Sunday, June 23, 2024
San Diegans sought to shape a vibrant 'Creative City'.

San Diegans sought to shape a vibrant ‘Creative City’.

The City of San Diego is Creating its First Cultural Plan

The city is inviting artists and residents alike to be part of the process of figuring out how to further invest in arts and culture in neighborhoods across San Diego.

San Diego is creating its first cultural plan, dubbed Creative City, that will guide investments in arts and culture in alignment with the city’s other priorities — like its climate action and parks plans — for the next seven to 10 years.

“Part of what makes San Diego a great city is our vibrant arts scene and rich cultural heritage, which is not only connected to our history but also the diverse communities that call our city home,” said Mayor Todd Gloria.

The city is one of the largest holders of cultural assets in the region and provides arts and culture funding to nearly 200 organizations annually, supporting film and cultural festivals, such as the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration, as well as nonprofit programming, said Jonathon Glus, executive director of the city’s Commission for Arts and Culture.

“We have a very lively city, but we want to bring more creative and cultural life to our public spaces across the city,” Glus said. “We’re asking the community to really tell us how they want to experience art and culture in their city.”

Focus Areas of the Cultural Plan

According to Glus, the new cultural plan will focus on the following areas:

  • Artist and creative workforce development and retention

  • Neighborhood creative hubs

  • Arts marketing

  • Cultural tourism

  • Collective impact strategies for regional arts philanthropy

The framework may also include strategies to employ the arts to address challenges including mobility, climate and environment, gang prevention, youth development, and the housing crisis.

“The creative workforce is a vital part of our economy,” said Glus, adding that more than 100,000 people in creative industries generate over $11 billion in economic activity. “We need to make sure that those creative industries can really thrive here in the same way that we need other types of small businesses to thrive.”

Public Engagement and Events

Last month, the city began hosting various family-friendly public engagement events to get insight on local cultural traditions and learn what San Diegans envision for arts and culture in their communities moving forward. About 500 people attended, according to Glus.

More public events will take place later this month, beginning with a virtual forum on Monday, July 24.

The town hall will be followed that week by six pop-up events across the city, where participants can learn more about Creative City, provide input, and join in on hands-on art-making activities.

The first pop-up is scheduled 5:30-7:30 p.m. on July 25 at the San Ysidro Branch Library. The event will be held in Spanish with English interpretation available. Other language interpretation is available upon request in advance.

A toolkit is available to guide San Diegans in hosting their own community conversations. A public survey is also available online until Aug. 31. Both can be found online at

The Planning Process and Final Approval

The city hired San Diego-based consulting firm Cultural Planning Group LLC to facilitate the planning process, including aggregating public input, as well as input from industry and sector-specific groups, analyzing existing conditions, and identifying additional opportunities to develop the cultural plan.

The plan will be developed early next year, and the city plans to seek further public input on the proposal in the fall. The plan is expected to be finalized by March 2025 and will go before the City Council for final approval.


About Astrid Jensen

Introducing Astrid Jensen, an expert blogger with an insatiable appetite for culture, art and design! With a keen eye for detail, she explores the intricacies of food culture and literature, providing unique perspectives that will broaden your horizons. Through her captivating writings, Astrid offers a fresh take on the world of art and design, leaving you inspired and eager to discover more. Join her on this journey of discovery and let your creativity soar!

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