Since it opened five years ago, the acclaimed Lux Art Institute in Encinitas has been building its reputation and its relationship with the community, in part by encouraging resident artists to work in full view of visitors.
Such interactivity is part of the art-building process at the institute, which will soon offer students even more room to roam ---- both physically and artistically.
This summer, the organization will embark on a $2.7 million effort to turn a building adjacent to its El Camino Real center into the new Lux Education Pavilion.
Hosting programs, classes, events and parking, the 7,000-square-foot building will feature classrooms to house the venue's ever-growing education programs, and a spacious backyard for community programming and events.
The education programs at Lux already host more than 2,400 children each year.
"It's important that our programs have room to function as they grow, and this expansion is an exciting way to make that happen," said executive director Reesey Shaw. "We need additional space to handle our growing summer camps."
Shaw said that a couple of years ago, Lux had to reduce the size of its family-day program because there wasn't enough room. "Now, we'll have room to do so many of things ... and new programs will emerge," she said.
The Lux Art Institute is on a 5-acre site on South El Camino Real that overlooks the San Elijo Lagoon. The institute purchased the adjacent building in 2008, and for the past four years leased it to a private school.
The renovation project is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and will involve updating the building to current codes and standards, and installing a new roof.
A new energy-saving heating and cooling system will also be installed. Lux is a LEED-certified interactive art facility.
Other features will include an art education center, lecture space, an artist's workshop, an adult art laboratory, a kids' art gallery and a digital lounge. Rolling garage doors along the back of the building will open up to a backyard furnished with native gardens, shaded picnic areas and a small amphitheater.
While much of the new space will be used for youth programming, there will also be more room for adults to participate.
"One of the things that was determined in a feasibility study was that the community wanted to have adult classes," Shaw said. "So we will have those for drawing and painting and other activities."
The workshop area will allow youth to learn about woodworking, and there will be a kiln for ceramics instruction.
"This is a space that will allow for hands-on activity involved in building art," Shaw said.
The young artists will continue to work with the renowned artists that live in and create original art at Lux for a few months each year. Even if many of the young learners don't go on to become artists, Shaw said, the time they spend at Lux will have value.
"It's about the creative process and thinking," she said. "It makes my day when I watch 4-year-old figuring out the world around them through art. You can almost hear the little gears in their minds working away. It's exciting."
The next goal is to continue a capital campaign to create an exhibition pavilion at the top of the hill above the main facility, an indoor-outdoor space where 60 to 100 pieces could be showcased, along with artists' studios and a showcase plaza.
"It will be museum-quality scope and exhibition," Shaw said.
For more information, visit www.luxartinstitute.org.