10 Reasons to Explore San Diego’s Mission Federal ArtWalk

Mission Federal Art Walk in Little Italy

Along with colorful blooms and warm winds, Springtime in San Diego brings a signature event that’s as vibrant and lively as the budding flowers of the region.

Mission Federal Art Walk in Little Italy

Each year, Mission Federal ArtWalk takes over San Diego’s Little Italy District for two days, to celebrate the talents of visual and performing artists from California and beyond. Now in its 28th Year, ArtWalk is the largest art event that takes place in San Diego. With over 350 renowned artists displaying their work for purchase, you just may find the next piece of art to covet in your collection. Plus, with musical and dance performances, art activities for the kids, and much more, there’s plenty of things to do, see, taste and experience.

When: Saturday, April 28 through Sunday, April 29. 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Where: 17 city blocks of San Diego’s Little Italy District

10 Reasons to Go:

1. It’s free!
Need I say more? Read on for the activities and festivities for you and your family to enjoy during the two-day festival, all without an admission fee.

2. Live Music
With five stages set up along India Street featuring local bands and musicians, lively tunes will fill the streets of Little Italy. Check the schedule to see who’s playing when and where.

Mission Federal Art Walk Music

3. Dance Performances
New this year, there will a stage devoted to celebrating the dance community in San Diego. “Dance on Edge” features a showcase by Peter Kalivas, Artistic Director of the PGK Dance Project, featuring San Diego’s talented dancers.

4. Art Activities for Kids
Collaborating with leading local arts organizations like The New Children’s Museum, Birch Aquarium and Coronado School of the Arts, ArtWalk presents KidsWalk, a free interactive arts area for kids. Enjoy 20 interactive arts activities with your family, including painting, performing arts, music and more.

5. Food
Situated in what some consider the culinary center of downtown San Diego, visitors have an opportunity to experience the delectable restaurants of Little Italy, as well as street food stands that will be set up at the Festival.

6. Meet the Artists
With over 350 exhibiting artists, the festival provides a great opportunity to meet and engage with working artists, including nationally renowned artists like photographer Chris Honeysett, or ceramicist Hasuyo Miller. For a full list of this year’s featured artists, click here.

7. Acquire an Original Work of Art
ArtWalk provides a rare opportunity to examine a work of art up close, in a casual and approachable setting. The artists are there to tell you about their inspiration and process, providing great insight in to a piece that may have drawn you in at first glance. This is my favorite part of ArtWalk, to see a gem, then have the opportunity to engage with the artist on the spot. With prices ranging from $50 to $15,000, this is a great venue to purchase an original. Whether you’re a novice or experienced art collector, you may find the next perfect piece to add to your collection.

8. Get Outdoors
Experiencing 17 city blocks worth of visual art, dance, music and cuisine with your family only gets better under clear blue skies, balmy temperatures and the legendary SoCal sunshine.

9. Interactive Printmaking Activity
Roll up your sleeves and tap into your inner artist! You’ll have a chance to work with noted artist Valentine Viannay to create an original silkscreen print of your own, or to contribute to a community collaboration piece of art.

10. Learn About Art Outreach in Schools
ArtWalk and ArtReach are committed to promoting the arts in San Diego schools. Representatives from both organizations, as well as from Mission Federal Credit Union, will engage with festival-goers about their commitment to fostering an interest, love and appreciation for art amongst younger generations.


MOPA’s Photography Exhibitions Awe and Inspire

Infinite Balance showcases artists shortlisted for the world’s top prize for photography and sustainability.

One of my favorite art museums in San Diego is MOPA (Museum of Photographic Arts). Located in the appropriately picturesque setting of Balboa Park, my admiration for this museum not only stems from their consistent showcase of highly inventive and beautiful photographic art, but also because I always leave there with more knowledge and awareness of the world around me. The power of photography is undeniable, and the current exhibitions deliver a true visual tour-de-force.

Located in the Casa de Balboa Building in Balboa Park, MOPA is one of few institutions in the US dedicated to presenting the entire spectrum of the photographic medium.

The headliner exhibition, Infinite Balance: Artists and the Environment is the first US presentation of artists shortlisted for the prestigious Prix Pictet, the world’s top prize for photography and sustainability. The show presents the work of acclaimed contemporary photographers from across the globe, created under the three guiding themes: Earth, Growth and Water.

Infinite Balance showcases artists shortlisted for the world’s top prize for photography and sustainability.

The pictures are stunning – alarming, somber and telling about the impact of human progress on the environment. Many of the works are large-scale, presented beautifully in MOPA’s modern and open gallery space, leaving plenty of room to walk around, step back and absorb the photographs. There is a seating area set up in the main exhibition space, with monitors that show interactive videos created by the Prix Pictet. In these videos, artists talk about each of the themes represented in the exhibition – Earth, Growth and Water – providing a broader context to the work on display.

The second exhibition showcases the whimsical and creative talent of San Diego’s youth.  The 2011 Annual Youth Exhibition, See/Saw, features photography and film produced by San Diego student artists, created during MOPA’s education programs in 2011. Each photograph displays the name and grade level of each student artist. Many of the photographs are accompanied by artist statements written by the students themselves. The wonderfully fresh photographic works provide authentic and unencumbered views of the world, seen through the eyes of San Diego’s youth. Not only was I astonished by the high-caliber quality of the artwork, but was surprised also how clearly and concisely each artist conveyed their ideas in the artist statements. An innovative and interactive feature of See/Saw is a SMS text messaging system that allows you to send your comments to the student artists directly. I loved that I could to send encouraging feedback to a few of my favorite artists from the show.

MOPA's annual youth exhibition, "See/Saw" showcases photographic art by San Diego's youth.

The exhibition also highlights a special program that MOPA developed in India earlier this year, using photography to teach Indian teens to explore environmental issues in their communities. The photographs taken by twenty Indian students who participated in the program in January of 2011 are on display, revealing insightful and haunting images of the rural region in India. This video showcases the program developed by MOPA.

Both exhibitions are on view for the next few months: Infinite Balance closes February 5, 2012, and See/Saw closes on January 29, 2012.

Want to check out these exhibitions for yourself? We’re giving away two (2) sets of four (4) MOPA guest passes! Leave a comment by Noon on Thursday, November 10, 2011 for a chance to win!