, wood, fiber, and mixed media from nearly 150 world-renowned artists. Purchase tickets (single and group) online at

Visual Artists

According to festival co-chair Don Ludwig, “This is our 35th year and the loyalty from our artists is remarkable. There are ten artists who have shown their work with us for more than twenty years.” They are: Dorothee Naumberg; Sherry Salito Forsen; Suzanne Spalding; David and Carolyn Levy; Sadegh Aref; Justin Coopersmith; Robert Fleming; Karen McGaw and David Falossi. Falossi, a native San Diegan, started in theater production but became a sculptor. “Carving stone is the most difficult of all the artistic mediums,” says Falossi. “As it requires the sculptor to commit to a long and difficult process before yielding a great reward. When working with glass he says, “it represents the human spirit, life and the miraculous.” This year’s artists range from the expressive Tijuana artist Antonio Proa who starts his creative process with a spontaneous color palette beginning with only magenta, yellow and blue, then uses free exercise to reinvent a new chromatic range; to classic but contemporary handbag designer Janet Chico whose approach offers functionality and fun; to art photographer Georganna Dean whose compelling photography won best of show in photography in 2016. 

Musical Artists 

While the visual artists are capturing your attention, half the fun is to take a break to listen to the talented line-up of entertainers.

Saturday line-up

Front Gate: 10:30 a.m.-12noon—Tom Griesgraber on the Chapman Stick and 12:30-2 p.m.—Caprice Strings

Ocean Stage: Saturday – 10:30-11:45 a.m.—Nina Francis; 12-1 p.m.–Ben Owens; 1:15-2:30 p.m.—Peter Sprague and Leonard Patton; 2:45-4 p.m.—Rheanna Downey; and 4:15-5:45 p.m.—Hau’oli Strummers

Main Stage: Saturday – 10:40—11:50 a.m.—Dave Scott and Monsoon; 12:15-1:30 p.m.—U.S. Navy Band: Destroyers; 2 -4 p.m.—The Birdwatchers; and 4:20-5:50 p.m.— Jasmine Commerce. 

Sunday line-up

Front Gate: 10:30 a.m.-12noon—Tom Griesgraber on the Chapman Stick and 12:30-2 p.m.—Caprice Strings

Ocean Stage: 10:30-11:45 a.m.—Fred Benedetti and Family; 12-1:20 p.m.—Fred Benedetti; 1:40-3 p.m.—Nina Francis; and 3:15-4:45 p.m.—Hau’oli Strummers.

Main Stage: 10:40 -12noon—Jasmine Commerce; 12:20-2:10pm—Rheanna Downey Band; and 2:30-4:45pm—Bayou Brothers

More Info

Proceeds from the Festival have sent more than 500 differently abled San Diegans to Durango, Colorado for a snow skiing experience with all travel expenses paid. The Festival has also benefitted dozens of nonprofit organizations including San Diego City Schools Adaptive Physical Education, St. Madeline Sophie’s Center, Challenged Sailors, and the Wheelchair Dance Organization Program. Since its founding, the Festival has raised more than $2.5 million and impacted about 40,000 people.