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. The program will likely resume in January 2022.

For more information about the Art Program, please contact Vicky DeLong. For a full list of this year’s exhibitions, please click here.

Though the MTRP Visitor Center has reopened, the art exhibitions will likely resume in January 2022.  For updates on the Art Program, sign up to receive the park’s E-mail updates which you can do by clicking here.

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): Helen Shafer Garcia, Ralph Kingery, Lesley Goren, Bill Rainer, and Sue Britt