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California Center for the Arts Museum

340 North Escondido Boulevard
Escondido, California

Phone: (760) 839-4120  

Statement of Purpose:

20th century painting, sculpture, photography, installation, folk and decorative arts, and community education and outreach.

Highlights & Collections:


Exhibitions October 28, 2007January 27, 2008


Rituality defines the relationship between reality and ritual. The rituals we perform construct our perceptions of the world by organizing social, religious, and political philosophies. This exhibition examines the role of ritual in the exploration of identity, the creation of community and the construction of power, as mediated and expressed through art. Rituality features contemporary works from San Diego-based artists alongside more traditional art forms from Africa, Native North America and the Pacific Islands.

Niki de Saint Phalle: A Spiritual Path

This exhibition of work, brought together for the first time in Southern California, will offer visitors the opportunity to take a closer look at Niki de Saint Phalle's spiritual journey and her inspired interpretation of the traditional Tarot cards.  For de Saint Phalle it was a long journey of self-search and a great deal of introspection out of the rebellious and almost blasphemous attitude she once possessed fighting against the religious dogmas she was taught during her upbringing. In later years she would move on to explore and embrace all the different spiritual manifestations in human culture including a "Church of All Religions". The creation of the Tarot Garden, a sculpture park in Tuscany, Italy, helped in her transformation. "Is the tarot pack only a game of cards or is there a philosophy behind it?"  de Saint Phalle once wrote about her fascination with the mysticism of the Tarot, "I am convinced that these cards contain an important message."  Her multi-faceted spiritual path will be displayed in sculpture and print, from grinning skulls and dancing angels to colorful representations of the Great Arcana, the twenty-two major cards of the Western tarot.

La Lotería: An Exploration of México

This exhibition consists of 54 small, individual paintings by artist Teresa Villegas.  The paintings celebrate the Mexican culture by using the format of La Loteria, a popular Mexican game of chance. The artwork draws upon Mexican traditions, historical figures, food, and popular culture, translating them into images recognizable to those who have experienced the distinctive culture of Mexico.  Villegas’s exhibition explores some of the ubiquitous images of the game, such as La Sirena (The Mermaid) and La Luna (The Moon).  Such cultural institutions are integral in the U. S., given the growing number of immigrants from Mexico who now reside here. The purpose of this installation is to inspire understanding and dialog between the people of the U.S. and Mexico.  Entirely bilingual, many of the images depict humor, irony, and faith found throughout Mexico. In addition to a game of chance, La Loteria is used to teach reading, writing, history, and social values.  The majority of the works in this exhibition will be familiar to anyone who has spent any time in Mexico .  Each piece in the series was created independently, and many reference national identity, faith, and gender issues.

The Poetics of Myth

Through a series of bas-relief terra-cotta panels, San Diego artist Brad Burkhart has created a body of work focused on the creation of modern myths and archetypes.    Bas-relief is a method of sculpting images on wall panels much like a painter would put paint on canvas.  However, relief images are partially 3-dimensional, extending 2-3 inches out from each panel’s surface. 


Burkhart’s work was originally inspired by Lorenzo Ghiberti's (1378-1455) famous The Gates of Paradise, a set of bronze relief panels on the doors of the Baptistery fronting the main cathedral (Duomo) in Florence , Italy , depicting well known scenes from Bible stories.  Burkhart, who first saw the doors when he was a student in Italy , notes, Like these doors, my panels are aimed at inspiration for the integration of the human spirit; yet, unlike the more traditionally religious imagery of the doors, the imagery of my panels draws from a wider range of mythical sources. The stories on my panels seem to have a familiar literal quality, yet on closer examination they are familiar more as symbol and literal only in an imaginative sense.

Upcoming Events:

“Art & Intrigue” October 27, 2007 6:00pm – 8:00pm
A special preview of Rituality; Niki de Saint Phalle: A Spiritual Path; La Lotería: An Exploration of México; and The Poetics of Myth.
Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a West African drum & dance performance by Ho-Asogli, and free Tarot Card readings. 
$10 per person for non-members, free to Center Members.
Purchase a Center membership at the event and receive free admission.
All proceeds support future exhibitions at the
Center Museum.
Please RSVP to 760.839.4120

“Gallery Talk” November 7, 2007 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Led by the curators of Rituality
For more information about the
Center Museum’s Gallery Talks please call 760-839-4120

“Gallery Talk” November 10, 2007, 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Dave Stevenson, Trustee of the Niki Charitable Art Foundation, Niki de Saint Phalle: A Spiritual Path
For more information about the
Center Museum’s Gallery Talks please call 760-839-4120

“As the Story Goes: Constructing Power” November 11, 2007 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Explore rituals from around the world through storytelling and art activities. Free to the public

“A Taste for the Arts” November 16, 2007 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Join the fun! Play the traditional Mexican card game, La Loter
ía and win prizes. Refreshments provided by Stone Brewing Co.
A Taste for the Arts combines Museum exhibitions with culinary delights, drinks, demonstrations, and interactive activities, creating a unique social setting. Open to the public. $5 per person. To RSVP for A Taste for the Arts, please call 760-839-4120

“Gallery Talk” November 17, 2007 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Led by the curators of Rituality
For more information about the
Center Museum’s Gallery Talks please call 760-839-4120

“Gallery Talk” December 8, 2007 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Brad Burkhart, Artist, The Poetics of Myth
For more information about the
Center Museum’s Gallery Talks please call 760-839-4120

“As the Story Goes: Exploring Identity” December 9, 2007 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Explore rituals from around the world through storytelling and art activities. Free to the public


Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 4pm
Sunday: 12pm – 4pm
Closed Mondays


Admission & Directions

General Admission: $5
Senior Citizens: $4
Military: $4
College Students/Youth: $3
Youth 12 and under: free
Center Members: free

From Interstate 15 in Escondido, exit at Valley Parkway and go east toEscondido Blvd. Turn left, and The Museum will be two blocks down on the right on the campus of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. Free parking.



Key Personnel:

Mary-Catherine Ferguson, Director

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