Today, we’d like to introduce you to Kim Emerson. Kim was introduced to us by the brilliant and talented Rebecca Noelle.
Kim, can you walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am one of several founding members of the Normal Heights Urban Arts (NHUA) advocacy group located in the community of Normal Heights in the City of San Diego. We were established in 2016 and our purpose is to enrich the community through public and visual art. The mission of the NHUA is to “promote community development through urban design and streetscape enhancements with public art, to enrich the quality of life for residents. We facilitate the creative interaction of artists, designers, city officials and community members participating in the design of public art projects that are meaningful to the site as well as highlighting the Normal Heights community, with the goal of enlivening the public space available to community residents.”
Please talk to us about your creative work and career. What should we know?
We are a volunteer group, and we typically meet the 2nd Tuesday of each month virtually or in-person to discuss our various ongoing projects and events happening in the community. All are welcome to attend a meeting, become a member, and get involved. We also partner with other groups, such as the Normal Heights Community Association, the Normal Heights Planning Group, the Adams Recreation Group, and the Adams Avenue Business Association. Our current projects include a large mosaic mural project for the Adams Recreation Center building, the painting of more utility boxes by local artists, as well as teaching art classes to youth at the Adams Recreation Center during their summer camp series. We are always fund-raising to support our projects.
As you know, we’re big fans of Rebecca Noelle and we know you’ve worked with them quite a bit as well. We’d love to hear about your experience working with Rebecca Noelle.
In the summer of 2018, we had the opportunity of meeting artist and visionary Rebeca Noelle when she submitted her qualifications for our “call to artists” inviting local San Diego artists to paint their unique designs on 21 selected utility boxes along Adams Avenue. We collaborated with Scott Kessler of the Adams Avenue Business Association who funded the project, and he put us to the task of finding and selecting the artists. The NHUA created a selection committee, wrote a prospectus, established a system of fairly judging the submitting artists and their designs, along with writing contracts and guidelines for the work. Rebeca Noelle answered our call through social media. We assigned to Noelle the box at the Starbucks parking lot at Adams Avenue and Felton Street. The submittal of her design was absolutely amazing and exceptional the way she captured the surrounding urban landscape of the busy intersection – but in an impressionist style of “plein air” (artist who paints outdoors). The talent and hard work of Rebecca Noelle exudes the elegance and grace of a dedicated professional artist, and with the seriousness of an 18th century French impressionist. And, she also speaks French! While Noelle was working and dedicating long hours on the canvas that was her utility box we realized that we had discovered a gem of an artist living amongst us. The level of her detail, color and accuracy – speaking volumes of technique and emotion with each stroke of the brush that she put into the little box at Starbucks – landed herself the job to paint a second utility box in Normal Heights, again funded by the Adams Avenue Business Association.
Recently, the NHUA has featured Rebecca Noelle on our Facebook page and Instagram as our “Featured Artist.” We have later learned that she creates a multiple of other works – abstract acrylics and watercolors, home décor, and prints of San Diego landscapes. And now Noelle is teaching plein air painting in Balboa Park at Plaza de Panama (in front of the San Diego Museum of Art) on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 to 10 am. We feel quite fortunate to have discovered Rebeca Noelle and we will always consider her “our” local artist always wishing her great success with her busy schedule of participating in local art shows. The first will be in Little Italy for their “Summer Series” on Sundays starting July 11, 2021 from 11 AM to 6 PM every Sunday through the summer.
Written by: Kim Emerson for the Normal Heights Urban Arts (NHUA)
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