Diane Y. Welch
A Community Asset
retelling people's stories, past and present
Since 2006 I have been publishing books which emerged from my engagement and my fascination with people in the community. The first book released was "Encinitas" a photo-essay book in the series Images of America by Arcadia Publishing. In 2008, having unhindered access to the vast archives of the 22nd District Agriculture Assocation (DAA) I crafted a second book through Arcadia on the locally famed "Del Mar Fairgrounds". Timeless and iconic images from the fairgrounds' early history and the celebrity status afforded the racetrack due to Bing Crosby's influence created a true picture wonderland of imagery that my husband, Paul, and I also transformed into video format that we present to many county-wide organizations and private groups.
I shifted gears when I undertook a project which continues to be especially dear to my heart, the research and documentation of what one magazine writer termed, "The most influential architect you've never heard of." The monograph, "Lilian J. Rice: Architect of Rancho Santa Fe, California" was released by Schiffer Publishing in 2010. It took top honor awards in the biography category at the San Diego Book Awards in 2011 and is still selling well in local book stores and may be found in the San Diego Library system and in several university libraries.
Coming soon, fall 2015, will be my next book on Rice. Titled, "How the Ghost of You Clings: The Life and Work of Architect Lilian J. Rice" this second book, in what will ultimately be a trilogy of books on Rice, weaves in my journey of discovery as I strive to uncover details of Rice's life that will bring her into greater public awareness.
The book has a unique approach that I have dubbed reportoir which is a coinage of reporting and memoir. Like the first book on Rice it has been extremely well researched, I literally scoured newspaper columns from California broadsheets (in the comfort of my home thanks to online archives) and pulled out real-time facts about those featured in the chapters. But unlike the prior book in this volume I place myself in the narrative as I lead the reader along on my personal journey of discovery. It's an interesting read that pulls in many superstar celebrities from the 1920s and 30s who entered Lilian Rice's unique universe of architecture.
When I was directing an art program at Kumeyaay Elementary School in San Diego--Art LitE (Art and literature in education)--I began writing an informative column for the Tierra Times newspaper. The weekly features shared news with the community about the many art projects and exhibitions that we were engaged with in 1999. When I moved with my family to coastal Solana Beach, in 2001, I no longer wrote for the paper, but retained the skill of concise and accurate writing and the joy I had discovered in the written word. Through my work at the, then, Studio Academy, writing online copy and press releases for the arts school, I was presented with an unexpected and life-changing opportunity.
I was approached to be a local reporter for the newly established Solana Beach Sun in 2003. While I pondered the question, "shall I go for it?" I had my first assignment and before I could wait for my answer I was swept into the world of deadlines and fast-paced journalism. The writing of feature news articles about our local citizens and covering city programs and events brought me into the radar of many wonderful people and those who I have featured have become dear friends. This endeavor has been an unprecendented opportunity that has led to a branching out to the coverage of international celebrities as over the past decade the Solana Beach Sun has come under the umbrella of larger newspaper groups with a broader reach. I now I contribute to UT Community and my weekly feature articles are published in the Del Mar Times, Solana Beach Sun, Carmel Valley News, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and the Encinitas Advocate.
In addition to my news features I contribute to the Bishop's Alumni Magazine crafting profiles of alumni, covering school events and shows, and writing follow up pieces for informative school lectures and gatherings. Prior to the Bishop's features I contributed to the following magazines: Where SD, Artworks, PacificSD, Vintage Allies, Bing International and more. And as a public figure I can often be found serving as emcee for various local cultural and arts events, family-friendly shows, and literary readings through the Solana Beach Arts Association which I co-founded in fall 2008.
In addition to my feature writing I have often found myself given opportunity to delve deeper into a subject's life and background. Through Welch Productions I have interviewed, and captured on digital audio, people's biographies who were given the chance to tell their own stories while I actively listened. It has also been a fascinating project to learn of the rich life journeys of several of our local seniors whose stories have been digitally recorded and saved for posterity on CDs.
For almost seven years I met with Paul Ecke III to expressly record the weekly updates of his biography. We talked about the poinsettia business, his family, his philanthropy and the noble history of the Ecke Ranch which is indelibly connected to coastal North County's rich and storied past. Those recordings are now part of the Ecke Family collection held at California State University, San Marcos and are part of a priceless archive that represents over a century of Ecke family history.
When people who read my news articles began to ask if I freelanced in public relations another opportunity presented itself. I founded BBC--Business Blooms Communications--in 2012. I craft press releases and help authors, artists, poets and small business owners gain visibility in print, online and social media. This work has brought me into the commercial arena and opened my eyes to the wealth of entrepreneurial spirit alive and well in San Diego county and beyond.
Clients have included Leslie Hoffman, portrait photographer; Jennifer Chapman, master artist; Dr. Diana Hoppe, obstetrician and author; Scott Gressitt, master woodworker and poet; Diane Wilks, architect; Dr. Ed Siegel, musician and author; Kimberley Vargas, author; Joseph Adago, author; Cool Jams founder and entrepreneur, Anita Mahaffey; Positive Energy founder and entrepreneur Joan Maloney; and more.