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Experience Escondido’s Art Scene Every Second Saturday

Guests enjoying an exhibit at an EAA reception

The art scene is alive and thriving in Escondido, and its resident artists want the world to know about it. Every second Saturday, galleries, museums, and public parks in Escondido open their doors for the community and visitors to experience this vibrant scene firsthand. From walking tours, to demonstrations, to hands-on crafts and play, 2nd Saturday is fun for people of all ages. 

2nd Saturday is promoted by MAGEC (Museum & Arts Growing Escondido Culture), an informal group whose purpose is to “grow and develop the goals of its participants by promoting Escondido’s vibrant arts, heritage, and educational culture.” Group member Carol Rogers sees 2nd Saturday as a way to introduce people to all the creative endeavors happening around town. 

“Our event is diverse, offering children’s activities, world-class art venues, art galleries, cultural and historic sites, with hours ranging from 9am to 10pm.”

MAGEC volunteers

In the early 2000s, 2nd Saturday was a thriving event with guests who came from all over. But as Rogers explained, “the recession took a toll on Escondido, leaving Grand Avenue with only three galleries.” 

Now, however, Escondido and the local art community are having a revitalization and 2nd Saturday has come back with even more for people to enjoy. 

“With so much to offer, it did not seem appropriate to limit our promotion to just art galleries. We know that often those who appreciate art are also interested in the history and culture of an area,” Rogers said. “We decided to provide a single destination for a broad view of many of our treasures here in Escondido.”

Throughout the day, museums, parks, galleries, theaters, and even the library, are open with special events for guests to learn more about the arts community in Escondido. The day can be divided up by location and interest.

For a young artist or a more family-friendly day, head out to Kit Carson Park, home of Queen Califia’s Magical Circle. Created by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002), this sculpture garden was inspired by California’s mythic, historic, and cultural roots. The nine large-scale sculptures create a “snake wall” and circular maze entry. The mosaic ornamentation gives children of all ages a place to play, discover, and engage their own creative imaginations. For those looking for a more organized day or tours, the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, the San Diego Archaeological Center, the California Center for the Arts, and the EcoVivarium Living Museum offer guests tours, lectures, workshops, and hands-on interactive activities and crafts.

2nd Saturday fan design workshop

Art enthusiasts who want an afternoon and evening experience primarily in Historic Downtown Escondido can participate in a Gallery Walking Tour starting at Stone and Glass, where resident artist James Stone demonstrates the art of glass blowing from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. They can then move closer to downtown and visit Escondido Art Association: Artist Gallery, where local artists display their work. Next, head to Art 120 Grand, a vibrant Fine Art gallery. Escondido Arts Partnership Municipal Gallery is a non-profit and home to over 400 artists. Distinction Gallery and ArtHatch Studios is a place for new collectors to discover works of art that appeal to them in many genres. Art Tradition Gallery is a place to purchase works or just enjoy art and even take classes. Meanwhile, The Photographer’s Eye Gallery highlights fine photographic arts of both established and emerging photographers.

Art study at Distinction Gallery and Hatch Studios

History buffs can enjoy a free 90-minute walking tour of Historic Escondido, then pop in to Patio Playhouse Theater, Escondido’s longest-running live theater. 

In February, 2nd Saturday coincides with the Chocolate Festival, which runs from noon to 5 p.m. Rogers said, “We have 350 people buying tickets for a festival and now it’s 2nd Saturday so hopefully they are going to stay in town, grab a bite, and do the art galleries as well.” She hopes cross-promotions such as this one will help vitalize business within the city and create a synergy for everything Escondido.

Rogers’s promotion of 2nd Saturday includes Stone and Glass, the glass gallery that she owns with her husband, James Stone. The couple feels Escondido’s art community is valuable and they are glad to be part of it. “We started in Rancho Bernardo Winery, which had a nice art community,” she said. 

When the winery was redeveloped by new ownership, they decided to look for a new art-centric community to establish their business in and found Escondido. Stone, as Rogers said, “started his glass journey with stained glass. One of his pieces can be found at Chabad of Poway. Stone is an Ocean Conservation Mixed Media Sculpture Artist. This includes hot glass and mixed media, glass sculpture, and hand glass-blown objects.  

Private glass blowing demonstration at Stone & Glass

While glass blowing is a skilled art, Stone has found that with the 2019 Netflix glassblower competition series, Blown Away, interest in glass blowing has risen. He called it, “the Blown Away bump.” Glass blowing classes have been booked solid for months in advance, even with an added number of classes. Rogers explained. “We teach as much as we can and still make our commission projects.” 

For students interested in glass blowing, Rogers cautions it is not for everyone. “First, they are working at 2,400 degrees and then the cost can be prohibitive.” An eight series session runs $1,200, and rental space can be as much as $55 an hour.” However, for the novice, introductory courses are available for students from nine to 90 years old. 

Whether art fans are looking to add to their collections, see what’s new in Escondido’s art world, or want to participate in a workshop, 2nd Saturday is the day to do it. And for those who are looking for great food and drink as well, there are plenty of places to choose from, either on Grand Avenue or throughout the city. 

For more information and a list of events on 2nd Saturday click here

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