Lux opens new facility in Encinitas

New Education Pavilion helps Lux Art Institute fulfill its mission

By James Chute8:34 a.m.March 21, 2014

Art students Lucy Stefanko, 12, (right) and Bridget Brightfield, 13, work on their paintings during a preparation for summer art camp class at the Lux Art Institute in Encinitas on Wednesday. Hayne Palmour IV • U-T

It’s still too early to hang out the “Mission Accomplished” banner, but the Lux Art Institute has taken a significant step toward the realization of its vision to be a multi-facility arts institution with a focus on education.

Lux will open its second building — a $1.8 million, 7,000-square-foot Education Pavilion — on April 12. It is expected to house many of Lux’s expanding educational programs.

“Our education programs were going gung ho but we had no place to put them,” said director Reesey Shaw, who founded the innovative, Encinitas-based arts organization. “We had them in a little classroom trailer. We know the new Educational Pavilion is going to be a great place for them.”

The Education Pavilion, the former Sanderling Waldorf School, was renovated by Lux based on a design by architect and Lux board member Anne Sneed, who donated her services.

It includes four classrooms (one large enough to hold community meetings of up to 100), an artists workshop, a digital lounge, office space and a garden with small amphitheater that could be used for small concerts or even weddings.

“The new Education Pavilion allows Lux to give the community a space to push the bounds of their creativity,” said Lisa Davis, Lux’s new education director. “While we’ve been introducing youth to the techniques and styles of internationally acclaimed artists for years, the expanded facility furthers the endeavors by including teens, adults and seniors in new programs in line with the unique vision of Lux.”

At Lux, artists are on-site for monthlong residencies, during which they interact with students and visitors. That experience of witnessing an artist at work is the foundation of its educational programs.

“In most museums the education programs are in the basement, and if you look at the staff, they could have a staff of 70 and one educator,” said Shaw. “Lux has a staff of 11, and four educators.”

Lux’s current operating budget is approximately $1 million, but that is expected to rise to about $1.3 million with the new facility. It projects serving approximately 14,500 students in 2014, both in its on-site activities and its in-class programs in local schools. And it expects to attract an additional 20,000 adults to its facilities.

Lux bought the education building (it has a mortgage of $1.3 million) and land fronting El Camino Real in 2008, the year after the institute opened its first phase, an Artists Pavilion. The LEED-certified Artist Pavilion includes an artists studio, apartment and office space.

Lux rented the education building to the Sanderling School until 2012, when Lux was ready to proceed with the renovation. The roof, windows and doors were replaced and the interior gutted and reconfigured. Sneed used local and reclaimed resources, including doors and windows from US Iron in San Marcos and interior barn doors of reclaimed teak from Noe Design in Solana Beach.

“We’re thrilled with the design,” Shaw said. “She worked into it some really wonderful features.”

With a pantry and a wood shop that can also be used as a prep space for caterers, the facility is also suitable for events such as weddings and community meetings.

The final phase in the development of Lux is an Exhibition Pavilion, which would be located up the hill from the Artists Pavilion and the Education Pavilion on Lux’s 6-acre campus in Encinitas. Architect Renzo Zecchetto, who designed the Artists Pavilion, also made drawings for the Exhibition Pavilion.

Now Lux needs approximately $15 million to $20 million to make it a reality.

“I hope this gives us the momentum to get the building on the hill,” said Shaw, who is placing an increased emphasis on involving the families of the students who participate in Lux activities.

“I expect that the parents of the kids doing this, the ones that can, will be the launchpad for that (expansion) happening,” Shaw said. “With their support, we could do the final build out.”

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