When long-time Borrego residents Phyllis Slade and Jenny Wright put together the first Circle of Art show and sale in 1989 with no experience and on very short notice, neither one could have envisioned that the successful event would continue annually for years to come.
But the show goes on. The 25th Circle of Art will be held March 15th 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and March 16th 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs and will feature fine art, watercolors, acrylics, oil painting, sculpture, potter, jewelry, weaving, photography and more. The event will also feature food and music. Admission, as always, is free.
Proceeds fund Basic Assistance to Students in the Community (BASIC) scholarships for Borrego students, young and old.
"We are thrilled that this show continues to be the highlight of the year for many people who love the arts and want to support deserving students with any purchases they may make", says Phyllis. "And we’re just thrilled that the Circle of Art has been such a long-standing success story".
With Jenny as chair and Phyllis as co-chair they worked with the Borrego Springs Chamber to launch the first Circle of Art show in connection with the Grapefruit Festival.
They visited Indio’s Date Festival and the La Quinta Art Show to solicit artists for the new show and managed to get 40 artists to participate. Seley Ranch stepped up and donated several hundred bags of Seley Ranch grapefruit which has brought in several hundred dollars each year. This was and still is, handled by Andrew Przestalski.
Proceeds went to Borrego School District athletics and art programs. The artists were happy to sell their work; the school district was happy to get some extra money for the kids. Everyone was thrilled with the outcome, and plans began humming to make Circle of Art an annual happening.
After collaborating for three years, the Chamber ‘bowed out’ and then 3 years later, due to County permitting and regulatory changes, the Circle of Art was turned over to BASIC, a nonprofit organization formed to provide funding for college scholarships for Borrego students. Jenny and Phyllis continued to volunteer and organize the show along with Joann Stang, Joanne Mickelson, Dave Stang, Louise Phillips, and many other great volunteers.
Phyllis and Jenny, who after six months of hard work every year, formally ‘retired’ after 22 years, still never miss a Circle of Art show and have saved related newspaper articles and photographs over the years. With the 25th anniversary of the event right around the corner, they have been reviewing those memories with pride and fondness- and glistening eyes.
"It makes us really proud that the Circle of Art has thrived and grown with each season", says Jenny. "This show is our legacy to the town of Borrego".
CIRCLE OF ART SHOW AND SALE, Christmas Circle, Palm Canyon Dr., Borrego Springs, CA 92004. March 15, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; March 16, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. FREE ADMISSION. Food and Music. More info at www.circle-of-art.org.