Fallbrook makes '100 Best Art Towns in America'


Last updated 10/20/2006 at Noon

The rest of the world is about to discover what our community has known for a long while — Fallbrook is a center for the arts with longtime residents fostering a creative atmosphere and newcomers bringing additional talents to the arena. With several active galleries, more than one art studio and several dance, theater and film companies, the community is overflowing with talent and potential.

The man who made the decision to include Fallbrook in the fifth edition of his book, “100 Best Art Towns in America,” is John Villani. The book, distributed by W.W. Norton and Company, Inc. of New York, is not only a guide to art-centered activities and venues but also includes a mention of selected hotels and restaurants.

Villani, who is director of communications for the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, travels extensively to research art communities to determine whether or not to include them in his book. When researching a community he takes into consideration the visual and performing arts. The book itself is artfully written, clear, concise and easy to read. The nature of the towns included in the book would give an author a solid artistic foundation from which to build; however, Villani is adept at creating 100 separate community profiles and giving each one a unique twist.

During a discussion on Saturday, October 14, Villani mentioned several ways to even further enhance Fallbrook’s artistic ambiance and create connections between various forms of artistic expression. He mentioned connecting the wineries with the local art community since wine-making is also a form of creative expression.

Villani also encouraged more Native American involvement since art, such as basketry and beadwork, is a focal point in their culture. He also seemed interested in getting the visual arts and music communities to mingle even further. “Collaboration is one of the strengths that hasn’t been tapped,” he said, “and I would like to see more of it in the future.”

The meeting attendees cheered when they heard Villani’s statement of acceptance: “I am impressed with the passion of this community and this community deserves a place in our next book. It is among the most spirited I have seen anywhere.”

Villani was interested to know if there were venues besides galleries where he could find artwork. The Fallbrook Library and the Bob Burton Center were mentioned as two of the local non-gallery venues. “It sounds like you are making a lot of progress in getting art in front of the public,” he noted.

Many artists have been drawn to Fallbrook over the years because of its quiet, rural and picturesque atmosphere. The artistic inclination is a natural evolution of our community and not something contrived. As Mary Perhacs, director of the Fallbrook Art Center, noted, “Artists weren’t imported to make an art community.”

“Great progress has been made on many fronts and I applaud your progress and conspicuousness,” said Villani. “There is so much that is pending — it is a drama unfolding behind the scenes. Be funky, grassroots and be authentic.”

California towns listed in the fourth edition of “100 Best Art Towns in America” include La Jolla, Idyllwild, Laguna Beach, Palm Springs, Carmel, Mendocino, Chico and Eureka.


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