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City of San Diego to Distribute $1M in Funding to Support Artists Struggling Amid Pandemic

Mayor Faulconer Announces Initiatives to Bring Public Art to City Parks & Diversify Civic Art Collection With New Works From Local Artists

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - NEWS RELEASE 

SAN DIEGO – As part of the City’s efforts to provide economic relief to those struggling financially during the pandemic, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer today announced $1 million in funding to support local artists, bolster public art in neighborhood parks and expand the Civic Art Collection.

This funding is available through private donations and fees developers pay into the City’s Public Art Fund. 

As COVID-19 continues to devastate the global economy, local artists are among many struggling to make ends meet as work opportunities are scarce. To support those artists, the City of San Diego is launching two new initiatives to beautify public spaces like City parks and add new works to the City’s collection.

“As we continue to slowly reopen our economy, we’re looking for ways to help folks get through this difficult period and begin to recover,” Mayor Faulconer said. “That’s why we’re launching two new initiatives that will provide work for many struggling artists and create beautiful, thought-provoking public art for everyone to enjoy.”

The first arts initiative, SD Practice, will support artists through the direct purchase of existing artwork, providing income to working artists. This effort is made possible through a $500,000 gift from the late Thomas O. Rasmussen, an avid contemporary art collector. 

Information on how artists can apply to participate in SD Practice can be found on the City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture website or at PDF icon sandiego.gov/SDPractice. Artwork purchased through the SD Practice initiative will diversify the City’s Civic Art Collection with different types of art, such as paintings, sculptures and media-based works.

“It’s important to consider that many of the artworks in the Civic Art Collection were created during the New Deal work-relief programs,” said Christine E. Jones, Chief of Civic Art Strategies for the City’s Commission for Arts and Culture. “In the past, many artists have found times of hardship and suffering to be perfect catalysts for launching their artistic practices. In response to COVID-19, the City is reviving this practice through direct purchases and implementation of projects that support the creativity of local artists and have a positive impact on diverse communities.”

With the second initiative, Park Social, the City is commissioning San Diego artists to develop site-specific temporary projects that create moments of reflection in park settings. The $500,000 initiative is made possible thanks to a family bequest and developer fees paid to the Public Art Fund for the artistic enhancement of the City’s public spaces. It is anticipated that Park Social will launch this summer.

Through this opportunity, local artists will develop innovative, thought-provoking projects that relate to a space or spaces in the City’s park system and directly connect the visitor and the park. These potential participants, collaborators and contacts will energize the artist’s own creative practice and provide individuals and communities with a moment of surprise, beauty, deep thought or humor.

The goal of Park Social is to empower people to get out into the parks post-COVID-19 and experience the park space in new, interesting ways. To learn more about SD Practice or Park Social visit Artist Opportunities or the City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture.

“Artists are important contributors to the creative ecosystem. They are vital to our city, serving as economic generators and community cultural connectors,” said Jonathon Glus, Executive Director of the Commission for Arts and Culture. “This is an investment in San Diego artists at work to bolster the artistic infrastructure of our city and a key ingredient for the wellbeing, prosperity and joy of everyone in the city.”

For more information on the California “Stay At Home” order, including what’s closed, what’s open and which industries are exempted by the state, please visit California COVID-19 response website.

For information regarding COVID-19 cases and directives from County of San Diego public health officials, please visit www.coronavirus-sd.com.

For the updates on City services, programs, links to helpful information and steps the public can take to help reduce the spread of the disease, please visit sandiego.gov/coronavirus.

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