Our History

Photo by Chris Henry

The Ilan-Lael Foundation was founded by James and Anne Hubbell in 1982 and sponsored public art projects, lectures, seminars and exhibitions in San Diego and Tijuana.  The Foundation always collaborated with friends to accomplish things.   Some of the programs we helped found include ArtWalk San Diego, KidzArt, and an award winning newsletter about San Diego’s downtown developme called Hidden Leaves.

In the 1990s, the Foundation added building programs we called “Soil and Soul Projects.”  It consisted of a series of design-build programs that drafted unskilled builders; architecture students, artists, and people from all walks of life, to work under Hubbells’ tutelage to create spaces of beauty and meaning.  Accomplishments included 20-year collaboration with the Americas Foundation to build a kindergarten, elementary school, and high school for the arts in an impoverished community in Tijuana, B.C., Mexico, and a partnership with the Pacific Rim Park Foundation that has created several ocean-front parks in countries that ring the Pacific.  Both programs continue today.

In 2003, four of the eight buildings on the Ilan-Lael property in Santa Ysabel, CA were destroyed by wildfire.  Donations from friends of the Foundation helped restore the damaged buildings. With so much of the community’s heart and soul in the rebuild, the Foundation broadened its focus yet again.  The Foundation now maintains the property and includes the artists’ home as a place where our programs operate.

Ilan-Lael is open to greater public access and additional art education opportunities with the openingof the Ilan-Lael Center in 2017.  This new building features an Archive and Storage area, meeting and classroom space, and an office to support the business activities of the Foundation.

Our mission is to inspire people of all ages to discover and celebrate their creativity.  We offer Ilan-Lael for public use to allow people the opportunity to explore the world through engagement with the arts and environment.  We do this by preserving and perpetuating the vision and artistic legacy of James and Anne Hubbell, sharing their inspiring and unique home with the public, and acting as a catalyst for people of all ages and cultures to realize the gifts of art and nature, and to participate in building a more sustainable and beautiful community.