In Arts and Culture, Community News, Creative Placemaking, Diamond Neighborhoods, Partnerships, Performance, Southeastern San Diego


San Diego – April 11, 2018 –In 2015, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation launched an artist-in-residence program to provide artists an opportunity to develop and present high quality arts experiences while using the arts to engage the community.

“Our inaugural partnership with poet, musician, DJ, host and writer Gil Situ was an overwhelming success and we are looking forward to introducing two new artists to the community to inspire the people of Southeastern San Diego,” explained Reginald Jones, President and CEO of the Jacobs Center.  “We believe in the power of the arts as a tool for community engagement and as a way to stimulate conversation and creative activities.”

During his time at the Jacobs Center, artist Gil Sotu led a number of exciting and fascinating projects, including his play H.E.R.O.E.S, Ordinary Magic: a spoken-word opera, and two Poets & Painters Spoken Word, Music, and Graffiti Arts Festivals. Since completing his residency, Gil has joined the San Diego Old Globe as a teaching artist and serves as a guest artist with the San Diego Symphony.

Selected for two-year residencies are San Diego artists Macedonio Arteaga and Gina M. Jackson.  Their focus will be on enhancing community engagement through the arts.  They will focus on creating great exposure to the arts and provide opportunities to experience and participate.  They each receive a stipend along with creative space to work, access to performance venues and support from JCNI for community presentations and workshops.

An actor and writer, Macedonio Arteaga has 20-years of experience working with youth development programs and with the San Diego Unified School District.  He is the co-founder, writer, teacher and Artistic Director of Teatro Izcalli, a group that has performed throughout the United States with original sketches and distinctive voice.  He has also written two full length plays that have been produced at the Lyceum Theatre.  Izcalli also produced successful Dia de los Muertos Festivals at the Jacobs Center.  Macedonio has spoken at schools and conferences as a motivational speaker and has received numerous community awards and recognitions for his work with youth and the arts including: 2005 KPBS Local Hero of the Year Award; 2005 Bank of America Neighborhood Excellence Local Hero Award, 2006 Chula Vista Community Collaborative Males as Positive Forces Award, and the 2014 Hispanicize National Positive Impact Award.   He previously served as a Commissioner for the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, has a published book titled, Nopal Boy & Other Actos, and is celebrated in the City of San Diego on February 27th as Macedonio Arteaga Jr. Day.

Macedonio, who lives 10 minutes from the Jacobs Center, will be an innovative, fresh voice for the community.  “I’m looking forward to creating two theatre pieces that will be open to community people and bringing in diverse audiences to support the work of JCNI,” he said.

Gina M. Jackson is an established educator, teaching English at San Diego Community College District and San Diego Unified School District.  Jackson is also an accomplished artist, active in creating and producing works for theatre that reflect the African Diaspora and its people.  In 2010, Jackson founded Cultural Noire Performing Arts Company.  Her artistic work ranges from collaborations with local artists to partnerships with international cultural institutions.  Through her theater company, Jackson collaborates with Project1Voice (New York City) in its annual “One Play, One Day” global theatrical movement.

Through a partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (Washington, D.C.), Jackson produced in San Diego “Lift Every Voice,” celebrating the museum’s 2016 Grand Opening, involving local artists and performers along with presenting partners including the San Diego Public Library/Malcolm X Library, and the WorldBeat Cultural Center.  As a creative educator, Jackson incorporates the arts into her teaching, including having created afterschool theatre programs with SAY San Diego and the Encanto Boys and Girls Club.  She is a 2008 recipient of the California State Assembly’s Teacher Appreciation Award.  For three consecutive summers (2012 -2014) Jackson was named a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar, a nationally-competitive fellowship.  Her research areas included study of the Mississippi Delta (2012) and the life and works of Duke Ellington (2014).  Jackson continues her ongoing theatrical training with Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, CA and Meisner/Chekhov Integrated Training Studio in San Diego, CA.

Beyond her creative work, Jackson continuously advocates for the arts for San Diego’s diverse audiences.  She is a Commissioner for the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, and a Board Director for the City of San Diego Horton Plaza Theatres Foundation.  She has previously served as President of the Friends of Malcolm X Library, helping further the library’s arts and cultural programming.

“I’m looking forward to working to expose the richness of the arts to the community and bringing the community to a collective creative space to experience as patrons and/or to create as artists,” she explained.  “I’ll be presenting rich stories, including those representing the African Diaspora, through the medium of theatre and other artistic genres.”


# # #


The mission of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation is to foster a thriving community envisioned and realized by its residents. Founded in 1995, the Jacobs Center works with the community to revitalize Southeastern San Diego’s Diamond Neighborhoods through redevelopment, fostering education to careers programs, and advancing the local economy. Learn more at www.JacobsCenter.org