Art in Old Town

This juried show features the creativity of professional craft designers and fine artists displaying and selling a wonderful mix of quality contemporary crafts as well as fine art. Enjoy craft demonstrations and hands on creativity for the kids and musical entertainment. Save room for some delicious food in one of our many great restaurants!

From fiber to jewelry to gourmet food and home decor, there's something for everyone. Nestled in nostalgic Old Town, the ambiance is second to none.

Come and make a day of it, Saturday is Mexican Independence Day, Fiestas Patrious, in the State Park and Art and crafts throughout the village main street. Sunday is also a great day to stroll and shop in the village streets of creative historic Old Town.



Well known artist Randy Riccibonni has had his gallery in Old Town State historic Park for over 7 years.
For more than 50 years, Santa Ysabel artist James T. Hubbell’s name has been associated with his home designs, parks, gates, windows, mosaics and watercolors. Less known, but no less important to the 81-year-old craftsman, is his passion for sculpture. Hubbell said he’s thinks of himself first as a sculptor, but his other art forms — in particular the whimsical, handcrafted home he shares with his wife, Anne, near Julian — have always gotten most of the attention.

Since establishing a 10-acre compound in North County’s outback in 1958, Hubbell has made it his life’s mission to get people to slow down and pay closer attention to the world around them. His playful, organically inspired designs highlight the connectivity between man and his environment, lines and curves, earth and water, light and shadow. Hubbell’s art practically begs the viewer to stop and explore.

An artist, an icon

Exhibit curator Danielle Susalla Deery calls Hubbell a San Diego icon who has played a vital role in the region’s art community for decades.

“Oftentimes when people think of Hubbell, they recall his organic architecture or his vibrant stained glass, but this exhibition will present a focused look at his diverse range of sculpture, an art form that is the foundation for all his other developments as an artist,” she said.

Educated in the mid-1950s at the Whitney Art School in New Haven, Conn., and later the Cranbrook Art Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Hubbell started out in sculpting and expanded into many other forms, including architecture. He cites among his influences the principles of Frank Lloyd Wright, the expressionistic style of Spanish sculptor Antonio Gaudi (creator of the fantastical Sagrada Familia cathedral and Park Guell in Barcelona), the abstract forms and shapes of African sculpture, and the meditative qualities of Buddhism.

With Drew by his side from the 1960s to the ’80s, Hubbell created an architectural and sculptural fantasyland at the Santa Ysabel compound. Hubbell described the playfully designed buildings at the compound — resembling the Hobbit houses in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films — as “habitable sculptures.” Despite the

compound’s remote location, it has become a magnet over the years for art collectors, photographers andarchitects. On Father’s Day each year, the Hubbells throw open their doors for an open house that draws thousands of visitors who spend hours poring over every lovingly handcrafted detail.

Other days, he likes to spend time alone sculpting.

“I still like to get my hands dirty,” he says. “I’m happy being busy. I think it makes life more interesting.”

Asked to choose his favorite sculpting medium, Hubbell takes a long time to answer.

“That’s like asking me what’s my favorite food,” he said. “First I come up with the idea and then once I have it, I know whether it’s going to be in iron or wood or something else. Every medium has its own gifts to give you.”

pam.kragen@utsandiego.com • (760) 839-3341

But in 2003, the Cedar wildfire swept through and razed four of the eight buildings on the property. Over the next three years, friends and fans raised money to help the Hubbells rebuild. Now expanded to 40 acres, the compound is in the trust of the Hubbells’ nonprofit Ilan-Lael Foundation, an arts education organization devoted to creating a more sustainable, harmonious world. The foundation’s projects include parks, chapels and sculpture gardens.

These days, Hubbell spends three days a week in his studio with a team of ironsmiths and craftsmen, working to keep up with demand for his signature gates, doors and windows.

Celebrating a lifetime of passion - local Artist James Hubbell