San Diego Union-Tribune — Oct. 30, 2012

Written by James Chute

Writerz Blok, an innovative youth arts program based in southeastern San Diego, was one of the community organizations involved in developing “The Village at Market Creek Art + Design Plan.”

The San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture in partnership with the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and the Jacobs Family Foundation has completed a plan to create an “Arts and Culture District” at the Village at Market Creek.

Funded by a $150,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” program that was matched by the Jacobs Center and the Jacobs Family Foundation, the plan provides an “arts overlay” for roughly 60 acres in southeastern San Diego anchored by Market Creek Plaza and the Village Transit Hub.

“Creating a new arts and culture district will help build our community’s economic strength and enhance its beauty and vitality, and that is something we can all celebrate,” said San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders in a statement. The mayor, council president Tony Young (who represents District 4) and members of the arts commission held a news conference Monday to release the plan.

A “road map” for the integration of art and culture into the neighborhood, “The Village at Market Creek Art + Design Plan” identifies common values and themes that should be reflected in the art, potential art forms (27 different genres, ranging from water elements and graffiti to painting and digital art), possible locations and design guidelines.

The plan was developed by the partnership from a nine-month process that included monthly meetings involving more than 100 community members and organizations, smaller group meeting and discussions with artists, planners, architects and designers (in particular MIG and Bennett Peji Design).

The Arts Commission and its partners are applying for a second grant from the NEA’s “Our Town” program that would fund the design of art works. The Jacobs Center will also be launching a campaign to attract support from private donors and developers in the community.

“People might think art is for the more fortunate and those who have time for leisure and recreation,” said Kristine Breese, director of strategic partnerships for the Jacobs Family Foundation and Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation. “But we found (to this community) it is core and central.”

The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation is a non-profit foundation that operates on the premise that residents must own and drive the change that takes place in their community for it to be meaningful and long-lasting. JCNI explores new pathways to change through entrepreneurial relationships, hands-on training, and the creative investment of resources.