The environmental planning group Walk Score recently named North Park one of America’s Most Walkable Neighborhoods with a Walk Score of 89/100. This summer, the ‘hood known for its craft beer and chic boutiques is giving visitors even more reasons to walk about.
Spearheaded by the North Park Property and Business Improvement District (NPPBID), a program managed by North Park Main Street (the local business improvement district), a project dubbed Interchange has commissioned a series of temporary, site-specific art installations woven into the fabric of North Park. Created by six San Diego artists, these projects transform the community’s existing architecture to generate art encounters in everyday existence.
The project transforms unlikely settings for art — like an alleyway, empty storefront, and vacant lot — into neighborhood galleries. “Business and commercial property owners in our community receive services above and beyond what is provided by the city, including graffiti and litter removal, sidewalk pressure washing, and beautification projects,” said Angela Landsberg, executive director of the NPPBID. “Creating art exhibits like Interchange is just one of the many things we do to create a more economically vibrant community by attracting customers to the streets of North Park to enjoy our many unique shops and cafes.”
In her tenure as executive director of NPPBID, Landsberg has expanded the popular SDCCU Festival of Arts in North Park and the neighborhood’s Thursday farmers market. She also introduced an innovative program where a full-time homeless outreach coordinator works to connect people living on the streets with access to housing and other resources needed to improve their quality of life. “Our goal is not to shuffle people off, but to make meaningful, lasting, and positive change in their lives,” she says.
Like North Park’s other cultural endeavors, the Interchange project seeks to facilitate meaningful exchanges throughout the community: between artists and the built environment, between artwork and observer, and among community members. By activating oft-overlooked spaces, the artwork creates unexpected moments of discovery. Awakening their senses and empowering them to engage in the act of looking, observers connect more deeply with the world around them.
The circuit of dynamic installations serves to enhance shared public spaces, encourage cultural tourism, strengthen the neighborhood’s local identity as an arts and culture destination, embed art and artists more deeply into the community, and enhance citizens’ pride and sense of place. Artwork will be unveiled across the community throughout the summer and a free one-hour guided tour is set for Saturday, Aug. 3, which begins at 10 a.m. at North Park Main Street, located at 3939 Iowa St.
“Interchange recognizes artists as essential in shaping community life and art’s ability to rethink urban space as a platform for creative expression and shared cultural dialogue,” said Landsberg.
Participating artists include Robert Andrade,
Ashley Fenderson, Xuchi Naungayan Eggleton, Scott Polach, Derek Weiler, and Allison Wiese. “We selected these artists because their work reflects the spirit of North Park,” said Landsberg. “It is thoughtful, provocative, and edgy. These artists all have something very special to say and we are honored that they’ve chosen to use our community as their canvas.”
For more information, visit: interchangeprojectsd.com and