Scroll To Top

Artists add their trees to urban landscape

By Pat Sherman
Union Tribune
July 29, 2007
Strell's 15-foot-tall sculpture, one of 30 Urban Trees adorning San Diego's Embarcadero, is on display through June 2008. The commissioned works, along Harbor Drive between the Cruise Ship Terminal and Hawthorn Street, were unveiled during a dedication ceremony in June. San Elijo Hills resident Lia Strell created one of the Trees for the fourth annual exhibit, commissioned by the Port of San Diego. Artists were asked to submit preliminary models of their proposed sculptures. The port's public art committee chose the winning entries. As a member of the San Diego Visual Artists Guild and Del Mar's public art committee, Strell rolled large sheets of steel to create her tree, "A Triflow of Truth." The sculpture's copper-colored petals curve outward like a lotus to reveal a 16 pound rose quartz nugget at its apex. "Triflow" represents the emergence of the feminine along with the masculine, the curves being female and the metal being male," said Strell, who studied art at California State University Northridge and learned marble sculpting in Pietrasanta, Italy. "I believe the imagination is a bit more masculine, and intuition is a bit more feminine," Most of Strell's sculptures, fashioned from lightweight aluminum or copper, are notably smaller in scale, their whimsical curves appearing as ornate script frozen in space. This is Strell's first foray into steel. She produced the piece at North Star blocks from the Coronado Bridge, the curvature of which she said offered creative inspiration."They have largest machinery," she said. "Northstar can take quarter-inch steel and bend it into a right angle." Cranes were used to help Strell position each steel petal into place before welding. "The engineering is very important to sculpture," she said. "You don't want the wind to knock it over. It's all about safety, just like in a building." After being coated with a protective zinc coating and copper-urethane paint, Strell's 800-pound piece was transported to the Embarcadero on a flatbed truck and positioned onto a 10 ft pole with another crane.


lia strell

For sculptor Lia Strell, art is both creative and therapeutic. Her 15-foot-high Ribbon of Hope is the most recent addition to the Wolfstein Sculpture Park at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, where it lifts the spirits not only of patients and families, but Strell herself, whose own parents are battling cancer.
"Art is created by people. We're all trying to say something," Strell explains. "What l am saying with my piece is we have to have strength. We have to have courage. And we have to have trust And with that, all is possible."
Strell, who's been a full-time artist since the mid-80s after a stint as a film editor (she worked on the Prince film Under the Cherry Moon), believes there's a powerful connection between optimism and healing. "Positive thoughts have a healing effect," she says, "and being creative is very positive."

Working with rocks, glass, and metal, Strell also creates smaller sculptures and jewelry inspired by the movement of water and light. For her, the creative process links mind with matter. "Some people think that when you're creating sculpture, it's all with your hands," says Strell. "That's just one part of it" She says "in the quiet" she asks questions "and the answers come."
Strell is seeking a sponsor for her next project, a sculpture about the power of thought, using green technology: solar to light the sculpture and the wind to move it.
760/591-3637, www.liastrellcom ANDREA NAVERSEN
www ranchandcoast com


Creative Healing Fest at Alta Vista Gardens 9/22


Musicians and music lovers will gather for a global day of healing, movement and food at this Playing for Change day on Sep.22 from 1-6pm. The Ceremonial Garden at the Alta Vista Gardens in Brengle Terrace Park will be the venue for healthy foods, yoga, sound healing, art demos, dance theatre, drum circles, and a labyrinth walk. In addition to booths there will speakers, including Donna Wolf, R.D., who will speak on Prop 37 that requires labeling foods with GMOs.

A creative approach to healing involves integrating the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. These are the four major aspects that make us whole and balanced. A sense of play, exploration and spontaneity allows space for creative healing to occur naturally."
The event is the vision of sculptor Lia Strell, who says, "These days we all need healing. I see the artist as the messenger. We are the frequency creators. Creative Healing is a way of combining Creativity and Healing Energy. I am finding that many traditional Nurses and Doctors around town are receptive. Holistic Healers are very open to this support system. Somehow I have touched on a concept that is penetrating beliefs in healing. This is a way to support local Healing Talent in our community by showcasing it through the Arts. Our next event in the garden will activate Creative Healing within our local community. We can do this anywhere! Together we shall love our planet, our home. We shall nurture and take back our nature. We are creating the future we want to give our children. Let us be positive and joyful and loving."
The Golden Torsion Sculpture by Lia , graces the pond at Alta Vista Gardens. The garden is located at 1270 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista 92084. $7 Admission/Donation. Contact producer Lia Strell at
?News section is continued on page 27


Lia Strell, of San Marcos, with her sculpture that will be shown at Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla. COURTESY PHOTO
Do ideas float in the air? That is the question that sculptor Lia Strell and art collector Ralyn Wolf-stein pondered over their shared vision of a ribbonlike sculpture.
For Strell the idea took shape in an Urban Trees installation on downtown's embarcadero in 2009. Her piece fashioned from flowing teal and raspberry colored steel was then titled "Two Tiers: Tears of Desire, Tiers of Understanding."
For Wolfstein, also an artist, the idea remained in miniature as a "Ribbon of Hope" maquette created by a sculptor friend who interpreted her vision.

When the artist died unexpectedly, the idea became fallow. Then Wolfstein happened upon Strell's sculpture as she strolled the half-mile stretch along the embarcadero to view the last glimpse of Urban Trees ? a temporary public arts project organized annually by San Diego's Port Authority ? which was being removed for the next cycle of installations. It was as though her idea had been realized. "There it is, that's my ribbon sculpture!" Wolfstein recalled she said.
Strell didn't see her piece as a ribbon and had to examine the concept, said Wolfstein, who wished to purchase the work and rename it. But Strell, whose father was then battling cancer, suddenly understood. "It was like kismet," said Wolfstein. "She saw her piece in a whole different light, a way to help heal."
The confluence of thoughts had an end result in the rerooting of Strell's piece at the Wolfstein Sculpture Park at La Jolla's Scripps Memorial

Hospital as part of its Arts for Healing program. The official dedication is scheduled for Sunday. The sculpture memorializes Strell's father, Stanley Gilbert, who died from cancer last May. The plaque reads, "To Inspire Courage In Those Who Give and Receive Care."
Nate and Ralyn Wolfstein recently gave a guided tour of the sculpture park and retold the back story of each of their 31 pieces that are now installed there.
As a couple the Wolfsteins, part-time Cardiff residents, bring the arts and the sciences together. Nate Wolfstein perfected the purification of Heprin, the anticoagulant that makes surgery possible, and Ralyn Wolfstein is a photographer and fine artist. They believe in the healing power of art, and together they have made it their mission to purchase sculptures to share with the public.


Strell's sculpture is part of that mission. "Ralyn and I realized that the 'Ribbon of Hope' has become the metaphor for all that she and Nate have been doing," said Strell, who lives in San Marcos.

Docents give guided tours of the park at Scripps Memorial Hospital-
tal, La Jolla. They share the artists' backgrounds and how the Wolfsteins acquired each piece. Other pieces in the Wolfsteins' collection are installed at Scripps Memorial Hospi
tal, Encinitas; the University of California, Irvine; and other institutions and businesses.

To inquire about a free guided tour of the Wolfs-tein Sculpture Park, call
(858) 626-6994. To find out more about Lia Strell's work, go to
Diane Y. Welch is a Solana Beach
based writer. She may be reached

Earth Day 2013 North County Style 4/13
Healing the Earth, Healing Ourselves is the theme of the April 13 Earth Day celebration at Alta Vista Gardens, a center for harmony with nature as well as a botanical oasis in Vista. It is situated at the top of the Hill in Brengle Terrace Park. "We recognize our responsibility as a leader in this by offer- ing some refreshing ideas about today's environmental issues. As such we have created a sanctuary in the City for flora and fauna as well as our spirits. We are now coming into a time when we can incorporate compassionate energy to assist us in reclaiming our strengths. Our Earth Day 2013 is evolving into a community of active future thinkers while Healing the Earth, and Healing Ourselves," states event organizer and visionary Lia Strell. Expanded beyond the offerings of previous years and this year opens up a new sharing space in the Ceremonial Garden. `Creative Healing in the Garden' will feature the Healers, Creatives and Restorers' Yoga, Pranic Healing, Labyrinth Walks, readings at the 'Poet's Patio', Guided tours of the Medicinal Herb Garden and of the Garden at large; Live Earth Music, Sustainable Gardening, Healthy Food, plus much more. As you wander in the Ceremonial Garden you will be reminded how important yet simple it is to stay healthy and vibrant by becoming more responsible to your body's messages and lifestyles. Also being introduced is a new, and socially significant non profit in Vista called "Solutions For Change". This enterprise consists of Solutions Farms? the farm of the future, which is a fully integrated aquaponics (soilless) farm. While solving growing food issues "Solutions For Change" resolves homelessness for many local families. Come see and experience the day for your self. Join in for Earth Day at Alta Vista Gardens North County style. Saturday April 13 10:00-3:00 Craig Kessinger, Native American philosopher of the cosmos, will lead the closing drum circle at 3:30pm. Bring a Drum. This is an 'Open Circle of Light'.
For more information or call 760-505-7900 Bryan Morse president.
The Life Connection APRIL 2013-5 Golden Torsion by Lia Strell


Sacred Dance Eealing & Eagle Dance Ceremony


This is the 2nd year Alta Vista Botanical Gardens brings the "Gongs For Peace Troupe" with Jeremy Pfeiffer. What's new and transformational is we are introducing the Native American inspired Eagle Dance Ceremony. This Sacred Sound Healing is meant to show people we can create Peace on Earth.

We are being reminded that it is our responsibility to create this energy. We are building the future want to leave our children.
Many of us are looking to the elders and indigenous cultures to reconnect to the "original instructions". According to Jeremy "Gongs for Peace is a Sacred Journey of Sound and Spirit" As the Gongs reverberate in the ceremonial garden the Eagle will dance for Global Peace and Earth Healing. Steven Garcia is of the Tongva Native Tribe originally from Catalina Island. His Grandfather raised him to be the bridge and to "share the energy of the ancestors". Steven Garcia is the Eagle who dances for Global Peace and Earth Healing. He along with his partner Kathy Wilcots will perform as the Gong Ceremony reminds us, "We all walk the same earth. We breathe the same air. We swim in the same waters. We see and feel the same. "It is time to listen with your heart as well as your ears. Keep your mind open, your spirit and body in tune". It is so! Black Star Eyed Eagle, Steven Garcia 2015

With special guests Steven, Kathy and many friends.
This ceremony is brought to Alta Vista Bo-
tanical Gardens by Lia Strell and Creative Healing with her vision for a healthy vibrant and creative future.


Earth Day

Alta Vista Gardens is excited to host "Earth Day 2015". Saturday, April 11 2015, from 10am -3:30pm.
On this day Earth Lovers will experience local vendors with healthy solutions. Wander the garden to find the Plant Sale, Children's Activities, The BubbleMan, Artisans, Healers and mystics, Yoga on the Grass, The Labyrinth, Healthy Food and Many Surprises.
11am Permaculture Presentation by Alden Hough, 1pm Sacred Sound Healing and Eagle Dance Ceremony. Let's grow wellness in our Community.