Library regulars know that the Coronado Public Library has a permanent collection of artwork, but this summer the library is hosting two new exhibits and a third.
The Library’s Spreckels Reading Room, which houses several paintings as well as sculptural pieces, sports a fresh coat of white paint to reflect the room’s abundant natural light. These walls will feature an exhibition of 49 works by the San Diego Plein Air Painters Meetup group, starting with an opening reception on Sunday, June 27 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. All are welcome at the reception, which will feature refreshments and two local painters, Mary Hale and Christie Curran, at work outside on the library steps. The exhibition is co-produced by the Coronado Library and the Cultural Arts Commission and will run until September 15.
âThe Cultural Arts Commission is delighted to collaborate with the library on the next outdoor painting exhibition,â said Commission President Helen Kupka. âThe Spreckels Reading Room is such a special place and this exhibition will be the first in a long series. Plein means âpleinâ in French, so the idea of ââour first public gathering to enjoy âplein airâ-inspired art seems particularly refreshing as we emerge from the pandemic.
The San Diego Plein Air Painters Meetup group was formed in 2007 by local artist Rod Lingren. The group paints outdoors on Saturdays and has artists from across San Diego County among its members. Places of painting range from beaches to mountains to local landmarks, as well as familiar destinations like the flower fields of Carlsbad. The group has organized several member exhibitions over the years.
The show was selected and organized by the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission. Among the artists whose work is on display are Brian Belfield, Julie Bradbury-Bennett, Gricelda Brito, Steve Clark, Bess Cheong, Karen Crowell, Tricia De Luna, Joanne Geroe, Jose Nunez, David Peterson, Bianca Romani, Tara Sood, Joyce Trinh and Colleen Veneri.
The outdoor exhibit joins another recently released in the library, “Iwai: Expressions of Seasonal Celebrations in Japan”. Art objects on loan from the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego are on display in the library’s exhibition gallery. Just in time for this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, viewers can learn about Japanese festivals and rituals through the exhibits on display, including vibrant and detailed traditional costumes as well as decorative items and lavishly dressed dolls. .
In Japan, festivals are held seasonally to pray for good health, a good harvest or the prosperity of the descendants. Introduced from China during the Nara period (710-794), the five seasonal festivals are called âGo-Sekkuâ and include Hinamatsuri, Children’s Day, and Tanabata. In addition to these festivals, special decorations are made for celebrations such as New Years Day and weddings. The Iwai exhibition will be on display until September 8.
A third exhibition, âThe Library: Art, Architecture and Artifactsâ, commemorating the 130th anniversary of the Coronado Public Library, opened at the Coronado Community Center Gallery (âC3â) on the unfortunate date of February 6. 2020. Due to the pandemic- visibility time shortened, the exhibit will remain on view until Labor Day.
Using photographs and historical memorabilia, the exhibition tells the story of the library from its inception in 1890 to 2020 through photos and historical memorabilia. The Coronado Library and Free Reading Room Association began on Saturday, December 6, 1890. From 1890 to 1895, its location was in various shared or rented spaces. In 1895, members of the library board were looking for a more stable and affordable solution for the library. Elisha Babcock, then General Manager of the Hotel del Coronado, donated the hotel’s former Spring House pavilion as library space. This space became known as the âCoronado Beach Libraryâ, but quickly became too small. On February 17, 1908, the council voted to “ask Mr. Spreckels to donate a new library building, subject to its proper maintenance by the city”. Local figure and philanthropist John D. Spreckels donated the materials along with his architect, Harrison Albright, to build the library at its current location at 640 Orange Avenue. This original building is now the Spreckels Reading Room.
Notable artifacts on display include handwritten historical documents such as the 1890 Library Constitution, photos of the Coronado Beach Library, and architectural plans for various library extensions and renovations over the years.
Now that the masks’ mandate has ended and people can freely mix, mingle, and enjoy the outings, they can visit these exhibits and check out the other program offerings at the library. All events are free and open to the public. To see everything happening at the library this summer, including the Summer Reading Program for All Ages, visit cplevents.org.