Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

Life in a world-class city would be incomplete without a magnetic culture. While the residents are the heartbeat of the community, culture is its soul.

The word culture has many different implications. Its Latin origin cultus means care, so perhaps culture signifies a tender, nurturing process of growth and change. Culture also implies artistic refinement and enrichment, so perhaps culture is the expression of a given people in a specific time.

If culture embodies and expresses a people’s ideas, then cultured people need abundant outlets to satisfy their creative thirst. Our community’s cultural aspects range from traditional to avant-garde, embracing our cross-cultural ethic.

Downtown’s artistic outlets are overflowing, with Seaport Village’s free concerts every weekend, NBC 7/39’s summer concert series in Horton Square, and various dining establishments’ live shows.

Our theatrical performances are nationally acclaimed, pushing artistic boundaries while communicating intrinsic human emotions. Galleries and museums tell the story of our past culture as well as cutting-edge artistic developments.

Our neighborhood’s local artists have created a visual feast with their Urban Art Trail, turning electrical boxes, fire hydrants and bike racks into innovative works of art.

Culture can also be understood as respect for community. The culture of community is an unspoken understanding that neighbors are polite and respectful of people and common areas, because disregard for others creates chaos.

Cultivation is necessary for growth. Like a farmer caring for crops, members of a cultured neighborhood nurture and tend to their community.

How does cultivating culture influence our community? If we have open minds and actively seek cultural sources that nurture the soul, will this search lead to cultivation of the community’s culture? If cultured people tend to gravitate to cultural things, perhaps cultured people create more culture?

I wonder….When does culture cultivate culture?

Our community articulates culture in many ways.

Jody Schnolnik (The Brickyard) creates seasonal flower arrangements to beautify our lobby.

Candace Lopez(10th Avenue Car Garage, Urban Trail creator) believes neighborhood art showcases the importance of design in our everyday lives. Her husband, Rafael Lopez, an internationally recognized artist, used East Village buildings as canvases.

Tracy Silberman (Executive Director, Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation) is putting in extra hours to ensure this year’s Shamrock event will be the best yet.

This May, 18, 2003 architects will be introduced to our beautiful Convention Center and downtown community feel. Deniece Duscheone is asking architects, artists of all mediums and community members to submit entries for a gallery crawl event. The event will proudly display the relationship between architects and the community they build for, providing a way for Downtowners to become actively engaged in a nationwide cultural event.

Toni Robins recently attended two incredible, thought provoking plays at a local theater.

With all the aspects of culture present here in our Downtown neighborhoods, cultured soil, refined people, expressive outlets, all we need to do is cultivate our community around our culture. - March 6, 2003

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