Art and International Relations

By Diana Rodriguez

James Hubbell

The Ilan-Lael Foundation announced it will host Gateway Conversations, a three-day event exploring the role of art in international relations, from April 28-30. The Ilan-Lael Foundation will welcome representatives from the eastern and western Pacific Rims, along with members of the San Diego and Tijuana communities, to build an ongoing conversation with individuals across the globe about the role of art in public places and its ability to bridge cultures. The events will take place in San Diego on Friday, and in Tijuana on Saturday.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming our friends and building partners who are part of our Pacific Rim Park community,” said Marianne Gerdes, Ilan-Lael Executive Director, to La Prensa San Diego. “The Parks are symbols of beauty, mutual respect and cooperation between people on the coasts of the Pacific Ocean. This is a wonderful initiative bringing people from around the Pacific Rim together to create beautiful parks and to build the relationships that will secure a peaceful future.”

In 1994, Pacific Rim Park (PRP) and Ilan-Lael Foundation (ILF), a non-profit education foundation based on Julian, California, which creates a space to connect people, art, and nature in order to create a more sustainable and harmonious world, under the direction of San Diego artist, James Hubbell, launched a global conversation between San Diego and Pacific Rim nations exploring the transformative power of art and the artistic process. Hubbell’s unique expression of art diplomacy resulted in public art parks built by an international contingent of architecture students in seven Pacific Rim cities including the United States, Russia, China, and Mexico. Through these shared art-making experiences, the diverse people and nations of the Pacific transcended language barriers and cultural differences to explore and celebrate their common humanity.

The parks are designed and built by architecture students under the artistic supervision of leading artists, architects, and urban planners. The students come from the countries of the Pacific Rim. They transcend their language and cultural differences through a shared vision to design and build a park within a time frame of 30 days. After a new park is completed, it is given as a gift to the citizens of the Pacific and to the sponsoring organization or institution in the host city. All the parks are for the public, and are directly connected to the Pacific Ocean. The overall goal is to build parks in all 41 countries and island nations that touch the Pacific. The current seven parks that have been built now serve now as landmarks for their respective cities.

“Jim’s work is all over the place,”’ mentioned Gerdes. “People can find his work not only in the Pacific Rim Parks, they can also find a sculpture in the San Diego Botanic Garden, a fountain in Coronado Ferry Landing, stained-glass windows at National City Library and Ramona Library,” added Gerdes in interview for La Prensa San Diego. Gateway Conversations event is an opportunity to celebrate Hubbell’s unique work as an extraordinary artist.

The first day of events will take place on Friday, April 28, beginning with conversation panels featuring world renowned artist James Hubbell at the Balboa Park Club. Attendees can listen to the keynote speaker, Marcela Celorio Mancera, the Consul General of Mexico in San Diego and tour the International Houses at Balboa Park. The evening will conclude with a sunset reception at “Pearl of the Pacific” Park on Shelter Island featuring cultural performances, presentations, wine and cheese and international food trucks.

The following day – Saturday, April 29 – attendees will have the option to participate in a half-day or full day excursion to Tijuana. The day will consist of a bus tour of Tijuana, a visit to Jardin De Los Niños, Colegio La Esperanza, Entre Corazon y Mar Pacific Rim Park, and lunch at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. After lunch, the half-day excursion attendees back take the bus back to San Diego while the full day excursion attendees will continue to Rancho La Puerta Fitness Resort and Spa.

The final day – Sunday, April 30 – will conclude the event at the Ilan-Lael Foundation headquarters in Santa Ysabel, California, followed by an evening beach party and potluck at the Pearl of the Pacific Pacific Rim Park.

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