Amaris Munoz, Southeastern San Diego Community Resident
On Saturday, March 9, 2019, the Southeastern San Diego community came together at the Gathering Place, located on 50th Street and Imperial Avenue in Lincoln Park, to celebrate the establishment of a permanent kaleidoscope art installation.
The “Mine’s Eye” kaleidoscope, made of used bike parts and funded through a grant from The San Diego Foundation, was guided by local community artist, Mr. Maxx Moses in collaboration with the Urban Collaborative Project, a non-profit organization and outreach program in San Diego to make safety, civic engagement, health and beauty, a neighborhood practice. The Urban Collaborative Project embraces the values and vision for creating a healthy, safe and thriving community in Southeastern San Diego.
Moses worked with students from Sweetwater High School participating in the Community ARTS Design Challenge, a program of A Reason to Survive (ARTS), to design and fabricate the kaleidoscope. The program helps these students satisfy their high school’s Career Technical Education requirement by participating in an off-site, work-based learning opportunity. A Reason to Survive provides these work-based learning opportunities by engaging students in civic design and community improvement projects throughout Southeastern San Diego.
It was through the creation of the kaleidoscope sculpture that Moses hoped the participating students would learn about the challenges and successes of the creative process and be able to relate these lessons to their lives in order to help them develop positive life skills and a healthy mindset.
The Southeastern San Diego community has struggled with achieving outcomes for living well – the community experiences significant health issues, is more affected by crime and has been less engaged in civic activities. But, there is much more to this culturally diverse and artistically rich community.
Above: Kaleidoscope art located at the Gathering Place on 50th Street and Imperial Avenue
“This spot, the Gathering Place, has had a huge impact on the hope, pride and “ownership” of the community of Lincoln Park,” shared Barry Pollard, founder of the Urban Collaborative Project.
The creation of community spaces such as the Gathering Place and beautification projects like this kaleidoscope art installation are engaging residents and helping them take ownership of their community.
One local attendee of the kaleidoscope installation celebration who also grew up in Southeastern San Diego mentioned, “It made me see how the ARTS program and projects like these, could be something positive for neighborhoods like mine. And how it could be extremely helpful to others because this can be the first step to help them steer away from the negative statistics that often define their community.”