An overlooked nook at the north end of Bayside Park in Chula Vista has been temporarily transformed into a place geared toward inspiring creativity and community.
Last November, artists Jose Parral and Tasia Paulson installed 30 wood and steel sculptures that serve as benches at a secluded place near where G Street meets the water. So far, the benches have been used to set the stage for a symphony concert, they’ve served as an outdoor yoga and exercise venue and as a casual meeting place for neighbors.
On Saturday, May 6, San Diego Dance Theater will be using the benches to perform a piece of choreography created specifically for the waterfront site. Fern Street Circus will also perform at the spot on May 20.
Called “Bench Party,” the public art is a temporary installation funded through the Port of San Diego’s Tidelands program, which commissions artists to make site-specific works meant to activate events and interactions in unexpected places along the San Diego Bay.
“We encouraged artists to select areas of the waterfront that the public wasn’t actively going to,” said Yvonne Wise, who heads the port’s art programs. “So using the art as a catalyst to encourage people to not only experience the waterfront, but experience those locations that maybe they didn’t know about already.”
The Tidelands program is one facet of the port’s curatorial strategy adopted in 2012. The progressive ideas and programs detailed in the plan, however, were put on hold when the port slashed its public art budget in 2013.