Barrio Logan’s newest art space launches to large, art hungry crowd
By Brent E. Beltrán
La Bodega Gallery and Creative Studios held their grand opening celebration on Saturday night to a massive, art-loving audience. Hundreds of people from throughout San Diego made their way to Barrio Logan for the inaugural event.
La Bodega, the creation of Milo, Chris Zertuche, Max Bojorquez and Bucky Montero, is located on the corner of Logan Ave. and Sampson St. In addition to housing a gallery it also hosts artistic studios from area artists and designers including The Spot, DJ V-Rock, Dos Caras Swimwear, San Diego Taco Company, Border X Brewing, Waist Knot Want Not, Spencer Little, Valor Fight Club and others. About eighteen artists studios will eventually be housed inside La Bodega.
Milo says that “we still have a lot of work to do.” The renovations to the building are about 60% done but enough work has taken place that the Bodega crew felt comfortable holding a grand opening.
The historic building that La Bodega occupies was built in 1917 and was originally The Bank of Italy. It went through many changes over the years including being the Barrio Station, Youth Build and for many years Porkyland.
The opening art exhibit featured work by over eighty artists, all using vinyl LP’s as their canvas. Some of the artists included in the first exhibit were Mario Chacon, Anselmo Juan, The Roots Factory, Patricia Aguayo, Maxx Moses, Letitia Rogers, Hector Villegas, Mario Torero, Revolución Cultural, Marisol de las Casas, Ricardo Islas, Chikle, Cesar Castañeda, Sinners Brand and many more whose work has been shown throughout Barrio Logan and other underground art spaces.
In the future, instead of having big group shows like the opening, La Bodega will focus on smaller exhibits with the art being up longer. “There will be fewer shows but they will have more of an impact,” says Milo. Though the occasional large show, Día de los Muertos for instance, will take place.
Visual art was not the only thing going on at the opening. The evening also featured live music by Black Hondo and The Beautiful View as well as DJ sets by V-Rock, Artform and Saratoga Sake. Plus, there was beer tasting by local brewers Border X Brewing and tacos by San Diego Taco Company.
“I think that it is a great thing for the community,” stated longtime San Diego/Tijuana musician/artist Luis Anahuac Sandez. “Hopefully this project, La Bodega, will blossom and bring a lot more businesses to the area and not let gentrification take over and leave us behind.”
Artist and San Diego Free Press contributor Letitia Rogers had a piece in the exhibit. Though she doesn’t live in Barrio Logan she feels adopted by its artistic community. “I love the space. I’m very excited for the guys running it. I’m excited for the neighborhood. I think it has fantastic energy. It’s really based in the neighborhood but it also brings new people in. It’s very welcoming. I’m very proud to be a part of it,” she said outside the opening.
Chicano Park co-founder and Barrio Logan maven Victor Ochoa appreciates the opening of another art space in the community, “I truly feel at home in the new barrio renaissance,” he said as he talked at the opening about going to an exhibit at Bread & Salt earlier in the week and then saw Bill Caballero’s Latin Jazz Jam at Voz Alta the same night.
The opening of La Bodega is a shining example of the new barrio art renaissance taking place within the relatively small confines of Barrio Logan. Chicano Park may be the parent of art and culture in Logan but art spaces like the recently opened Chicano Art Gallery, as well as barrio mainstays Voz Alta, The Roots Factory, Stronghold, Bread & Salt and others, are its proud children carrying on the legacy of barrio art for all to see and enjoy.
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