AS HOME TO ARTISTS, architects, scholars, writers and designers, North Park serves as a hub for the creative individual. American Craftsman-style homes line the quaint neighborhood streets, serving as reminders that the neighborhood is rich in architectural history and quite literally a “craft” capital in San Diego.
Of course, if it weren’t for the locals that inhabit the neighborhood, North Park would not be the eccentric artistic destination it is today. In the 1990s, North Park’s business corridor was on the decline. Due to the decline, community activists decided to encourage a sense of public culture and created the Art and Design Committee in the late ‘90s. By 1998, North Park’s business district was redeveloped and repurposed into an economic generator. With cultural development not part of the national direction, North Park was well ahead of the rest of the country.
By 2004, North Park felt another influx of artists. However, this time, the population increase in the neighborhood was unexpected. After Petco Park was built in downtown San Diego, many designers inhabiting the area around the new ball park were displaced and encouraged by local business owners and artists to move “up the hill” to the blossoming artist community.
With this new corral of artists, makers, movers and shakers, new projects broke ground. Among those were the famous North Park Theatre, now Observatory North Park Theatre, several art galleries, as well as publicly funded after school programs at the North Park Recreation Center… this all happened in the mid-1990s. After these projects were found to be extremely successful, the community received new bus stops, an improved North Park neighborhood sign, and several public art projects.
Thus, art began literally jumping out from the galleries and onto the streets. Public culture can now be seen on every street corner and at every turn, from every angle and every perspective.
While some might look beyond 30th Street and University Avenue and see graffiti, true artists and art aficionados see a story, a journey, and a lifetime of arts evolved.
Now referred to by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s “hippest hipster neighborhoods,” the neighborhood continues to attract the artist and designer, but also attracts the movie buff, the culinary creative, the young family and the couple who grew old together.