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On View  

Arts and Culture Exhibitions at San Diego Public Libraries
Last Updated: Sep 21, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Charles Mallory Hatfield, 1910, Courtesy of San Diego Public Library Special Collections. Detail, Scott Polach, Make ‘em Hum #070515 (White), 2015. Photograph, 8.5” x 11”.

The San Diego Public Library introduces Rainmaker, a new art exhibition that looks at the past, present and future of water, connecting the anniversary of a pivotal moment in the region's history to our environment today.

In 1915, the city was on the brink of growth but reservoirs were dangerously low. Along came Charles Hatfield, a "moisture accelerator" with a track record of success. He promised to fill Lake Morena to the brim -- 10 billion gallons of water -- and the City Council accepted his offer. Over the next four weeks, more than 30 inches of rain pummeled the region, wiping out dams, homes and bridges. "Hatfield's Flood" remains one of the largest storms in recorded history, and its effects still shape our land and lives. Yet the mystery remains: was it a coincidence? Was Hatfield a scientist or a charlatan?

Today, water, drought and climate change are critical concerns. Twelve of San Diego's most thoughtful and innovative artists -- Adam Belt, Roman de Salvo, Michael Field, Lisa Hutton, Gabriel Kalmuss-Katz, Dominic Paul Miller, Margaret Noble, Scott Polach, Eva Struble, Joshua Tonies, Jim Wilsterman, and Sheldon Wood -- fill the gallery with sound, sculpture, painting, poetry, photography, video and digital animation. They explore the presence and absence of water, its mystery and allure, the futility and absurdity of our attempts to control nature.

Visitors can also examine Charles Hatfield's scales, measuring tools and well-used barometer, which were donated to the library by his brother, Paul. Additional photographs and artifacts are on view in the special collections section of the library.

Curated by Susan Myrland, Rainmaker opens Saturday, September 19, 2015 in the Art Gallery on the 9th Floor of the San Diego Central Library. A reception is planned on opening day from 12 to 2 p.m.

Rainmaker runs through November 29, 2015. Both the reception and exhibition are open to the public and admission is free.

The exhibition is made possible through a collaboration between the San Diego Public Library and the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. 


Currently on View

SEPTEMBER 19, 2015 –

NOVEMBER 29, 2015



Gallery Hours

Tuesday 12-5 PM
Wednesday  12-5 PM
Thursday 2-7 PM
Friday 12-5 PM
Saturday 12-4 PM
Sunday    12-4 PM

Contact Us

For more information about library exhibitions, see our "About" page or email

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About On View

On View is part of the San Diego Public Library’s mission to inspire lifelong learning through connections to knowledge and each other. Exhibition programs allow free access to the visual arts, while promoting San Diego artists and creative community groups.


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