By Christopher Gomez
Every year, the streets of Little Italy transform at the annual Mission Federal ArtWalk with art from more than 350 artists from around the world on display! This year, Mission Federal ArtWalk will celebrate 35 years of bringing visual and performing art to San Diego on Saturday, April 27, and Sunday, April 28, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The weekend-long premier arts and culture event spans 16 blocks and brings the community an opportunity to meet the artists behind the artwork and purchase art directly from them. More than 120,000 attendees roam the streets of Little Italy to browse every medium of art including painting, sculpture, glass work, photography, fine jewelry and more.
The free cultural festival is unlike any other with a variety of interactive art experiences, one-of-a-kind dance performances, street food, exceptional live music, family-friendly art projects at KidsWalk and more! Returning and first-time attendees can expect brand new and unique event elements. One of these new additions includes a surfboard art auction in partnership with Rerip, a nonprofit organization that specializes in repurposing surfboards to minimize waste. Artists used various mediums to transform surfboards into original artwork to be auctioned off. Grammy Award-winner and San Diego’s very own Jason Mraz will be creating his own masterpiece that will be displayed at the festival and auctioned online. Another prominent participating artist includes San Diego artist Jeremy Sicile-Kira, an artist with autism and synesthesia — a condition that allows him to see letters, words and emotions in color. Sicile-Kira received national recognition for his works of art — painting the “colors” he sees of people, organizations and businesses. He will be painting a surfboard showcasing “the colors” of Mraz’s “Have It All” song from his latest album, “Know.”
The surfboard art auction benefits ArtReach, Mission Federal ArtWalk’s nonprofit partner that delivers visual arts education to K-8 schools that have no other art education throughout San Diego County. Interested bidders can register online now and view the surfboards on both the Mission Federal ArtWalk and ArtReach websites, as well as at the event in the Piazza della Famiglia between India and Date Streets. Bidders can register online at charityauction.bid/artreachsandiego.
Along with the auction, Artist & Craftsman Supply will return to host an interactive art project where attendees can come together and participate in making their own art prints. Guests can also enjoy Mission Federal ArtWalk’s new dance program, ArtMoves, which will be located on India Street near Grape Street. Rebekah Brown, San Diego Dance Theater’s performing arts coordinator, and Ian Isles, a San Diego based choreographer and dancer, will produce the spectacular dance performances.
San Diego locals and visitors can spend the weekend exploring different types of art, meeting artists from around the U.S. and Mexico, and enjoying live entertainment in the Little Italy neighborhood!
To stay connected with Little Italy, check out what’s going on in the neighborhood by following the community on Instagram and Twitter: @LittleItalySD and Facebook: LittleItalySD. To learn more things happening in the neighborhood, visit LittleItalySD.com.
— Christopher Gomez has been Little Italy’s district manager since 2000. Reach him at email@example.com.