Artist James Hubbell is internationally known for his artworks and his fantastical organic-architecture house and adjacent studios located in the mountain community of Julian, California, 60 miles east of San Diego. James’s artworks—oftentimes mosaics, wrought iron railings and gates, stained glass, and sculptures—grace hundreds of San Diego homes, churches, and public spaces. These art forms also appear throughout the artist’s home and studio spaces, called Ilan-Lael.
Ilan-Lael holds a special place in the hearts of the community as a haven of creativity and inspiration thanks to James and Anne Hubbell’s creation of the non-profit Ilan-Lael Foundation. Their cherished studios, galleries, and residences have become a beacon of artistic expression, a place of learning for those interested in traditional crafts, and a gathering place where people connect with the beauty of nature.
He may be best known for his Sea Ranch Chapel on the Northern California coast, and for a commission known as “The Doors of Abu Dhabi” which are located in a palace in the United Arab Emirates. But James takes the greatest pride in his and Anne’s work toward bridging differences and changing the lives of individuals and communities through the integration of arts, nature and beauty into everyday life. To this end, they founded the Ilan-Lael Foundation in 1983.
Among many community projects marked by his personal volunteerism, he has helped for more than 30 years with the design and hands-on construction of two schools in an under-served neighborhood of Tijuana, Mexico, known as Colegio La Esperanza. Since 1994, working with hundreds of students and volunteers, he has helped bring to life the Pacific Rim Park, a concept which now reaches seven countries around the world.
“Art and beauty,” James says, “can bridge prejudices, build lasting friendships, change people’s visions of who they are and what is possible in life, and, in fact, change our myths.”
Less known but equally important are the many community and global art programs created by the Ilan-Lael Foundation. Started in 1983, the foundation’s mission is to inspire creativity, foster a deep connection with nature, and provide a sanctuary where art and nature harmoniously coexist. The Foundation serves the greater southern California region, and its reach extends into Baja California, Mexico, and several nations whose coastlines form the Pacific Rim.
Educational programs, exhibitions, and community initiatives are designed to ignite a creative spark within individuals and communities, and cultivate a greater appreciation for the transformative power of art.