Encanto is an arts desert. Sure, there are a few painted electrical boxes and murals scattered here and there, but Barry Pollard, who’s lived in Encanto for decades, thinks it’s time to get serious about putting more public art in his under-served neighborhood in southeast San Diego.
“There’s plenty of research that shows how art positively impacts a community,” Pollard said. “And I just want to leave this place a little bit better than I found it.”
Pollard is the founder and executive director of the neighborhood group Urban Collaborative. That’s the group that butted heads with the city last year when its members built four wooden planter boxes and two benches on a small island at the corner of Euclid and Imperial in an attempt to make the notorious intersection look a little better. The group didn’t get the official permits they needed, so the city forced them to rip out their work.
This time around, Pollard said, he’s inviting city officials to the table early in hopes of fending off any problems. He’s organized a community event on Feb. 25 focused on public art and how to make it happen.
“Art is one of the components that we’ve decided to focus on because people have started coming up to us and saying, ‘Hey, we have zero art in this community,'” he said. “And you can drive down the streets here and that’s validated.”
The longtime community leader and activist is hoping neighborhood artists, woodworkers and other creative people show up to the meeting so his group can figure out what people want and what they’re willing to contribute. Pollard said he wants to involve as many residents as possible.
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“I think they need to reconsider how to handle a nonprofit who offers a free performance to the community.”
ABSO-damn-LUTELY!! After all, shouldn't the city support its own arts organizations? Is their rental price "being on par" with others really the criterion they want to use?
Also, if the trashing of Waterfront Park is any indication of how the city chooses what groups to rent to, they have more problems than just the opera.