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Culture Report: Making Space for San Diego Makers

san diego made

The women behind San Diego Made sitting on top of their new building in Logan Heights. / Photo by Drew McGill Photography

As neighborhoods like North Park, Barrio Logan and East Village continue to grow and develop, the artists and craftspeople who once inhabited cheap spaces there are being priced out.

Coupled with the crackdown last year on unpermitted arts spaces, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find affordable studios and workspaces.

But now, a group of artists and designers who lost their studio spaces in Barrio Logan last year is gearing up to open a huge new warehouse for creative folks. They’re turning a 12,000-square-foot warehouse at 2031 Commercial St. in Logan Heights into studios for artists and craftsmen, co-working offices and an event venue.

San Diego Made warehouse

Inside the San Diego Made warehouse / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

Sarah Anderson, Kristin Dinnis, Brook Dailey and Brittany Wiczek are the women behind San Diego Made, a coalition of local artists and craftsman who have been staging shopping events at various locations in the region since 2014.

Union Barrio Logan closed in 2017. The building’s leaseholder wanted to pre-empt citations from the city related to illegal construction inside the warehouse. When that happened, the San Diego Made crew, who were all subletting studios inside the warehouse, doubled down on efforts already underway to find a permanent home for their growing coalition.

They eventually landed at the large warehouse on Commercial Street, and have been slowly but surely navigating the city’s complicated permitting process.

“When Union closed, we realized the extensive amount of work we were going to have to do to get permits,” said Dinnis, a clothing designer who specializes in ballroom gowns. “The hardest, most stressful, scary, intense part of this whole process was the permitting. … But doing it right was really, really important to us.”

They have cleared most of the permitting hurdles and are planning to start construction on the space in coming months, they said. The hope is to be open by spring of 2019. They’ve secured a loan, but will also soon be launching a crowd-funding campaign to help cover some of the construction costs.

Anderson, a woodworker who builds custom furniture and fixtures, said they also have plans to make the building a resource center. They want to host seminars and workshops that can help people turn their hobbies or passions into sustainable careers. She said just having a place to create, plus talk to other like-minded people, is a valuable resource itself.

“Community is everything,” Anderson said.”Community enables so much more than you can do on your own. … By building this community, that’s what we’re giving to people is the ability for them to be able to come and meet people, learn from them, grow their business and afford to do it.”
  • Speaking of new space for artists; Space 4 Art, a nonprofit that lost half its studios and gallery space in East Village last year, is taking over Sparks Gallery downtown for an exhibition and fundraiser for its project that promises to build an affordable, permanent center for arts in Sherman Heights.
You’re reading the Culture ReportVoice of San Diego’s weekly collection of the region’s cultural news.

Goodbye, Culture Report Readers

Writing the weekly Culture Report is one of the highlights of my gig here at Voice of San Diego.

I love digging up stories about San Diego’s arts and culture scene and pulling together the rest of the week’s cultural news for a loyal and steadily growing list of subscribers who care about keeping creativity alive in our region.

But this will be the last Culture Report I’ll write. Thanks so much for reading my words, folks.

Image via Shutterstock

It’s my last week here at VOSD. Next week, I start in my new role as KPBS podcast producer and project coordinator. Those of you who know me well won’t be surprised. Podcasting is my jam. I’ll miss the Voice crew, of course, and I’m grateful for my time here, but the opportunity to follow my podcast passion was just too exciting to pass up.

Don’t be too alarmed, though. The plan is to keep the Culture Report going. It may go on hiatus in coming weeks, but the VOSD team will be working to bring it back.

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Fern Street Circus has performed as part of the Port of San Diego’s public art program. / Photo courtesy of the Port of San Diego

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  • It’s that time of year again. Time to take the kids to as many pumpkin patches as I can. This weekend, I’ll be heading to Wynola for the pumpkin patch at the Julian Mining Company and Julian Farm and Orchard.
pumpkin patch julian

The Julian Farm & Orchard pumpkin patch / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

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Image via Shutterstock

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