Dr. Teller's Magi Collection

Nov. 30 - January 5, 2019

Dr. Harris Teller, a former teacher started his Magi collection in 1952.  The collection includes hundred of the Three Wise Men collectibles. A Navy corpsman in Pusan Bay during the Korean War, Dr. Teller acquired his first set of wise men while he was working in the ships sick bay.  He wanted to do something to lift the spirits of the injured and ill sailors stuck on board the ship.

September 1, 2018, the Bonita Museum & Cultural Center (BMCC) will introduce an exhibit showcasing the life and career of Maestro Jahja Ling, San Diego’s preeminent orchestra conductor laureate and Bonita, CA resident.  From Jarkarta Indonesia to San Diego, the exhibition will chart Maestro Ling's brilliant career in the United States and around the world. The exhibition will also include interactive elements that introduce visitors to the world of "conducting" as well as the elements of a symphony.

Ling was born in Jakarta, Indonesia and began to play the piano at age 4. At age 17 he received a Rockefeller award scholarship which brought him to the United States. He went on to study at The Juilliard School in New York City. At Juilliard he earned a master's degree and continued on to study orchestral conducting at the Yale School of Music where he received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. For thirteen years, Jahja Ling was the music director and conductor for the San Diego Symphony. He is the first and only conductor of Chinese descent to serve as music director of a major U.S. orchestra

The world premiere exhibition includes personal item, music notations, video, and photography from Maestro's time with Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood, New York, and with symphonies in Cleveland, Ohio, Saint Petersburg, Florida, and San Francisco, California.  During his celebrated career, he performed for England’s Queen Elizabeth II and collaborated with Whitney Houston, Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang,and others, these stories will all be told through the exhibition.

Visitors to the exhibition will  why Jahja Ling fell in love with the peaceful community of Bonita, CA.   The museum is grateful to the Ling family and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra for providing images for the exhibition.

Events: Family Day in the Museum with Maestro Ling

             Saturday September 8th at 11am

             Maestro Ling will be in the museum to walk visitors through the exhibition and to tell some of his life stories.

In 1983 San Francisco Mayor Diane Feinstein asked Maestro Jahja Ling to conduct the San Francisco Youth Orchestra (which he founded) for the upcoming visit by Her Majesty the Queen of England and Prince Philip.  The current exhibition includes a letter thanking Maestro Ling for the performance as well as this new letter (below) recognizing his contribution to California history.


MAY 11 - JUNE 15, 2018


Artist Statement
I started drawing and painting at a very early age, and I am a self-taught artist. My strongest artistic influence has come from the late Joan Mitchell. When I first saw her work over 25 years ago, I was literally staggered by the power and emotion in her paintings. I remember standing there in front of a huge canvas, feeling that her imagery could transport a person to a place of such deep involvement that they would be completely swept away by the sheer emotion of it. It’s difficult to put accurately in words, but I felt that in her work I was being allowed to see the truest expression of her heart and soul. That visual experience has tremendously affected my approach to making art. In each artwork that I create, whether it is a painting, mixed media, or sculpture, I am putting it all out there, opening my heart. I am determined to let my intuition lead, willing to cede all control, to just let what is inside me flow out.

My style is always in a process of incremental evolution. I’m a very tactile, visual learner, and I enjoy the experience of seeing and doing. I observe other artists, studying how they have reached successful resolutions. Over the years, I have explored Willem DeKooning’s color palette, Robert Motherwell’s spatial sense, and Cy Twombly’s use of calligraphic line and marking. These observations continue to help make me a better painter.

My paintings are fueled by the expression of things that come to me through life’s unseen experiences. Every placement of color, or covering of another color, affects and shapes the painting. I love the process of squeezing paint from the tubes, mixing them together and watching the colors evolve and complement each other. The mixing of color while the oil is still wet on the canvas, the unfolding of the imagery, represents a singular journey for me. What is in the process, what has gone into the mixing, is the very essence of how life and choices create the person.

My paintings speak not only with color, but with the passion and substance of living with purpose.

If Walter's name sounds familiar it might be because of his long history of award winning Tennis awards in San Diego.  Walter is a Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour player.  At the reception we look forward to hearing his talk about the "Similarities of Tennis and Art."

​​Museum Staff and Volunteers:

Nimpa Akana - Trustee Exhibition Chair
Wendy Wilson-Gibson - Curator
Jeremy Field - Museum Coordinator
Preparatory and Multimedia: Brian Gibson, Shawn Hays, Rebecca Kriz, Hardin Mier, Diana Serna, Steven Stonehouse, and Scott Tanner
Elizabeth Stonehouse - Collections Manager

Upcoming Exhibitions:


Audi Lawson
January 12 - 19, 2019

The Art of Animal Sculpture

Featuring National Sculpture Society members

Curator: Mark Edward Adams

D.L Engle, Mehl Lawson 

and Adam Matano

January 26 - March 16, 2019

Audi Lawson: South Bay Diaries

January 12 - 19, 2019 your paragraph here.

Thank You to our Exhibition Sponsors:

Bach Level - $5,000

  • Sam & Lyndie Ersan, Spectrum Security Services

Mozart - $1,000

  • Roy and Nimpa Akana
  • Chris Crockett
    John and Stephanie Garcia
  • Jon and Suzanne Miller
  • Dave and Phyllis Snyder
  • ​Vail Memorial Fund, In Memory of Carleton and Andree Vail of Rancho Santa Fe
  • ​Scott and Barbara Scott

Chopin - $500

  • Dan & Edna Concepcion, Heritage Investments & Retirement Planning, Inc.
  • John & Lisbet O'Neil Jr.
  • Bud and Sandra Wilson

Kapustin - $250          

  • Bruce and Leslie Branman-Smith
  • Mr. and Mrs. Subarich, In Memory of Subarich and Carambas Family
  • ​Alan and Fran Cornell
    Coldwell Banker West Foundation

  • Julia Bauer
  • Julia Bauer

Wine Sponsors
          Bill and Yvonne Snider
          Scott Tanner

Piano Sponsor
          Reece Akana

          Suzanne Santos

Jahja Ling Hand Sculpture by Carol and Christopher Webb
Commissioned by Scott and Barbara Scott


Artists in the exhibition:

Coko Brown,Val Carson, Terry d. Chacon, Gloria Chadwick, Steve Dern, Chona Doering, Joy Floro, Patricia Rose Ford,  Fred Gregory, Dirk Harman,
Nita Harper, Dawn Harrison, Betty Holmes, Rose Irelan, Leslie Jakes, Jeff Jenney, Lee Katz, George Kreutz, Mehl Lawson, Kay Rideout,  Tim Russell, Dawn Secord, and Grace Schlesier

4355 Bonita Road, Bonita, CA 91902  *  phone: 619-267-5141  * follow us on Facebook  &  Instagram

The Museum is Open Wednesday - Saturday, 10am - 4pm, or by appointment.

Virtual Exhibition:

Maestro Jajha Ling Exhibition.

Type your paragraph here.

July 1980, Jahja Ling with André Previn at the Tanglewood Music Center.

Listen to: Jazz 88.3 "Inside Art" interview with Jahja Ling and Dave Drexler.

​Event Photos: Evening with Maestro Ling, Giving Back Magazine

On Saturday, January 26th the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center will open its newest exhibition, The Art of Animal Sculpture.  The exhibition features over 40 sculptures that showcase animals as the artistic inspiration.  The show will exhibit large and small scale works of sculptors Mark Edward Adams, D.L. Engle, Mehl Lawson, and Adam Matano.  These award-winning artists represent some of the top sculptors of animals in the country and their sculpture has been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries across the country. ype your paragraph here. Click here for the press release

2018 Exhibition Schedule (pdf)Type your paragraph here.

Main Gallery: Audi Lawson: Unknown Facets

Past Exhibitions: