August 2017

Paint and Prestige


By Deborah Vietor

Sherry Ahern, Founder of the ninth annual La Jolla Art & Wine Festival, (LJAWF), created the festival because she saw a need for a myriad of educational programs to continue in La Jolla Schools. In addition, she had a passion for returning art to the La Jolla community. The LJAWF has been favorably compared to the Sausalito and Laguna Beach Art Festivals and with community support has grown exponentially over the years.

Ahern’s dedication of service and love of seniors dates back to when she was merely 10 years old. She, along with a group of kids from her neighborhood, performed regularly at the Hebrew Home for the Aged, lifting the spirits of many seniors. Ahern’s grandma Alice lived at the home until she passed away.

Ahern attended school in San Diego and matriculated at San Diego State University, where she majored in political science. As a young adult, she volunteered for several fundraisers and this has continued as a passion throughout her life.

In 1989, Ahern fell in love with the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe. Involved with the Center for 10 years, she assisted in raising millions of dollars for the cause. She, along with a committee created a fundraiser called the Fling, which is held each year in June.

In 1998, ever the activist, Ahern realized a need to assist La Jolla Elementary School where her children attended. La Jolla schools fall within the San Diego Unified School District. With huge state budget cuts over the years, the elementary schools were without physical education, art, music, a school nurse, a library or a librarian. The higher the state testing scores a school receives, the smaller their annual budget becomes. So, with La Jolla holding the highest test scores in the district, Ahern, along with others sought out to fill an enormous need. She has served on the foundation of the school for 25 years, Friends of La Jolla.

Additional credits adding to Ahern’s impressive charitable resume include: The 10 Leadership Award, Mother of the Year for the City of Hope, Volunteer of the Year for Kiwanis in La Jolla and Woman of Dedication for the Salvation Army; where Ahern sits on the board acting as Auxillary Liaison for the Door of Hope in Kearny Mesa. Ahern is also heavily involved with the Diabetes Research Connection, and the La Jolla Community Foundation. She served on the board of the La Jolla Community Center for eight years.

She will chair the San Diego Opera Gala, held April 7, 2018 at the US Grant Hotel. The event honors English fashion designer, Grande Dame Zandra Rhodes. Ahern is also currently on the host committee for the upcoming Brewer’s Cup held at the Del Mar Race Track, November 3-4 of this year.

“It’s important to know that without the amazingly talented people I work with, volunteering so much of their time, none of this would be possible,” she said. “I’m grateful and appreciate every one of them. My life is so much richer being involved with so many wonderful charities.”

Ahern’s positive energy could fill the amphitheater. She has always been about Tikkun Olam, (Healing the World). Her and passion is contagious and like a magical magnet, draws volunteers from San Diego county-wide to participate in the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival, with her love of community exceeded only by love and generosity for family and friends.

The free La Jolla Art & Wine Festival, Saturday October 7 and Sunday October 8, combines the best parts of the chic coastal town of La Jolla for a weekend of fine art, delectable wines, craft beers, scrumptious food, and live music. Just steps from the beautiful Pacific Ocean on Girard Avenue, visitors can bask in the beautiful San Diego sun while meandering through over 150 handpicked artist booths. This juried art show boasts a collection of highly-esteemed and internationally recognized talent as well as new artists to discover. The dynamic and innovative selection of artists represent a variety of mediums such as painting, sculpture, jewelry design, fine glass, ceramics, woodwork, mixed media and photography. Along with 30 participating wineries and breweries and non-stop live music, you are sure to enjoy yourself at this event.

Families flock to the festival, not only for much needed quality time, but to ignite creativity and inspire the young and young at heart. The Geppetto’s Children’s Art Center + Lab returns in 2017, offering an expanded selection of exciting attractions for the whole family. From building a car, to building models, face painting, and dozens of other activities, the fun is endless and sure to create and inspire budding artists. Adults can also get hands-on with interactive art projects, or learn the art and science of fermentation form one of San Diego’s top homebrewers.

Finally, come to the LJAWF with an appetite! From Greek food to crepes to Maine lobster and everything in between – this is more than your typical festival food, so be prepared to indulge in something delicious at this world class food court!

All profits raised benefit underfunded programs such as art, music, science, physical education, technology, and on-site medical care at La Jolla public elementary and middle schools. To date, the program has raised $900,000 annually for the schools through sponsorship, booth sales and donations.

A true mensch, Ahern continues to include her family, friends and community in the spirit of volunteering to make the world a better place for everyone and is a member of Temple Beth El Synagogue in La Jolla. Women, children, education, and the arts continue as a theme of passion and creativity exuded throughout the years for Ahern.


For more information, visit or call McFarlane Promotions, Inc. at (619) 233-5008. For sponsorship information regarding the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival, email To become involved in charitable organizations through Sherry Ahern, please e-mail:


Mazel & Mishagoss

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