LIVING IN THE CITY: The Art Of The Matter

Ruth-Ann Thorn and her colorful and eclectic Exclusive Collections gallery are both back in the Gaslamp Quarter
Ruth-Ann Thorn inside her Exclusive Collections gallery in the Gaslamp Quarter.

“Living In the City” is the San Diego Sun’s feature Q&A with downtown San Diego residents. It’s a way to get to know the city by meeting the people who live here. This is number 36 in an ongoing series.

Name: Ruth-Ann Thorn

Residence: Gaslamp City Square

What’s new: Back downtown with Exclusive Collections (621 Fifth Avenue). EC Gallery is a diverse collection of art from different genres. There’s street art, classical paintings, art on metal, bronze sculpture, whimsical beach scenes and more. My idea is to bring art to people in a friendly, non-intimidating environment. There’s no such thing as a stupid question!

Personal deets: Lived in San Diego for 57 years. My hometown is the Rincon Indian Reservation. Prior to the casino (Harrah’s Resort SoCal), life on the reservation was tough. Not a lot of opportunities. My mom is an artist and I had a chance to work in a gallery in my early 20s. I found it to be healing, and quickly developed a passion for helping others curate collections. 

Art history: Opened my first gallery in 1998 in La Jolla. Then came one in Fashion Valley shopping center in 2000, quickly followed by a gallery in the Gaslamp and one in Seaport Village. We were also in Las Vegas at the Forum Shops at Caesars, Laguna Beach, Beverly Hills, and in Breckenridge, Colorado. Now it’s the Gaslamp and Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach.

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The Art of OZ, Shades of Flowers.

Why move downtown: To return to open my new art gallery in the Gaslamp.

Best aspect of your residence: It’s safe and clean.

Best reason to live downtown: It’s a fantastic place to live because of the high energy and lots of great things to do.

Worst part of living downtown: It’s so sad to see the homelessness.

Pets: Three spoiled and crazy cats–Raymond, Oliver and Mipster.

What are you streaming: Hijack, Fatal Attraction, Jury Duty.

Jeremy Salazar, Iron Cloud.

Lunch spot: Barleymash! It’s right across the street from my gallery. Their ahi salad is great and the chicken strips are the very best. I order by phone and everyone who works there is exceptional.

Dinner fave(s): Huntress and Lavo are two of the best restaurants in the Gaslamp. Both have lots to choose from and have excellent quality and great service.

Go-to bar: Patrick’s Gaslamp Pub, because it’s old school.

Transportation breakdown: 50/50 walking and driving.

Scooters: They’re scary.

Parking advice: Use the Park It On Market garage at Sixth Avenue and Market Street.

Areas to avoid: Anything east of Seventh Avenue starts to get sketchy.

Steve Barton, Blue Moon.

Favorite memory: Comic Con 2009 when I met Brad Pitt. There was a private event at the Rooftop of Hotel Solamar (soon to become a Margaritaville Hotel). Obviously, a huge line formed around Mr. Pitt, but I was able to say hello. I found him to be very nice. He really seemed to interact well with the crowd. Unfortunately, they would not allow photos.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria: It’s a tough job. I think he is doing what he can.

District 3 City Councilmember Stephen Whitburn: I especially appreciate the focus on public art spaces.

Most needed change: More tax incentives for small businesses. There are too many vacancies downtown.

Parting advice: Go see The Children’s Museum. SDSun


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