Riviera Magazine — October 2008


From East Village to La Jolla, four new galleries put San Diego’s art scene on edge.

When a power couple left behind their Hollywood gigs to open an art gallery of mind-blowing sculpture, they chose Prospect Street. The brigade continues with galleries cropping up all over S.D.—including an ad hoc space selling everything from 3-D wire art to recycled leather, and spankin’ new showrooms in Little Italy and the Barrio.

We’ve got your map.


Barrio Logan continues its hot-’hood status. The newest arrival in Downtown’s once-sketchy outskirts hoping to strike neighborhood-renewal gold is Alana Sills. Her just-launched Sanctuary Gallery & Boutique is housed in the four-level developer’s unit of Bohemia, the new row homes designed by Public Architecture. Sills, who spent the last several years as a stay-at-home mom, explains her first-time gallerina quest with new-age zeal: “In my never-ending
search for truth, beauty and grace, I’m inspired to bring art and community to the neighborhood.” And fashion shows, a cooking school, yoga classes, what have you. With jammed VIP list-only openings and an art co-op nearby, she’s optimistic. “This has to happen,” she says. “I’m a magnet for new businesses coming in. It’s like the Gaslamp 20 years ago.”

1700 National Ave., Barrio Logan. 619.549.0254.


[oceanfrontartform] Showcasing the Best and Brightest in San Diego’s Art Scene


Reconnect with Your Cultural Side this Month with Two Experiential Pleasures

Written by Cristina Buquid


In the midst of racing to work, devouring the daily Starbucks intake and kissing the boss’ ass every waking chance, it’s hard to find time to pause and appreciate artistic inspiration. Not to worry, 944 took care of the legwork and selected two of the coolest new cultural experiences in town to check out this month.


Chris Elliman’s “Flower Glass” is one of many pieces in his appropriately named The Timing exhibit recently displayed at Sanctuary Gallery.




Living up to its name, this brand spankin’ new gallery has quickly become the safe haven for all things avant-garde. Owner Alana Sills has already held three large-scale shows and a laundry list of minor workshops. A recent event displayed detailed illustrations by Chris Elliman, exhibited edible art and showcased body art demonstrations. Sanctuary’s airy urban space has pitted art, fashion and music in a collaborative world that sees no boundaries when it comes to cutting-edge art. Sills had a vision of artistic liberation in the Barrio Logan community, and every gallery exhibition-turned local musician/open mic-mixer pushes the limits of what defines conventional art. Nestled a few blocks away from Petco Park, this gallery serves as a pleasant contrast to the artistically void Gaslamp area, while still preserving the convenience of location.
1700 National Ave, Barrio Logan / 619.549.0254 /

Art In Unexpected Places

Alana Sills maximizes mixed-use
By KINSEE MORLAN for San Diego CityBeat Magazine 9/24/08

Art In Unexpected Places

By the end of the last art opening at Sanctuary Gallery and Boutique, Alana Sills had ditched her shoes, changed into something more comfortable and had half her body air-brushed by the night’s featured painter, Chris Elliman.

Basically, she made herself at home in the middle of an art opening.

It makes sense, though, since the top two floors of Sanctuary are Sills’ home. The 30-something recent divorcée and mother of three moved into the brand-new four-story condo at 1700 National Ave. a couple of weeks ago. The development is the first of several contemporary, mixed-use buildings to pop up on the Barrio Logan block, but Sills is a tad ahead of the gentrification curve, so she has few neighbors. The space and location allow her certain freedoms—at the opening, for instance, the back balcony was the viewing area for a huge projection dancing across the empty neighboring condos.

And while the dishes from the night’s chef demonstration piled up next to her kitchen sink—not to mention the staggering stack of glasses, evidence that Sills refuses to serve wine and champagne in plastic cups—and late-night stragglers danced and chatted, looking as though they planned to stay the night, Sills smiled, chatted and danced, too, appearing to have as good a time as anyone.

Sills is breezy and bohemian-like, especially when she’s strolling barefoot across the raw concrete floor of the gallery, describing the art and the artist she’s chosen for a show.

Since Sanctuary’s grand opening in July, Sills has had three major openings and a few other special events, like the indie runway show she held in August. So far, she considers her post-house-mom experience a success.

“It’s just sort of always been this dream of mine,” said Sills. “It’s part of my never-ending search for truth, beauty and grace, and this gallery is bringing everything together. It’s nice. I like it.”

Sills’ taste is for young, contemporary artists, and, luckily for the local scene, the farthest she’s gone so far to find artists is Oceanside.

“I’m trying to put San Diego on the map artistically,” Sills said. “There are a lot of talented artists out there, and I want to shine the light on them, but I’m not going to have the typical landscape or seascape paintings, because I have to like it, too.”

Beyond the solo shows, Sills hopes to help make Barrio Logan the next North Park and eventually team up with nearby businesses in starting a Barrio Logan art walk similar to North Park’s Ray at Night. With the economy crashing around her, though, selling artwork hasn’t been the easiest thing to do, but Sills has a plan. To help cover rent, starting in October, Sills will use her space for cooking classes, yoga classes and paintings classes for teenagers and kids.

“I have this mindset where you can do anything you set your mind to, and you’re only as successful as you’re expecting to be,” she said. “So, I guess I’m just hoping that it’ll work, and if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t, and I’ll move on.”

The Timing featuring Chris Elliman runs through Oct. 10. Abstract vs. Pop featuring Todd Sanders and Jacki Geary opens Oct. 11. Day of the Dead Art Show: Evil Revolution featuring Chanel & Christine Penly opens Nov. 1. Art Exhibition: Rich Walker opens Dec. 6.


2 responses to “Press

  1. Erik Cohen

    Please add me to your mailing list for upcoming events

  2. Nice meeting you the other night. Please add me to the mailing list for upcoming events. I look forward to crossing paths again one of these days.

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