For Immediate Release: Lecture by esteemed art historian Jean Stern to precede Second Spring Exhibition Opening Gala on April 5

Escondido, California — :

Jean Stern, the executive director of The Irvine Museum, will give a special visual presentation to help kick off the opening of “Second Spring–Conserving Nature in Life and Art” an exhibition at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido Museum this April.

Running April 5-27, “Second Spring” is being presented by the Art in Nature Alliance to celebrate the tradition of plein-air painting while also highlighting the beauty and history of the San Diego region, particularly the San Dieguito River Valley. The alliance is made up of three local nonprofits: the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy (SDRVC), Plein-Air Painters of America (PAPA) and the California Center for the Arts, Escondido (the Center).

At 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, Stern will lead a talk on “The Art of Looking at Art.” The lecture will take place in the council chambers at Escondido City Hall, adjacent to the Center. This will be followed by an Exhibition Opening Gala and Sale at 6 p.m. in the Center Museum, during which attendees can mix and mingle with “Second Spring” artists and get a first look at the galleries. Tickets for the gala are $100 and include admission to Stern’s talk. For tickets, call (858) 755-6956 or visit RSVPs are due Monday, March 31.

Stern has served as executive director of The Irvine Museum since its inception in 1992. An art historian and recognized authority on California Impressionism, he has extensive experience as an author, curator, lecturer and teacher. He has taught art history at Mesa College, in San Diego, and at San Diego State University. Stern was executive director of Petersen Galleries, in Beverly Hills, from 1979 to 1991. He is the author of numerous books and articles on California art, including monographs on important artists such Franz A. Bischoff, Alson S. Clark, Sam Hyde Harris and Elsie Palmer Payne.

The Irvine Museum is one of several organizations that agreed to loan historic artworks by early 20th century California impressionist painters to complement and enhance the exhibition’s gallery of contemporary works, which were recently created by PAPA artists specifically for “Second Spring.” The nine pieces on loan from The Irvine Museum have been “seldom or rarely seen in San Diego,” according to Keith Colestock, member of the SDRVC Selections Committee.

The purpose of “Second Spring” is to inspire interest and appreciation for nature through the tradition of plein-air painting while also allowing Southern California residents to enjoy and bond with their local landscape through the eyes of three generations of artists — from yesterday (early 20th century historic paintings), today (contemporary works by PAPA members) and tomorrow (plein-air pieces by Escondido high school students). The exhibition will run through Earth Day, resonating with April’s theme of preserving the natural world.

In addition, the show serves as a fundraiser for the conservancy, as 35 percent of the purchase price of the freshly-painted, PAPA-created canvases will be a tax-deductible contribution to the SDRVC. These paintings will first be available for purchase during the ticketed opening gala on April 5.

“Second Spring” will be officially unveiled to the general public on Sunday, April 6. During the exhibition, the museum will be open Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Regular admission is $8.

The Center will host another enlightening and engaging talk midway through the run of the exhibition. Richard Louv, a journalist and author of eight books about the connections between family, nature and community, will discuss “Nature and the Hybrid Mind” at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 13. Tickets to Louv’s lecture are included in admission to the exhibition.

The media is invited to attend and cover the lectures or gala; call or email to be placed on the guest list.

About the Collaborating Organizations (the Art in Nature Alliance)

The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy (SDRVC)

The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy (, established in 1986, is a nonprofit with a membership of about 1,000. Its mission is to preserve, protect and share the natural and cultural resources of the San Dieguito River Valley through collaborative efforts to acquire lands, complete trails, restore habitats, establish educational programs, create interpretive centers, encourage recreation, and mobilize public support. The conservancy works closely with the San Dieguito River Park, established in 1989, in adding to the 60,000 protected acres within the 55-mile-long river valley, and completing its signature Coast to Crest Trail.

The Plein-Air Painters of America (PAPA)

The Plein-Air Painters of America ( is a small group of accomplished professionals who are dedicated to painting on-location. Since organizing in 1986 to exhibit wet-paint artworks in Avalon on Catalina Island, PAPA has put plein-air painting on the national stage, spawning seedlings that have flourished across the country. PAPA members are committed to the historic tradition of working directly from life and to striving to more fully explore and respond to the timeless beauty that surrounds us all. PAPA members exemplify excellence in vision and craftsmanship and actively share that knowledge by exhibiting in the finest museums across the nation.



About the California Center for the Arts, Escondido 

A 501(c)3 charitable organization, the Center’s creation was sparked by a civic vision—one that recognized the vital role that the arts play in strengthening and uniting the community. Our commitment to enriching lives and improving access to the arts, especially for low-income individuals and families, is exemplified through our extensive educational programming and robust series of free community events. The Center is guided by an enthusiastic Board of Trustees and passionate staff who are dedicated to furthering arts education and access, and to creating programs that provide cultural enrichment for residents of North County and beyond.

You can join this inspiring mission by becoming a donor.  Visit or email to start a conversation about how you or your company can make a difference right here and right now in your arts community.


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