Taste of University Heights/Arts Open
By Christine Huard
Food and art are on the menu this weekend at the Taste of University Heights and University Heights Arts Open, scheduled from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The collaborative event features a dozen neighborhood restaurants and more than 100 visual and performing artists.
Sponsored by the University Heights Community Development Corp., the event will kick off at Trolley Barn Park on Adams Avenue at Florida Street.
The UHCDC organizing committee chooses a theme each year for artists to use in their work. Previous themes have drawn on historic icons, such as the cobblestones that dot the neighborhood and the ostrich egg, which recalls the community’s past as home to an ostrich farm. This year’s theme is the culinary arts, a natural pairing with the Taste of University Heights event.
Combining the two events was a great way to get more people involved, said Ernie Bonn, UHCDC treasurer.
“With this economy it’s a way to stimulate people to try out some of the new restaurants in the neighborhood,” said Bonn. “And, it’s interesting, too, because you get to go into the artist studios. It really gives you an overview of the community and how nice it is.”
Abel Woldemichael, owner of Muzita Abyssinian Restaurant, made the suggestion to include the Taste event this year.
“Why not put the two together? People who are interested in art are interested in food,” he said. “They complement each other.”
“With so many new restaurants on Park Boulevard that have opened, it’s the perfect time.”
The event is designed to appeal to all the senses throughout the day. Sample some of the delicious dishes offered by the community’s diverse eateries and take a free, self-guided tour of the arts. Participating restaurants include Mama’s Bakery and Lebanese Deli, Muzita Abyssinian Bistro, Soltan Banoo, Monica’s At the Park, El Zarape Mexican Restaurant, Pizza Gourmet Express, Twiggs, Gulf Coast Grill, Loving Hut, Bahia Mexican and Seafood Restaurant, Eclipse Chocolat, Pizzeria Luigi and Cream Coffee Bar.
There are more than 20 open artist studios and venues hosting art displays, music and theatrical performances, including Trolley Barn Park, which will be the site of more than 40 visual artists displaying their paintings, sculptures, jewelry, glass art, mixed-media work and photography, as well as community-group exhibitors and children’s activities. Theater companies and local playwrights will present one-act plays at the Swedenborgian Church of San Diego, 4144 Campus Ave. Diversionary Theater will feature an exhibit by artist Albert Jackson in its lobby, 4545 Park Blvd.
The arts open is a walking tour, but a free trolley will provide shuttle service to nine drop-off and pickup points encompassing the neighborhood, from Trolley Barn Park to Maryland Street to El Cajon Boulevard.
Taste of University Heights tickets are available for $15 in advance or $20 the day of the event. For more information, call UHCDC at (619) 297-3166 or Muzita Bistro at (619)546-7900. To download the program, visit the University Heights Arts Association web site at www.uharts.org.