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Home / Articles / Arts / Seen Local /  Public art in Carlsbad on the rise
. . . .
Monday, Aug 04, 2014

Public art in Carlsbad on the rise

Village Mural Tour will showcase new work coloring outdoor walls in the North County city

By Kinsee Morlan
Michael Summers Michael Summers in front of his “Cat Nap” mural
- Photo by Kinsee Morlan

Carlsbad Village is known for its cutesy boutiques and mom-and-pop shops and restaurants. Recently, though, the walkable area along and around Grand Avenue, Carlsbad Village Drive and State and Washington streets is becoming a breeding ground for public art.

At 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, the Carlsbad Village Association and the theater company New Village Arts will lead the first-ever Village Mural Tour, an hour-long walking tour that'll introduce attendees to small- and large-scale works like "The Robot" by Jason Markow, which hovers over the big open space in front of a new juice bar housed in a shipping container at the corner of State Street and Carlsbad Village Drive. The tour also kicks off Art in the Village, happening from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10, and featuring more than 100 regional artists who'll be set up on State and Grand (pop inside The Foundry Studios at New Village Arts, 2787 State St., to see the work of the 16 resident artists).

Four of the murals on the tour were made possible by a grant to New Village Arts from the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation. The purpose of the grant was to generate more public art in the city. 

"I think the response to that program really helped to build even more interest in bringing the downtown area to life with art," says Kristianne Kurner, executive artistic director of New Village Arts. "Some private business owners have hired artists... Everyone seems to agree that the more artistic experiences we can have in our little village, the better."

Carlsbad artist Bryan Snyder has four large murals painted on outdoor walls throughout Carlsbad Village. He's one of the first artists to work in the village, but he's not on the official lineup for the tour. Snyder declined to have his murals included in the tour because he was first asked to participate in New Village Art's grant program then later disqualified when it was determined he had too much work already on view and organizers wanted diversity.

Snyder's a little peeved over the whole thing, but stoked overall that the city's seeing an uptick in art.

"Carlsbad's looking good these days," he says. "There's a lot more going on."

Snyder's made it one of his goals to foster Carlsbad's creative community. He's done that partly by approaching businesses and offering free art for their walls, both inside and out. He finances the larger works by making prints of the murals and selling them online. Since Snyder's not on the official Mural Tour roster, he's setting up his own "art scavenger hunt" (details at

"Cat Nap" by Michael Summers is one of the most striking murals on the official tour. It's also the piece of art featured on CityBeat's cover this week.

"It started off with a good-natured argument with a friend of mine over the virtues of abstract art," Summers said of his "Right as Rain" series of similar paintings and prints picturing animals caught under colorful drips of paint.

Summers" friend challenged him to create an abstract painting, and he did—at first—until he couldn't help but take control. He started painting the drips rather than letting them roll down the canvas. Summers liked the effect and process so much that his entire body of work took a sudden turn, and he's been working on the series ever since.

"It's become this personal symbol to me of exposing yourself to trying new things," he says.

Mural tour participants must RSVP to to attend. 

This story has been updated from its original version for clarity. Write to and follow Kinsee on Facebook or Twitter 

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