November 19, 2004

Conciencia Artistica

The San Diego Art Institute supports local artists

By Geneva Gamez

For some time now the Southern California region has been said to be “dead” in the art realm, however, this very statement has triggered many art-goers to pursue artistic endeavors to the point where art is now a growing passion that is more and more evident throughout our region. As of recent, Baja California artists, especially from Tijuana, and San Diego have been utilizing artistic avenues to express strong themes such as war, commercialism, politics, and social injustices among others. Uniting artists from both sides of the borders, to share 10,000 square feet of space, as is the San Diego Art Institute’s gallery, under one roof is quiet impressive.

The San Diego Art Institute (SDAI), is a non-lucrative organization, established in 1940 with the ideal of motivating and supporting local emerging artists. After 25 years, SDAI continues to support regional artists, with the only twist that now it holds a new interest. SDAI now aims to support local regional artists from across the border as well in an effort to incorporate new works of art and consolidate artistic endeavors as a whole –thus far, breaking away from border barriers.

“Due to the closeness of the U.S./ Mexico border, it is important to unite artists and their work within the same walls to create a greater impact,” says Adriana Calderon, SDAI’s Public Relations representative. In addition, she says, “Mexican artists are no longer limiting themselves to cultural artisan handcrafts as often stereotyped, nowadays there’s a message in each piece with social and political points of views.”

Even though there’s a strict process for which each artist is required to go through in order to exhibit at the SDAI gallery, there is a great choice of diversity that is more evident than before. The gallery’s space is designed in such a way that it resembles a museum; it offers a sophisticated ambiance and an exclusive art selection, chosen by a jury prior to being exhibited to the public. Art pieces range from most decorating landscapes to the most aggressive themes, depending on the ideas and styles of each artist.

The SDAI’s focus is to foment visual arts through exhibitions and education. For this, the SDAI launches a new exhibition every six weeks, where regional artists’ work is shown, in addition, the gallery reserves an exclusive space to San Diego County students through the David G. Fleet Youth Art Program. Every exhibition is presented and chosen before a jury, each artist must also become a member of the institute prior to showing. Every artist is free to use any artistic media in their work, such as: oils, acrylics, watercolors, pen & ink, digital/photography, sculpture, etc. The gallery has specific sections per work.

Aside from its exhibitions, SDAI also hosts C-Note, an art sale, twice a year. This sale helps earn funding for the continued service of the institute. C-Note is a unique opportunity for art collector’s to find original art pieces at very low prices. The price range for artwork is between $100.00 and $300.00. With time and artists’ demand, these pieces can get to value a lot more.

“Last year, someone bought a painting for $300.00,” says Calderon, “today that piece is worth $4,000.”

Whether you’re an artist or not, it is definitely worth stopping by SDAI. The gallery is open Tues. – Sat. from 10 AM – 4 PM and 12 PM – 4 PM on Sun. adults pay $3, students, seniors, and military $2, children enter free of charge.

For more information call (619) 236-0011 or visit:

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