Art and artists the focus of third annual San Diego Coastal Art Studios Tour

Artist Grace Swanson during the 2022 San Diego Coastal Art Studios Tour.
(Milan Kovacevic)

Two homes are in Pacific Beach, two in La Jolla


It’s an opportunity art lovers won’t want to miss — a day of meeting local professional artists, seeing their work and viewing their homes and art studios.

Two homes in Pacific Beach and two in La Jolla will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, as well as their gardens and art studios, for the third annual San Diego Coastal Art Studios Tour. There will also be 32 professional artists throughout the four gardens.

“There will be 20 new artists and one new home/garden this year,” said Leah Higgins, event co-organizer with Dot Renshaw.

More than 1,500 people attended the tour last year, and the 2024 version is already in the planning stages.

The free, self-guided tour allows visitors to view the homes in any order.

Artist Pam Jara with some of her artwork during the 2022 San Diego Coastal Art Studios Tour.
(Milan Kovacevic)

Located in La Jolla, the newest home, at 1213 Skylark Drive was previously owned by Samuel Wang, a retired architect who redesigned and rebuilt the house in 2010.

In 2021, it was purchased by glass artist Krista Heron.

“The house has unobstructed sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean,” Renshaw said.

“The home is an art museum in itself,” Higgins added. “Not only does Krista have her own abstract and contemporary pieces, but she is also a collector.”

Heron has been creating art glass full-time for the past seven years. She originally started taking local classes as a way to vent the stresses of managing her family’s La Jolla businesses. Once free from those obligations, Heron learned from renowned glass artists around the world.

Heron will be exhibiting abroad for the first time, when she shows in Italy’s annual Venice Glass Week in September.

Artist Dottie Stanley in her La Jolla home.
(Courtesy - San Diego Coastal Art Studios Tour)

The second La Jolla home is owned by Dave and Dottie Stanley. Located at 5783 La Jolla Corona, and part of the estates of the same name, artist Dottie Stanley said each of the houses were built with amazing views and unique architecture.

Her house has a Spanish flair, with arched doorways, tile roof and wrought iron railings. Featuring windows and art everywhere, views of the bay and the city of San Diego can be seen from nearly every room.

Stanley has been painting for more than 50 years. Her work includes florals, still life, seascapes and landscapes.

Artist Leah Higgins at her home studio in Pacific Beach.
(Courtesy - San Diego Coastal Art Studios Tour)

In Pacific Beach, Higgins’ home at 1686 Los Altos Road was built in 1926 by well-known architect Irving Gill. It was the first custom home of Kate Sessions, the famed San Diego horticulturist.

Higgins was born and raised in the house her father purchased in 1947. She and her husband, Patrick, moved into it in 1982, after trading homes with her mother.

Highlights of the two-acre property include Higgins’ detached art studio and renovated grounds, which contain numerous plants and mature trees from Sessions’ original garden.

Higgins enjoys a wide variety of subjects for her work, but specializes in homes, landscapes and portraiture.

Renshaw and her husband, Zack, purchased their 1920s Pacific Beach anchor home at 1228 Beryl Street more than 40 years ago.

The original Moorish architecture of the house remains, and has been enhanced with Renshaw’s 20-foot-tall art studio which overlooks a garden filled with fruit trees, flowers and huge stag horn ferns. Don Adams, a well-known Del Mar architect, was consulted when the home was enlarged from 1,050 to 2,500 square feet to ensure it matched the original style.

Want to go?

San Diego Coastal Art Studios Tour

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16

Where: Two homes in Pacific Beach, two in La Jolla.

Cost: Free, but donations requested to support Promises2Kids.


Good to know: There will be a silent auction from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on tour day. Bidding is online. See for details.

Another unique feature of the house is Renshaw’s addition of a 21-step custom spiral staircase, patterned after the one in the movie, “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” A gap was left between floors to allow for ocean views.

Renshaw often chooses small trails, camping spots and neighborhood canyons for her coastal art in oils, pastels and plein air.

Each site will also host multiple artists, who work in a variety of mediums. Hundreds of pieces of artwork will be available for purchase at the tour, with prices ranging from $10 to $5,000.

“If you’re into art, there is so much to see. And it’s all professional,” Higgins said.

From small to monumental, categories range from abstract, realism, watercolor, photography, oil, mixed media, acrylic, pastels, fiber arts, plein air, ceramics, jewelry, wood, gourds, glass art, mosaics, metal sculpture and garden art.

For a complete list of participating artists, including bios and samples of their work, visit

These bird sculptures by Steven McGovney were among those displayed during the 2022 San Diego Coastal Art Studios Tour.
(Milan Kovacevic)

“We’re really looking forward to this year’s event, which allows me to open my home to neighbors and others who are true art seekers,” Higgins said.

All the homes are within a 3-mile radius and organizers said street parking should not be a problem. The studios can be seen in any order. Dogs are not allowed.

Though the tour is free, donations boxes will be at each location. A different charity is chosen each year to receive 100 percent of every donation. This year’s charity is Promises2Kids, which is dedicated to creating a brighter future for foster children.

New this year is a silent auction. Art pieces can be seen online at and in-person from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Heron home in La Jolla during the tour. Bidding will occur online.

For more information, visit