Thursday, April 11, 2024

A Village + Art (and Music, Shopping, Wine & More) Brings Community All Together at Second Art & Wine Festival

Jean Pierre Marques Fine Art

We embrace and often search for those aha moments in time where we can see our hard work playing out, ensuring our youth receive as many opportunities as possible growing up. Opportunities that we as adults can provide in order for them to tap into their passions, dreams, and spread their wings to soar. Encountering those stories which share the impact community camaraderie can have on our kids is not always such a diamond in the rough. If we ask the questions. Kids are eager to tell us their stories and how we help them, if we ask and listen.

We used to separate the left and right brain modes of learning in education, with a stronger focus on the left-brained learners. Which is analytical, based in reality, linear and logical, sequential and symbolic, objective and verbal. Versus right-brained learners which involves more holistic processors, intuitive in nature, subjective and non-verbal, random and visual.  But we have learned through case studies, that this ‘neuromyth and self-efficacy’ could be negatively impacting overall learning. Educators today, according to institutions such as John Hopkins, encourage “brain-based learning” to excel learning potential. Studies are constant, but to put it into context, the left brain is emphasized in language, but the right brain mode helps you grasp context and tone. Your abilities in a language will be accelerated if you learn using both hemispheres. Today more than ever we are understanding what ‘the arts’ means for youth development.

The second annual Coronado Art & Wine Festival was held Saturday May 13th, taking over three Coronado city blocks, a footprint that fit so naturally, it felt as if it was the 10th annual. Last year, the inaugural event was only one block due to permit timing. But this year, the full vision of the event curated by — Coronado Schools Foundation (CSF) President Michelle Gilmore — came to fruition ten-fold. Not only did the festival knock it out of the park, in collaboration with Coronado Chamber of Commerce, but hands down, I can honestly say it is one of the most inspiring events in our community with heart, soul, art, music, & more ….

Map made for 2023 Coronado Art & Wine Festival by Weiman Design Group.

As Michelle’s son Tyler Gilmore and the Chamber’s June Crawford went on stage to perform, Tyler opened with a wonderful tribute to his mom and CSF. You couldn’t help but get teary-eyed. This community enriched, full-circle event, with artists, vendors, parents, volunteers (including Safe Harbor Coronado – kids section, Junior Woman’s Club, Coronado Optimist Club, Coronado Cultural Arts Commission, Coronado Community Foundation, and US Navy), visitors, and local community businesses and members (see list full here:, we saw first-hand how what we do really is ‘for the kids!’

Tyler Gilmore and June Crawford

As I arrived, Coronado School’s Foundation’s student representative Macarena Borbon was stage-managing and MC’ing an amazing line-up of local youth performers. And she did it with as much joy and enthusiasm as she does as the CHS Senior Class Vice President and when she attends CSF board meetings. As I walked to the volunteer tent, Rena Clancy, the Executive Director of the Coronado Chamber of Commerce, and Michelle were helping with final touches. If you have ever worked with either of them individually, you know how diligent they are at ensuring all the t’s are crossed, and i’s dotted, while making sure the community is happy. And always with the most welcoming smile to each and every person they encounter. What a perfect duo to put on such a perfect event.

As I walked around interviewing artists, I couldn’t help but be moved by each story. How they found their artistic style, and when their creative journey began! My only complaint is that I did not have time to interview every artist. So many inspiring stories: from Pako Pablos (painting industry and social icons such as Lebron James, Ice Cube and Tony Hawke) to Evgeny Yorobe of San Diego Landscapes (who brings San Diego skylines and architecture to life) and Inocente (who was a 12-year-old homeless teen who now attends world-renowned art shows and helps organizations bringing art to kids and teens). In addition, Melissa Medina of Sacred Solutions Art (Fine Art with the use of Healing Crystals), and Tyson King Art with murals that make you go WOW (e.g. a lion mural in Ireland, commissioned by a Game of Thrones actor). And of course hometown Coronado favorites, photographer Derek Emge (Floyd the Flamengo, local and international waves, and custom prints), Jody Esquer (beautiful Coronado landmarks and collages), Laura Nelson (AR Workshop Coronado), Jean Pierre Marques Fine Art (with his electrifying colors – see the wave at the top of this article), and URT (whose new shop on C was right behind their booth).

Then as I walked up to the CHS Paint + Clay (CHS Advanced Art) students, their exuberant energy took over the story. Almost in unison, as I asked about their booth and the experience, their reply, “it’s amazing, we love this so much!” From there it was a snowball effect. They loved that they could showcase their work and portfolio to the community and even sell their artwork if they chose. When I asked how or when did they know they wanted to do AP Art and Portfolio, the stories came pouring out. And ironically a common thread, unanimously grateful for Coronado Schools Foundation and how it has helped provide them the arts pathways and creative journey opportunities. Some students originally from Coronado, spanning generations, and others from afar. Many stating they didn’t have anything like this where they moved from. Their booth was ‘bumpin,’ aka crowded the whole time. As mentioned, students were able to choose whether to only display or to sell their work. The double booth was completely student run from pre-organizing, to set-up, to sales, tracking transactions, and educating visitors about all the artists and their work. Talk about life skills in one fell swoop. Story could end here! My heart was so full as I crossed over to the Village Elementary art booth and kids Artopia section, thinking what if we all had this growing up, AP Art, Portfolio, and this great opportunity to showcase and sell art.

Village Elementary Art Auction

How lucky our kids are to have the additional arts and STEM pathways (teachers/programs) that Coronado Schools Foundation has been supporting since 1982. Reminiscing, I saw Chris Theep and his family, and their daughter proudly showed me her beautiful artwork. Chris and I both reiterating how lucky our kids are to have all this. Chris recollected growing up, and his parents in the living room with other parents planning away at some of the very first CSF fundraising events. It really makes it sink in. A community-based organization, that focuses on our kids, and continues to grow with their needs.

At this point in sheer awe of the event, I must also commend the food and beverage sponsors, the Hotel del Coronado, Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa, Garage Buona Forchetta, Blue Bridge Hospitality, Jolie, Nicky Rottens, Nado Republic/Nado Gelato, Clayton’s Bakery, and Coronado Tasting Room. Not only are they F&B staples in town, but they support our community and kids.

The adorable 21-and-up bubble lounge was sponsored by Blue Bridge Hospitality, who went all out with grand Veuve Clicquot décor, take-home champagne glasses, and an oyster bar. It was a perfect place for moms to kick-off the Mother’s Day weekend while watching and listening to local youth performers on stage. Blue Bridge Hospitality is also known for bringing LVMH brands to the island, and elevating our dining experiences.

So if you missed this year’s Coronado Art & Wine Festival, you probably will not miss it next year! From all the smiling faces, there’s no doubt that vendors, artists, students, attendees and visitors are thankful to Coronado Schools Foundation and Coronado Chamber of Commerce for this new community tradition!





Pilialoha Estall
Pilialoha Estall
Pilialoha has a diverse background, ranging from non-profits, and experiential marketing, to being an executive event producer, and has a pr agency focused on youth development. She is passionate about helping her community, (a 4th generation Coronadan) and is on the boards for Coronado Schools Foundation, Coronado Band & Choir Boosters, Rady Children’s Hospital - Coronado Auxiliary, and Coronado Flower Association.She loves spending time with her family, golfing with her daughter and friends, and Polynesian dancing! She loves writing (from comedy to novels, you name it). She also has a humble weblog and global podcast PilialohaNow - Building Sustainability, available on all major platforms.Send news tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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