Festival highlights diversity and talent of Uptown
On May 12, the North Park arts community came together for the 22nd annual San Diego County Credit Union’s Festival of the Arts. The free, annual event showcased local art, music, culinary and brew craft, and more. This year featured more than 100 artists, live art, four performance stages and a craft beer block.
Approximately 40,000 residents and visitors attended. All festival proceeds benefited North Park Main Street, the nonprofit organization committed to the development of the North Park Business Improvement District.
San Diego Uptown News chatted with a few of the locals who participated in the festival about their background and involvement with the neighborhood event.
Patric Stillman is a North Park resident and owner of Studio Door, a local arts center that brings diverse artists together. For the festival, he partnered with Hanalei Artworks to host the second annual “Gallery in the Street,” held on 31st Street and University Avenue.
“We brought along 35 artists and created sort of a gallery environment within the festival. This year I brought Cayce Hanalei into the picture because she’s been doing [exhibitions for] a lot of local artists in untraditional spaces, such as bars and coffeehouses, including Mike Hess Brewing.” —Patric Stillman
Stillman, Chris Smith and Cassandra Schramm also collaborated with the bike sharing company ofo, who offered special deals in the neighborhood in conjunction to the festival. The three artists painted three bikes that ofo had pulled from the streets to encourage attendees to not drive cars to the festival.
Rae Stewart, a Chula Vista screen printing artist, recently opened up Inkies Diner on El Cajon Boulevard on the border of University Heights and North Park. Stewart studied graphic design, screen printing and metalsmithing at San Diego State University.
After working with the shirt design company Tag District, she decided to do open up her “shirts and signs” business. Though Stewart attended the event last year, this was Inkies Diner’s debut on Ray Street and she appreciated the festival’s shift to promoting local talent this year.
“It’s always been the ‘Arts Festival,’ but I feel like this year they have really trying to push it and being like, ‘We want local people. We want to show what we have to offer. Like, hey, let’s make things local so people can see things [in our neighborhoods].’”
Sol Orchid performed at the Bluefoot Stage at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The Uptown music group describes its sound as ‘Soul Rock,’ a mixture of soul and rock ‘n’ roll. They formed last year and regularly play Uptown venues including Seven Grand, Soda Bar, The Casbah, and Blonde Bar.
Band members include Golden Hill resident Jenny Hecht, vocals; Mission Valley resident Alex Rivera, guitarist; Golden Hill resident Kyle Reynolds, bass; and North Park resident Dan Ercoli, drummer.
“We popped our festival cherry this year and hope to play more! We got involved through our friends Jason Noble at City Beat and Adam Cook at Bluefoot Bar. Our favorite part was playing with other awesome local artists and friends, such as the Wild Wild Wets, Bruin, and Mt. Pleasant, as well as the fun community vibe and professional crew.”