Tijuana and Los Angeles are renowned for their active arts and culture scene, but couched between the two is the often overlooked, and eternally frustrated, San Diego visual arts community. Kinsee Morlan has been writing about culture in San Diego for years and has heard all the reasons people list when explaining why San Diego’s art scene languishes so. She heard them again recently at an event she moderated on the health of San Diego’s art community.
The most obvious reason people point out is that it’s very expensive to live in San Diego, which pushes artists out and strangles the culture right out of the city. Those artists who do stay here worry there aren’t enough art buyers in our town, nor institutions that help connect individuals to artists’ work. “The lack of … collaboration between San Diego arts groups is often cited as one of the scene’s biggest problems,” Morlan writes.
Some in the community look to big institutions like colleges or city government to lead the way on fixing these problems. “Aiding artists in finding affordable spaces to live and work, though, might be the most important role elected leaders could play,” Morlan writes.
The Learning Curve: ICE in Schools
For unauthorized immigrants in San Diego, the act of sending their children to school can be scary. Parents wonder if their children will be taken from school by immigration enforcement, or worry their children will never make it to school like what happened to three teenagers in 2009. Mario Koran reports on San Diego Unified’s efforts to ease the fears of parents by sending them a letter this week explaining the district’s policy on immigration enforcement on campuses. “The district will not permit immigration raids or other activities on campus that disturb the school setting,” Superintendent Cindy Marten wrote.
Meanwhile, the district is still wrestling with how to close a $124 million gap in its budget. There’s no official plan yet, but some parents are reporting dwindling supplies inside classrooms and fears are mounting that pinches could be coming to special education resources and to English-learning programs. “Further cuts, as in … cutting all those positions,” Koran writes.
• Rep. Juan Vargas was among the members of Congress barred from entering a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on Thursday, Salon reports. “Today my colleagues in the Hispanic Caucus and I were excluded from a meeting with officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and that is completely unacceptable,” Vargas wrote in a statement.
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"WHAT DOES SD NEED FOR THE 'ARTS' TO THRIVE?"
That's what our SD Arts writer asked the local 'arts experts' panel two weeks ago and the respond was that the arts does not thrive locally because there's no art market and artists can't afford the standard of living, therefore artists are forced to leave the city to other cities and spread throughout the county, even go in exile across the border. What's a sin is that the system doesn't not support local artists and even avoids them, preferring artists from outside of the city.
That's why the conclusion was that artists hate the local arts environment that seems to place all sorts of obstacles to their thriving. This gathering of the 'arts experts' happens in SD every few years, always with the same results, complaints and no follow up actions. Solutions and recommendations to help the arts are plenty and concise with no help in site. This only accents the reasons why artists need the experts because artists can't do it themselves, we are not capable to do the market business but because these experts only vent and critic, the situation never betters. It's a glooming future reflecting the past and present. Kinda of a love/hate and defeatist attitude prevails. That's why artists are saying 'fuck the 'arts!" Because the system looks at the product but disregards the artists, as they are avoided from the full participation in the subject. That has been the systems acts when it comes to the 'arts', 'cut their funding!' Keep the artists at a starving level, perhaps they'll die and thats good cause the system has a few clones in the universities that will satisfy an elite minority society who practice 'private art cannibalism' while the public robotizes into pure commercialism and decorative 'safe selective art'.
What has become clear its that at least locally there are two worlds here, the dominant non-thriving 'White Art' and the thriving ChicanoArt.
Chicanos have endured 500 years of repression, racism and isolation, while thriving in culture, the essence of art. Chicano Culture&Art is what has kept our freedom of the soul intact in the face of seedling hopeless systems lack of compassion and help.
We have been left on our own in a foundation of indigenous cultural genocide. Yet we have always thrive in our communal family traditions of self love and unity in the face of persecution of 'minorities'. Chicanos are today the majority in population but are still treated in the traditional white supremacist population control. The student populations are a growing majority that's overruning all horizons and barriers.
Today Mexican food and culture are king in the streets and labor force. No matter how much racism and genocide is thrown at brown raza, Chicano Art thrives.
It had an explosion of expression when MexicanAmericans revolted and launched their cultural revolution with their Chicano Movement and the arts at the forfront of their liberation. It was Chicanos who after liberating their barrio, exported their arts revolution and united all artists of San Diego when we opened the first art gallery downtown and transformed it into the first ever MultiCultural Arts Center in 1977. That became the first arts district, the Gaslamp Arts District created by a diverse group of local artists, led by Chicano artists with mostly white artists involvement, all in a collaborative and positive banner of a 'universal art form'.
The arts thrived in a new cultural arts movement driven by local artists and a federal new funding CEDA Program for the arts created by President Carter in the late 70's. That lasted till 1980 when Reagan began the assault on the middle class with the attempt of destroying popular arts in the system and artists were chased out of the Gaslamp. By 1990 when Clinton was elected there was a hopeful look for the arts and artists again reorganized and created the EastVillage Arts District with the partnership of Chicano Park artist Mario Torero and the visionary collaboration of architect Wayne Buss. The arts were thriving then again at our new ReIncarnation Arts Center, throughout the nineties. Then once again artists were shaded out by corporate gentrification of the downtown ballpark.
This time artists were kicked out of downtown. Most scattered throughout the region and to BarrioLogan, the source of this contemporary arts movement in our city, which became refuge to the concept of the creation of an arts district in San Diego because we have proven that the arts can thrive when artists live and worked together in a defined space. We had seen what our creative power was when we had a culturalArts Center that supported artists living, producing and sharing their creations in an arts district.
So after the destruction of the ReIncarnation Arts Center with San Dieogo's 'artists Icon' mural of the 'Eyes of Picasso', in 2004, the artivists veterans again for the third time in 2005 regroup to resist and plot to reestablish our downtown arts district but this time we decided to combine and unite the two neighboring urban communities of the barrios with downtown as the new, "BarioLogan/EastVillage Arts District"' the BL/EV or what we called the 'BELIEVE' Project.
Our goal was to establish an arts district that was downtown but that it incorporated the BarrioLogan district with its epic center of ChicanoPark.
We would again reconstruct a multi-cultural arts center downtown that would not only serve all San Diego but also serve the artists of the barrios east and south of downtown. That project was a ten year program 2005-2015, where we would create a sanctuary of artists district and a new arts center downtown.
That effort showed a victorious result with the creation of the Space4Arts in the East Village and the ongoing thriving BarrioLogan Arts District. We took a following stride plan for the next five years 2015- 2020' Vision 2020, to complete the reunion of the barrio with downtown under one art banner. So now in 2017, as we are thriving as Chicano Artists with other new white artists moving into our barrio arts district, we have been energized and made stronger in our vision to hold on to our roots culture and neighborhood. While Chicanos have drawn the 'line in the hood' and have determined to hold on and 'save the Barrio' from the continuous gentrification threat. We have just felt empowered further with the national and regional recognition that Chicano Park is a jewel that will be preserved and lifted in San Diego. So with great pride and efforts we used then power of our arte to successfully beat down a Goliath threat upon the barrio with the defeated downtown stadium proposal. CHICANO ART CONTINUES TO THRIVE AND WE DONT NEED YOUR STINKING MONEY!!