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Monday, January 21, 2019

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Students brought art to the "BLVD Market." Students brought art to the "BLVD Market."

Art for All

SDSU students used art to create a space for the community to gather.
By Jack Haworth

San Diego State University's School of Art and Design is helping bring the San Diego community together through art.

The school joined forces with the El Cajon Boulevard Business Association to complete a local place-making project. Last fall, art students designed and painted a parking lot in the 2800 block of El Cajon Boulevard.

“Art can make public spaces into places,” said Kotaro Nakamura, director of the School of Art and Design. “It’s a bridge between the academic art and also the community.”

Nakamura explained that there were two main goals of the project — to turn an ordinary space into a place that the community will enjoy and to showcase student art out in the community.

“Because many people on campus may not know of the galleries our department has, the art has to go out into the community,” Nakamura said.

Community impact

The art is already making an impact as the El Cajon Boulevard Business Association has begun hosting a monthly food court in the newly-painted parking lot.

The food court is called “BLVD Market” and takes place on the third Friday of every month.

“There is art you can put on a wall, and then there is art you can do that really matters to all people,” Nakamura said. “A food court in a parking lot without the art would be boring, but this really energizes that space.”

The painting of the parking lot took place over the course of one weekend with the hard work of students and faculty. While the school provided the labor and design, the association and property owner funded the painting.

Their work has helped make “BLVD Market” a success with more than 10 food vendors and positive community interaction during each event. Nakamura hopes to continue working with the association to bring more art into the community.

“People can really experience art this way, it brings the art out to more people,” Nakamura said.