Art Exhibitions

at the MTRP Visitor and Interpretive Center

The Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation organizes the art exhibitions on view at the MTRP Visitor and Interpretive Center, presented for the enjoyment of the Center’s more than 80,000 annual visitors. The art exhibitions showcase one artist or groups, and are staged for a period of six weeks. Artworks include wall-hung, two-dimensional, and three-dimensional pieces.

Selected artists have been juried by a panel of working artists and arts educators and the artworks are in a range of media including paint, clay, photography, pastel, fiber, colored pencil, mixed media, and more. For most of the exhibitions, the artists host an opening reception which members of the public are welcome to attend. A portion of artwork sales supports MTRP through the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation.

For more information about the Art Program, please contact Vicky DeLong.

Receive updates on the Art Program and other park information by clicking here.

Getting Into Nature

July 29 – September 8, 2023
Opening Reception: July 30, 2023, 2-4PM

The Getting Into Nature photography exhibition will feature “Four Femme Fotogs” – Patricia Grabski, Mary Beth Klauer, Lacey Leonard and Priscilla Monger – and will be on view in the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center July 29 – September 8, 2023. The public is cordially invited to a reception in honor of the artists on Sunday, July 30, 2023, 2-4PM.

About the Four Femme Fotogs:

Patricia Grabski, Mary Beth Klauer, Lacey Leonard and Priscilla Monger met while attending Grossmont College photography classes where a love of film photography and alternative processes solidified their friendships. A group trip to Cuba in 2013 prompted the official formation of the group, and when they got home, they had their first show together. Since then, they’ve continued to go on trips, attend workshops and lectures, and have shown together for several exhibitions. Their goal is to continue motivating and inspiring each other to create and explore the medium of photography.

For information, please contact or follow @fourfemmefotogs on Instagram.

Patricia Grabski

Patricia’s images are made with a digital camera as well as camera less and without lens. She prints digitally and contact prints using several alternative photographic processes. Her alternative prints are made on photographic paper, art paper, glass, tin, and old linens. Her images demonstrate an interest in combining old and modern photographic materials and processes.

Mary Beth Klauer

Mary Beth is a California based artist who works in alternative and experimental photography. She has a master’s degree and worked as a counselor for many years before retiring and taking up her first love… photography.

Lacey Leonard

Lacey took her first photography class in high school, and it piqued her interest enough to continue taking classes in college. It was there she took a large format class and fell in love with photography. She enjoys using 4X5, 5X7, 4X10, and her newest camera a digital infrared, her first digital camera. Her mediums of choice are silver gelatin and 19th Century processes such as Albumen.

Priscilla Monger

Priscilla is a San Diego photographer who has been photographing since 1990. While working full-time as an accountant, she attended night classes and obtained an associate degree in photography. She attended classes and workshops at San Diego City College, Grossmont College, Palomar College, Mesa College, Miramar College, Museum of Photographic Arts, Medium Photo, and the Photographer’s Eye Gallery.

A Walk Through Nature

June 17 – July 28, 2023
Opening reception: June 18, 2023

This juried exhibition of artworks by members of the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) Artists Guild will be on view at the Visitor Center from June 17 through July 28. The SDMA Artists Guild, established in 1915, is the oldest Support Council of The San Diego Museum of Art. The Guild provides its 140+ members with exposure for their art through its activities and annual exhibitions.

29th Mission Trails Regional Park Photo Contest

May 4 – June 16, 2023
Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony: May 11, 2023

Stunning images featured in the 29th Mission Trails Regional Park Photo Contest reflects the beauty of Mission Trails through each photographer’s unique perspective. Our panel of judges selected 105 images from the six contest categories, and these works will be on view at the MTRP Visitor Center from May 4 through June 16, 2023. The Visitor Center is open daily from 9am-5pm.

Together with Gold

March 25 – May 2, 2023
Opening reception: April 16, 2-4 PM

The Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation will present a fine art exhibition featuring artist couple – Kenda and Peter Francis. Together With Gold will be on view in the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center from March 25 – May 2, 2023. The public is cordially invited to a reception in honor of the artists on Sunday, April 16, 2023, 2-4PM.

About the Artists:

Kenda Francis – Mixed Acrylic Media

Kenda Francis was born and raised in San Diego California and earned a BA from San Diego State University and a master’s degree in painting from California State University, Chico. Kenda also has an associate degree in Zoology and two teaching credentials.

Kenda has worked to perfect her skills and message and has found a way to combine her love for animals, the desire to help them, and create inspiring works. She donates paintings, photographs, earnings, awards, designs and time to several local and international animal welfare foundations.

Peter Francis – Photography

Peter Francis believes that nature photography brings vital, nurturing human experiences closer to the viewer – it vividly shares the irreplaceable harmony Mother Nature has organized in sweet perfection, enjoyed by thousands of ancient ancestors.

Peter is an accomplished professional photographer and practiced photography instructor. Over twenty years of photographing, wildlife and natural spaces have taken him across lands in Western USA, Brazil, Central America, Japan, Europe and beyond. He also specializes in photographing outdoor weddings and portraits. Peter is a manager at historic George’s Camera in North Park and was recently co-owner of Studio C Gallery in El Cajon.

Stone Palette

February 11 – March 24, 2023
Opening Reception: February 19, 2-4 PM

The MTRP Foundation will present an exhibition of paintings by Heather Lillian Morgereth at the Visitor Center from February 11 – March 24. All are invited to the exhibition’s opening reception on Sunday, February 19 from 2-4PM.

About the Artist:

Heather Lillian Morgereth – Oil

Heather Lillian started landscape painting mostly en Plein Air in 2019 after working as a muralist, art teacher, and scientific illustrator for the Smithsonian Institution. She received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. She lives in San Diego with her “sherpa” husband Dave and faithful Aussie, CaliBear. Heather paints to express the poetry of nature, which is like trying to lasso the moon. “The sense of being a spec in this amazing world smacks hard when I’m painting out in nature. Then I breathe as if I’ve never breathed before,” says Heather.

In Nature’s Realm

January 2 – February 10, 2023
Opening Reception: January 15, 2023, 2-4PM

The Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation presents its first exhibition of the year, In Nature’s Realm, featuring various artists: Gloria Moeller, Natasha Papousek, Rhonda Epstein, Sandeep Dhar, and Susan Weinberg-Harter. The works will be on view from January 2 – February 10, 2023. The public is invited to an opening reception to honor the artists on Sunday, January 15, 2-4PM.

About the Artists:

Gloria Moeller – Photography

Gloria’s nature images provide others the opportunity to bring the serenity of nature into their homes and workspaces. Since she was young, Gloria has been refining her photography art through experience in the field and photography craft and editing courses. Her work has been shown at the Del Mar Art Center Gallery, La Jolla Art Association, Spanish Village Art Center, San Diego County Art Mart Association, Art on 30th/Ashton Gallery, International Exhibit at the San Diego County Fair and Coronado Art Association.

Natasha Papousek – Mixed Media

Natasha Monahan Papousek is a collage artist inspired by the flora and fauna from her backyard. Her process is unusual: after choosing a reference photo and creating an underpainting, she collects paper – old maps, sheet music, tourist literature, junk mail, then paints and prints layers of color and patterns on top. Then she rips them up in a sort of mosaic process to form the “brushstrokes” for her paintings. Natasha’s work is a testimony to the enduring power of nature.

Rhonda Epstein – Photography

In today’s fast pace and chaotic world, connecting with nature to balance us out is more important than ever. Rhonda’s art is her expression of her connection and appreciation of nature’s stunning beauty. She worked in several media over the years including photography, gourd art, jewelry creation, and painting. Photography has been a passion that serves both an excuse to get outside and a means to for her to capture the sights and deep feelings that nature provides.

Sandeep Dhar – Photography

It took a chance trip to Costa Rica in 2017 that got Sandeep enamored with birds. Back home, he hung a hummingbird feeder and soon enough there were visitors, brilliant flashes of color and ebullience that were photographed in myriad ways. What followed was an education about and the exploration of the various biomes and biodiversity hotspots of his hometown, San Diego, California. Waking up before sunrise, Sandeep prepares for his photography sessions with knowledge of bird behavior, migratory patterns, weather conditions and the direction and quality of light. At dawn, the potency of the natural realm is captured by his camera, a sense of whole that is at once solemn and serene but also bursts with optimistic energy.

Susan Weinberg-Harter – Watercolor

Susan grew up in England and came to San Diego in 1972. After studying and practicing calligraphy, often receiving commissions for her work, she began incorporating watercolor illustrations in her designs. After retirement from her day job in 2002, she studied and practiced watercolor painting more seriously, attending classes and workshops. Over the years, Susan has shown her works in galleries around San Diego and has won many awards at the San Diego Watercolor Society and the annual Small Image Show in Spanish Village Art Center, Balboa Park. Her love for nature is depicted in her paintings of landscapes, seascapes, and birds.

California: Between Sea and Sky

December 3 – 30, 2022
Opening Reception: December 4, 2022, 2-4PM

The Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation presents its last exhibition of the year, California: Between Sea and Sky. The artists include Kenda Francis, Laura Lehman, Ellen Parry, and Julianne Ricksecker. The works will be on view from December 3 – 30, 2022.

About the Artists:

Kenda Francis- Acrylic

In May of 2020, Kenda and a friend decided to go to Crest Ecological Reserve to paint outside. The first painting “Crest Ecological Grove, 2020” is part of this exhibition, the catalyst that marked the beginning of this series. Kenda uses acrylics because of their fast-drying times and has used this technique in many places in California and the forests of Sedona, the beaches of Cambria and among the Saguaros in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

MA – Painting Cal State University, Chico; BA – SDSU; AA Zoology – College of the Redwoods, Eureka

Laura Lehman – Mixed Media

Reality offers a variety of challenges and distractions. Within the art dimension the artist can escape the obstacles to dreams and make the imagined into visual reality to be shared with the viewer.

Ellen Parry – Oil

Ellen Parry enjoys landscape painting, whether done en plein air, on site, or in the studio. The backcountry, desert, and ranchlands of southern California provide her inspiration. These regions offer many unspoiled views reminiscent of Southern California in the 1920’s and 30’s. In her paintings, she celebrates the peace and beauty found in nature. While many visitors to California only visit the large cities and the beaches of the coastal strip, Ellen prefers the quiet rural countryside and the drama of the Anza Borrego desert.

Ellen graduated from San Diego State University and earned her MA after working in the private sector as a Graphic Designer. After 25 years as a Visual Arts teacher, she draws from skills acquired in both fields.

Julianne Ricksecker – Pastel, Etching, Monotype

Ricksecker has exhibited her landscape and floral pastels, watercolors, and original prints in more than 200 exhibitions around the world. She has won numerous awards, including the René Carcan International Prize for Printmaking Public Prize award in Brussels, Belgium, and Second Place award at the 8th International Miniature Print Exhibition in Norwalk, Connecticut. Her work has recently been included in exhibits at the Oceanside Museum of Art, and in Douro, Portugal, Cadaqués, Spain, Cantabria, Spain, Suffolk, England, Bages, France and at several San Diego and North County venues.

Birds of Southern California

October 22 – December 2
Opening Reception: October 23, 2022, 2-4PM

The Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation presents a solo photography exhibition, Birds of Southern California, by Blake Shaw. The works will be on view from October 22 – December 2, 2022, and the public is invited to the exhibition’s opening reception on Sunday, October 23, 2022, from 2-4pm.

About the Artist:

Blake Shaw is a physician, photographer, and native San Diegan. His photography has appeared in Birdwatcher’s Digest, Living Bird Magazine, and the Audubon Society website and iPhone app. His photo, Eleven Turkey Vultures, received an honorable mention in the 2016 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. He travels each year to a different part of Mexico to photograph Day of the Dead and shares a new photo almost every day at his blog, Shaw views bird photography as a chance to experience nature more fully, explaining: “I try to spend more time observing individual birds, thus being able to capture interesting and natural behavior.”

Second Nature

September 10 – October 21
Opening Reception: September 18, 2022

The Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation presents Second Nature from September 10 – October 21. This exhibition will feature seven local artists–Joanna Collier, Otto Kruse, Deirdre Lee, Dana Levine, Roz Oserin, Philip Petrie, and Meera Ramanathan– working a range of media. The public is invited to a reception in honor of the artists on Sunday, September 18, 2022, from 2–4PM. The artworks featured in the exhibition will be available for sale with a percentage of the purchase benefiting the park through the MTRP Foundation.

About the Artists:

Joanna Collier – Oil Pastels

Joanna Collier lives in San Diego and works throughout Southern California. She has studied art since childhood and has garnered awards for both her drawings and paintings. Her plein air oil pastels are done quickly in a single session, creating a more intimate connection between the viewer and the subject. Working on black paper showcases the luminosity, warmth, and depth of color that oil pastels can convey. “Creating artwork is my favorite form of meditation because it allows me to release conscious thought and fully experience the present,” Collier says.

Otto Kruse – Photography

Otto Kruse is a native San Diegan, an engineer by trade, and discovered photography was a perfect medium for him to create art. Kruse regularly travels and explores, and through the camera he became a more patient observer. For him, time slows down when he picks up the camera, and his photographs provide a vehicle to share his experiences with others. Photography allows Kruse to connect with people and tell their stories in a way that is authentic. He is an avid learner and photography has provided endless opportunities for intellectual growth.

Deirdre Lee – Ceramic Tiles

Bold, vibrant color and a strong graphic style blend in Lee’s distinctive collection of hand-glazed tiles. Her love of animals, nature, and color inspires her designs. Her work has included many tile commissions that bring joy to her clients’ lives. “I enjoy the vitality that my work brings to an environment and how it makes people happy,” Lee says. Her artistic training includes receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from University of California, Berkeley, and an Art Education teaching credential from San Diego State University. Over her career she has worked with many art mediums including printmaking, clay sculpture, painting, and for years was an art director/graphic designer. Her sculpture “Buddha Calming the Sea” was included in the “Urban Trees Two” exhibition installed along San Diego’s Embarcadero.

Dana Levine – Photography

When Dana Levine retired as a Biochemist and science educator, she resumed her interest in painting and photography. She creates impressionistic, atmospheric images. Her aim is to express the richness of nature and the human form by infusing light and mystery into the work, creating beauty from things we may never notice. She says, “My favorite subjects are people with a twinkle in their eye.” Levine is a nationally recognized artist who has won numerous awards for her paintings and photographs. She belongs to several art organizations in San Diego, and lectures on art and science at UC San Diego.

Roz Oserin – Mixed Media

Roz Oserin took up art in 2007, originally training under Jack Jordan, a well-known artist and retired art teacher. Oserin works with acrylic, oil, mixed media, and watercolor, feeling that sometimes the subject matter dictates the medium or the feeling she is trying to convey. She’s a member of the San Diego Watercolor Society (SDWS) and has received awards for her paintings in juried shows with the East County Art Association, SDWS, San Diego County Fair, and Foothills Art Association. Many of her works are in private collections around the country and in Europe.

Philip Petrie – Oil Paintings

Philip Petrie is a painter working in oils on canvas. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and drawing at the University of Rhode Island and his Master of Fine Arts at Ohio University. He has lived and exhibited in New York, Chicago, and San Diego, where he lives with his wife and daughter. Petrie’s process is automatic—each painting evolves as it goes along often taking a radical change in direction. Landscape is at the heart of his endeavor, but it is an imagined landscape which draws equally from visual perception and his imagination. He is especially pleased to be exhibiting at Mission Trails because the park is a major source for his work.

Meera Ramanathan – Paper Collage

Meera Ramanathan is a paper collage artist. Her works deal with subjects which are often considered ordinary; things that we look at every day and take for granted. Her aim is to raise these items to a higher level as she believes that there is so much beauty and uniqueness in them. She thinks of her paper collages as an ode to the normal and typical and strives to elevate these objects. Ramanathan exaggerates the color and light to create drama in her works and uses pieces of paper to create bold chunks of color. Hand embroidery and sewing have been a huge part of her life and she looks for opportunities when she can incorporate thread into her works to create areas of interest.

NATURE! Embraced and Reimagined

July 30 – September 9
Opening Reception: July 31, 2022

The Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation will present its next art exhibition, NATURE! Embraced and Reimagined, at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center from July 30 – September 9, 2022. This exhibit will feature two local artists, Jessica Ballenger and Vivian Fung. The public is encouraged to attend a reception in honor of the artists on Sunday, July 31, 2022, from 2– 4p.m.

About the Artists:

Jessica Ballenger – Mixed Media

Jessica Ballenger’s most recent body of work centers around nature’s inspirational and subliminal impact on the imagination. The images were created by transforming photographs taken on walks around San Diego parks into surreal and brightly-hued kaleidoscopic patterns. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts wallpaper prints of William Morris, 1960’s psychedelic posters, and quilting, the works are printed on wood, fabric, and paper to create a shift from the natural world to the digital image before, once again, becoming a new, concrete object. In this way, flora and fauna are estranged from their quotidian realm and reimagined in a new dreamlike reality.

Jessica Ballenger’s work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in California and Belgium. She received a B.A. in Visual Arts from UCSD. She lives and works in El Cajon, California.

Vivian Fung – Photography

Vivian Fung is a Harvard-trained biochemist with one formal semester of painting to her credit. The sole class imbued indelible lessons of color and light. “I am fascinated by the interplay of nature – everything from majestic landscapes to magnificent birds – and the illuminating paintbrushes of light.” Beauty in a Different Light is her guiding principle, and NATURE is EMBRACED through the loving arms of her FUNGtography. Her work has appeared in global travel magazines and local print media and can be found in corporate installations and private collections. NATURE! Embraced and Reimagined is FUNGtography’s second exhibition in San Diego.

Layers of Nature

June 18 – July 29
Opening Reception: June 19, 2022

The Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation is pleased to present a solo Fine Art Exhibition featuring acrylic artist, Sneha Craig. Layers of Nature will be on display in the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center from June 18 – July 29, 2022.

About the Artist: Sneha Craig — Acrylic

With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art from San Jose State University, California native Sneha Craig creates abstract acrylic paintings influenced by San Diego’s diverse natural spaces. Layers of Nature expands the traditional landscape to include root systems, wood grain, geometric shapes, and plant textures, offering an opportunity to contemplate our environment and grow our connection to nature.

Amateur Photo Show

May 7 – June 17
Opening Reception: May 12, 2022

After a two-year suspension due to the pandemic, we’re pleased to stage the 28th MTRP Photo Contest and proud to share the unique perspectives of the MTRP community. Judges chose 120 of their favorites from the eight categories to be displayed in the Visitor Center from May 7 – June 17, 2022.

Dames Hit the Trails

March 26 – May 6, 2022
Opening Reception: March 27, 2022

The Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation (MTRP) will showcase four artists in the upcoming Dames Hit the Trails exhibition: Darlene Katz, Eileen Mandell, Julianne Ricksecker, and Noreen Ring. The exhibition will present work across mediums, including oils, photography, printmaking, and fiber arts. The public is invited to join the artists at the exhibition’s opening reception on Sunday, March 27, 2-4PM at the MTRP Visitor Center. The artworks are available for sale with a portion of the sale benefiting Mission Trails Regional Park.

About the Artists

Darlene Katz – Oils

Darlene’s work is found in California galleries, national juried shows, and international private and corporate collections. She enjoys capturing special moments of our lives. Her oil paintings (painted on wood) are bold, yet technically proficient, no matter what the subject.

Eileen Mandell – Photography

From childhood, Eileen had been fascinated with stars and constellations first seen at the New York Planetarium, then summer nights in upstate New York. With the advent of digital cameras, her childhood fascination with the night sky led her outside at night, photographing beautiful night landscapes combined with stars, planets, and the Milky Way.

In this exhibit, Eileen integrates both of her photographic passions— the love of capturing infrared light in landscapes in the heat of the day and capturing the amazing night Astro landscapes showing the beauty of night skies in dark sky communities.

Julianne Ricksecker – Printmaking

Ricksecker has exhibited her landscape and floral pastels, watercolors, and original prints in more than 200 exhibitions around the world. She has won numerous awards, including the René Carcan International Prize for Printmaking Public Prize award in Brussels, Belgium, and Second Place award at the 8th International Miniature Print Exhibition in Norwalk, Connecticut. Her work has recently been included in exhibits in Douro, Portugal, Cadaqués, Spain, Cantabria, Spain, Suffolk, England, Bages, France, and at several San Diego and North County venues.

Noreen Ring – Fiber Arts

Noreen Ring is an award-winning fiber artist who designs whimsical and other-worldly collages using commercially dyed, hand-dyed, and printed 100% cotton textiles. Ring’s art quilts are all hand-stitched using a variety of threads. Each piece is embellished with beads, crystals, and yarn and framed behind glass or plexi. Her artwork is displayed in fine art galleries in Southern California and in private collections throughout the United States.

The MTRP Visitor and Interpretive Center is located at One Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego, CA 92119, and it is open daily from 9AM-5PM. Admission is free. The MTRP Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting, and enhancing the 8,000-acre City of San Diego open space park. The Art Program is coordinated by Vicky DeLong.

A Natural Connection

February 12 – March 25, 2022
Opening Reception: February 20, 2022

The Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation (MTRP) is proud to present A Natural Connection, an art exhibition featuring two award-winning artists, Kathryn Gail Ackley and Vanessa Rusczyk. Paintings by the artists will be on view at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor and Interpretive Center from February 12 – March 25, 2022.

About the Artists

Kathryn Gail Ackley (Acrylic Painting):

Ms. Ackley works almost exclusively in acrylics, on paper, and on canvas. Her paintings contain elements of watercolor technique with soft skies, opportunities for the paint to speak for itself. She is especially fascinated by the shapes and shadows of trees as they meet the sky, the line of the earth at the horizon, and the movement of water across the land. Her current work represents depictions of nature as grand design, the universal themes seen in family portraits, and the awkward elegance of birds found along our coastal waters.

Vanessa Rusczyk (Oil Painting)

Vanessa Rusczyk’s award-winning paintings of native flora and natural landscapes give viewers a close look at plant structure and natural design, immersing them in that small world on a large scale. Her paintings are inspired by hikes around the West and the native species she grows in her garden. She lives in North San Diego County, surrounded by wild chaparral hillsides that define much of Southern California. She is a Signature Member of American Women Artists.

Nature’s Abundance

January 2 – February 11, 2022
Opening Reception: Sunday, January 2, 2-4PM

The Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Foundation is pleased to present its first exhibition of works by local artists at the MTRP Visitor and Interpretive Center in nearly two years. Nature’s Abundance will highlight five award-winning artists: Ray Khalife, Wendy Kwasny, Ken Roberts, Amy Schindler, and Tara Sood. The featured artworks will be available for sale with a percentage of the purchases benefiting the park through the MTRP Foundation.

The public is invited to a reception to honor the artists and celebrate the exhibit on Sunday, January 2, 2022, from 2-4PM. Please note that face coverings are required in the Visitor Center, regardless of vaccination status. Face masks are available upon request.

About the Artists

Ray Khalife (acrylic and mixed media)

Ray Khalife has been making art for over 40 years and has an extensive portfolio of over 1,000 pieces. He sees art all around him, in life’s most extraordinary moments and in the mundane. Every walk in nature, car ride, or television commercial sparks something in him. Ray is on an eternal quest to capture the often-overlooked beauty of daily life in San Diego through art. “Since moving to California, I have found new inspiration all around me. This exhibit showcases my fresh perspective,” says Ray. His artwork has been on display around the globe at galleries, museums, and embassies.

Wendy Kwasny (acrylic and oil paintings)

Wendy Kwasny is an award-winning fine artist in San Diego who specializes in oil and acrylic portraiture, still life, and landscapes. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art from San Diego State University, and regularly shows her art at The Ashton Gallery in San Diego. She is currently working out of Art on 30th and her home studio. Wendy has shown her work in venues all over San Diego in the past 25 years and has completed numerous commissioned pieces. Painting, and the creative process, is part of Wendy’s world view, in her interactions with people and ingrained in her everyday life. She brings that into her work with each brush stroke and careful color consideration, always trying to capture that certain unique something about someone to tell their story.

Ken Roberts (oil paintings)

Ken Robert’s landscape plein-air paintings have been shown in multiple juried exhibitions over the past 30 years. He is a member of the California Art Club and paints on location at Lake Murray, Mission Trails, local beaches, San Diego’s back country, and has recently been painting the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. “Capturing the light and atmosphere of Southern California is the challenge and joy I get out of painting.” Ken is mostly a self-taught artist with some private lessons and instruction from San Diego City College. He has shown in several San Diego art galleries, including 15 years with the Santa Ysabel Gallery.

Amy Schindler (ceramic with semi-precious stones)

When life inspires Amy Schindler, creative thoughts and ideas spring up inside her. She turns her ideas into unique forms of art and her visions of nature into objects of beauty.

Amy developed curriculum and taught a toddler art class at The New Children’s Museum during the 1990s. For 15 years after that, she was the Mingei International Museum Collector’s Gallery (Museum Store) Manager and its exclusive buyer. Since leaving the Mingei, Amy has been creating handmade ceramic art enhanced with minerals, stones, and crystals. She hides one pearl (her birthstone) in each of her pieces which symbolizes Love. Amy also volunteers at Mission Trails Regional Park.

Tara Sood (oil paintings)

Tara Sood will display her unique view of MTRP through oil paintings; the art reveals the hidden gem of Mission Trails buried deep in San Diego County. Tara’s landscape paintings interpret the many vistas viewed as one hikes through the trails of the park. She paints regularly en plein air and in the studio and holds an MFA in Painting from the Academy of Art University. She shows her art regularly locally, nationally, and internationally. “I seek the balance between expression and fine lines of reality in my paintings,” shared Tara.

The MTRP Visitor and Interpretive Center is located at One Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego, CA 92119, and it is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Admission is free.

Chaparral Dreams

February 17 – March 27, 2020
Opening Reception: Sunday, February 23, 2-4PM

On view at the MTRP Visitor Center from February 17 through March 27, Chaparral Dreams was conceived to reflect the relationship between humans and the natural world. Weaver Kathleen Cook and painter Jim Nix use their distinctive mediums to draw the eye to hidden details in the environment and our place within it.

Painter Jim Nix has always found painting his landscapes both challenging and rewarding; and he continues studying different artistic methods as his work continues to evolve. He continually searches for new inspiration and finds that most inspiration comes from the people who enjoy his work.

Nix is a juried artist at Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park, and his work has been included in many exhibitions in the San Diego region. He previously owned his own art gallery in the Park City, Utah area, and he currently shows his work at the Emerald C Gallery in Coronado. His oil paintings in this exhibition all include beautiful landscapes of Mission Trails, including sweeping views of the grasslands and nearby peaks.

Kathleen Cook describes her work as “… a celebration, woven in honor of the natural beauty which surrounds us, expressing the intricate balance of life and the interconnection we all have with each other and with our environment.”

In her hung weavings, Cook adds local native plants in with the yarns, also including fabric, beads, and other materials, as design, intuition, and whimsy dictate.

A weaver for more than 20 years, Kathleen Cook’s artwork is infused with a life-long love and personal study of art, with inspiration drawn from annual weaving workshops with renowned artisans. She shows her work locally, including at 2Create Gallery in Ramona, the Borrego Art Institute, and the Annual West Coast Fiber Arts Show at Escondido Arts Partnership Community Gallery.

Chaparral Dreams is on view in the Visitor Center Art Gallery from February 17 through March 27, 2020. Pictured are weavings by Kathleen Cook and paintings by Jim Nix.

The MTRP Visitor Center is open daily from 9AM-5PM and admission is free.

Isn’t it Amazing

January 4 – February 14, 2020

Isn’t It Amazing showcases the natural beauty of the environment and is a call to appreciate the wonder and discovery of the many habitats that the artists bring to life. Enjoy and purchase works by award-winning artists Pat Dispenziere, Elaine Harvey, Otto Kruse, Victoria Alexander Marquez and Jami Wright, who translate their vision through the use of watercolor, mixed media and photography.

Artist Elaine Harvey described her process, “The sights around me and the images and thoughts in my head guide my hand as I apply the paint, and the flowing paint evokes new images, relationships and truths which become a part of the art. Each painting is a combination of past experience and present discovery.”

Isn’t It Amazing is on view at the MTRP Visitor Center Art Gallery through February 14, 2020. Pictured are works by Elaine Harvey, Victoria Alexander Marquez, and Otto Kruse.

The MTRP Visitor Center is open daily from 9AM-5PM and admission is free.






Art for the Park Benefit Exhibition

Art for the Park: December 7 - January 3. Sales benefit Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation.December 7, 2019 through January 3, 2020
Opening reception: Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019 from 2-4PM

The Mission Trails Visitor Center Art Gallery will feature a selection of park favorites during the Art for the Park exhibition and art sale from December 7, 2019 – January 3, 2020.

Participating artists will donate a portion of the proceeds to benefit the park during one of the year’s biggest fundraisers. Art for the Park will showcase works by nine artists at the MTRP Visitor Center in a variety of mediums from acrylics, pastels, and watercolors to photography and printmaking.

Each month, this gallery in the heart of Mission Trails displays artworks that remind the public of how nature can feed the imagination and connect people to their creativity.

The opening reception for Art for the Park on December 8 from 2-4PM is the ideal way to purchase unique works by local artists while also giving back to the park.

Artists in the exhibition: Kathyrn Gail Ackley, Kenda Francis, Margaret Larlham, Julianne Ricksecker, Vanessa Ruscyzk, Blake Shaw, Denise Strahm, Gerry Tietje, Susan Weinberg-Harter

The MTRP Visitor Center is open daily from 9AM-5PM and admission is free, but closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.


Connecting Sea and Sky

October 26 – December 6, 2019

The Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation (MTRP) is pleased to present a fine art exhibition featuring award winning artists Kenda Francis, Laura Lehman, Ellen Parry, and Julianne Ricksecker. This exhibit will be on display in the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center Art Gallery from October 26 through December 6, 2019. The public is invited to the opening reception on Sunday, November 3 from 2-4PM.

Connecting Sea and Sky is a call for conserving nature and for recognizing the relationships between all living things. Four featured artists see themselves as not only explorers of earth, but also as travelers in thought. Artists Ellen Parry and Julianne Ricksecker express the lively colors and textures of our local natural habitat while Laura Lehman creates dreamy watercolor renditions of flowers and vegetation that exist in nature and the mind.

Artist Kenda Francis described her process: “I show that animals are displaced by painting and drawing them in urban, graffiti filled environments. I spray paint with multi-layered, hand cut stencils over brush strokes, paint drips, pen and pencil marks to reflect them living in human altered landscapes. I hope viewers see and feel that animals are struggling, that they need our compassion, and that we cannot continue on our path of waste and apathy. These unique creatures are the secret to a balanced system and to our own well-being and are worth preserving and taking actions to save.”

Artists: Kenda Francis, Laura Lehman, Ellen Parry, Julianne Ricksecker

The MTRP Visitor Center is open daily from 9AM-5PM and admission is free.


Art Telling: It All Begins with a Word

September 13 – October 25, 2019

On view at the Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Visitor and Interpretive Center September 13 through October 25, 2019 is an exhibition featuring eight award-winning San Diego artists. Art Telling includes works in mediums as diverse as paper, copper enamel, clay, paint, color pencil, and polymer clay. The artists express words like “Calm,” “Sanctuary,” or “Bountiful” in dialogue with each other through their various practices.

According to the artist collective, “Art Telling started with three goals in mind: The first was to use language, a single word, to inspire us to dig deeper into our work and find new meaning within our own practices. The second goal was to share this individual process with each other. In doing so, we had to find language to describe what is often an indescribable process filled with intuition, past learning, mistakes, and failure. In trying to put into words what we do, we better understand what pushes us, what frustrates us, what drives us to our chosen goals. The third goal was to tell the story of art making and share it with the public and allow viewers to connect to it in new ways.” Most of the featured artists have a studio in the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park and are members of the “Art Telling” group there. They share ideas, inspiration and narratives through their various mediums and practices. Art Telling combines each of their stories into a visual experience that connects words, color, form, and materials into a universal narrative.

Artists: Pat Aiken, Joan Boyer, Sue Britt, Lynn Daniel, Vicky DeLong, Deb Gargula, Ellie Hitchcock, Gail Woods.

The MTRP Visitor Center is open daily from 9AM-5PM and admission is free.


Au Naturel: Nature’s Art on view

August 3 – September 13, 2019
Opening Reception: Sunday, August 4, 2 – 4PM

On view at the Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Visitor and Interpretive Center August 3 through September 13, 2019 is an exhibition featuring 25 artists from the San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild. Au Naturel: Nature’s Art showcases paintings, drawings, photographs, and prints in a variety of styles and mediums selected by Emma Bloom, Programs Manager at the San Diego Natural History Museum, to exemplify the wonder found in the plant and animal life all around us.

The Artists Guild is an organization linking the San Diego Museum of Art to the artist community of San Diego County. It works to enhance awareness and appreciation of local artists by bringing their original art to the attention of patrons for display and purchase. This membership-based artist collective was founded over 100 years ago, celebrating its centennial in 2015 with an exhibit at the Oceanside Museum of Art. With new members joining each year, the Guild remains a vital part of San Diego’s art future and past; previous members included some of the region’s most notable artists like Belle Baranceanu and Olaf Wieghorst.

Artists: Jody Abssy, Susan Ashley, Warren Bakley, Jo Caldwell, Gloria Chadwick, Christopher Conroe, Jackie Farkas, Sue Gold, Doria Goocher, Elaine Harvey, Sandra Hayen, Alan Haynes, Sunny Hilliker, Margaret Larlham, Janet Lehmann, Skipp McCunney, John Oleinik, Cher Pendarvis, Arun Prem, Julianne Ricksecker, Sherry Roper, Bonnie Roth, Vita Sorrentino, John Straub, and Minnie Valero.

The Visitor Center is open daily from 9AM-5PM and admission is free.

Lesley Goren: California Tapestry

June 22 – August 3, 2019
Opening Reception: Sunday, June 23, 2 – 4PM

On view at the Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Visitor and Interpretive Center June 22 through August 3, 2019 is an exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist and illustrator Lesley Goren, whose lively and colorful images of plants and flowers are a self-described “love note” to the native vegetation of Southern California. The works in California Tapestry include cheerful drawings of Scarlet Monkey Flowers (Mimulus cardinales), Shooting Stars (Primula clevelandii), and Yellow Mariposa Lilies (Calochortus luteus) that serve as beautiful reminders of the importance of nature and place.

To commemorate her exhibition at the MTRP Visitor Center, Lesley Goren has created two new custom greeting card designs for Mission Trails Regional Park to be sold in the Visitor Center’s Gift Shop beginning in late June. The designs highlight the leaves and flowers of Mission Trails. Artwork featured in the exhibition will be available for sale, and a portion of the funds will support the park through the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation. This reception is complementary and no reservations are required.

The MTRP Visitor and Interpretive Center open daily from 9AM-5PM and admission is free.

2019 Exhibitions

  • Natural Instincts
  • January 5 – February 15, 2019
  • Otto Kruse
  • Weinberg-Harter
  • Joey Edwards
  • Thia Nevius
  • Bill Rainer
  • Caroline Morse
  • Chris Waters
  • Gerry Tietje: Nature in Focus
  • February 16 – March 29
  • Natural Impressions
  • March 30 – May 10
  • Tom Franco
  • Margaret Larlham
  • Ralph Kingery
  • Catie Somers
  • 27th Annual MTRP Amateur Photo Contest
  • May 11 – June 21
  • Lesley Goren: California Tapestry
  • June 22 – August 2
  • San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild
  • August 3 – September 13
  • Art Telling – It All Begins With a Word
  • September 14 – October 25
  • Ellie Hitchcock
  • Gail Woods
  • Sue Britt
  • Lynn Daniel
  • Pat Aiken
  • Joan Boyer
  • Deb Gargula
  • Vicky DeLong
  • Group Exhibition
  • October 26 – December 6
  • Julianne Ricksecker
  • Kenda Francis
  • Ellen Parry
  • Laura Lehman
  • Student Exhibition
  • December 7, 2019 – January 3, 2020


Artists represented above (left-right): Ray Khalife, Eileen Mandell, Wendy Kwasny, Ken Roberts, Vanessa Rusczyk, and Kathryn Gail Ackley.