Arts Council Menifee Honors Literary Artist Shirley Wible

Shirley Wible (right) poses with local author Pamela Wagstaff in front of a literary display.
By Shawnees Peacock, MSJC student intern journalist

Arts Council Menifee's Artist of the Month, Shirley Wible, has done what many people find difficult: Finding a career that combines all of her dreams and passions.

Wible wears many hats here in the community. She works at the Sun City Library as the Adult Programmer and is a member of the Riverside Community Art Association. She is an Arts Council Menifee Board Trustee and Chair of its Literary Arts Division.

Wible is also both an accomplished visual and literary artist herself. She recently had a show of her photography and poetry on display at the U.S. Bank. The piece was titled “Reflections at the Coot Pond” and was about her eerie yet thought-provoking experience with a coot.

“There were two poems I wrote that were on display with the photos. The idea was that I was spending all my time reflecting on the past when a lone coot came up to me and began scolding. It brought me out of my reverie of the past,” said Wible. “He actually barked, warning me of my foolishness and advised me that I should look at what I had in front of me instead of concentrating on the past.”

Wible also presented a two-man photo show at the Riverside Community Art Association in the early 2000s titled “Alice in Shadowland” and a solo show in the mid 2000s that included acrylic paintings, ceramics and collage work that were based on a paper doll theme.

The idea of reality and fantasy combining into one heady mixture is a theme present in many of Wible’s visual art shows. Her artwork stands out from the crowd because it is rooted in the concept of creating an installation piece as a framework for individual related subject pieces.

She thinks of every detail. Whether it’s the color of the cloth on the table that some of the work is being displayed upon or what other pieces should be displayed along with the central piece of artwork, details are of importance to her because the whole display is a single piece of art in itself.

Wible displays her artistic inclination toward blending reality and fantasy as a literary artist as well. She views books as a medium that is rediscovering the identity of what a book is and its primary function to the consumer.

“The book is not only communicative, but also a piece of art,” said Wible.

“I’m very interested in what the reaches of a book are,” she said. “I’m really into art books. Not books about art, but the art of the book. The art of making a book is my real love. It’s not just a binder with pages in it – it can be so much more.”

As the Adult Programmer at the library, she spearheads all of the events there that are specific to the interests of adults in the community. She works to attract people who are in search of a fun, creative, and social environment.

“This community offers a golden opportunity for service to adults,” said Wible.

Wible is able to use her educational background in the visual arts and literature by creating programs that reflect her variety of interests. She received a B.A. in Studio Arts with a minor in English Literature from Humboldt University.

“Prior to the development of the Arts Council, there wasn’t much available for art lovers to do out in the community. There were only nearby art guilds and the local community college activities. So I decided to use the library to bring some of the creative art opportunities to the community,” said Wible.

Sun City Library offers programs such as poetry workshops, artist trading cards, live music concerts, knit and crochet meetings, Readers Theater, Photo Fun, author readings and signings, and always a monthly artist showcase. A new program starting this month by request is Adult Storytelling.

“What I accidentally found was that I started providing a place for people to come to enjoy diverse arts and to communicate with people with the same interests,” said Wible. “It’s thrilling for me.”

Wible’s programs are offered throughout each month at the Sun City Library. Some are continuing programs and others are stand-alone special events.

“My main thing is inspiring [people]. I don’t know where it comes from, or why it is, but I get goose bumps when I have a poet read aloud a new poem, and they have a great line in it or if a photographer takes an interesting shot,” said Wible. “I like the idea of being able to see an artist birth something new into the world that didn’t exist before.”

For more information about Arts Council Menifee and all previous Artists of the Month, visit The Arts Council Menifee Literary Division meets the first Wednesday of each month at the Sun City Library from 5-6 p.m. The public is welcome to come.


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