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The Art of San Diego’s Chicano Culture

With Claudia Rodríguez-Biezunski

From the barrio to the bayfront to the beaches, San Diego embraces a fascinating tapestry of creative communities. Join us as we tour some of the city’s top artistic hotspots with Chicana streetwear designer Claudia Rodríguez-Biezunski,and learn how a love for creative expression helps stitch San Diego’s diverse neighborhoods together.

See How Claudia Stitches San Diego Together

Barrio Logan Neighborhood Sign

Barrio Logan

One of San Diego County’s three official California Cultural Districts, Barrio Logan is a vibrant multicultural neighborhood rooted in both a rich history and a pulsing contemporary energy. The community has become a go-to spot for visitors drawn to the neighborhood’s creative ferment, which is deeply rooted in its Mexican-American heritage. That zest for invention and imagination is evident in the neighborhood’s restaurants, craft brewers, shops and galleries, as well as such community events as the Barrio Art Crawl, which unfolds every second Saturday and showcases local artisans and studios.

Clothing at Sew Loka in Barrio Logan

Sew Loka

Location: 2113 Logan Ave, San Diego, CA 92113
Claudia Rodríguez-Biezunski was all but born to make clothes: Her dad owned a denim factory in the San Fernando Valley and her mom sewed clothing for the whole family. Now, the Chicana designer is making her own mark in fashion with Sew Loka, her “slow fashion clothing brand” founded in Barrio Logan in 2013. Rodríguez-Biezunski’s creations, which revolve around reclaimed fabrics, are aimed at (in her words) “breaking down barriers, blurring societal norms and proudly welcoming BIPOC and underserved communities through affordable, edgy, and upcycled handmade goods.”

Chicano Park

Chicano Park

Location: 1982 National Ave San Diego, CA 92113
Now a treasured part of San Diego's cultural tapestry, Chicano Park nearly didn't come to be: A redevelopment project was on the verge of taking over the site (long promised for a park) in 1970, until community members and Chicano activists took a stand, staging a peaceful protest that ultimately convinced government officials to back down. Now the park, tucked amid the concrete pillars beneath the entrance to the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, is Barrio Logan's cultural heart, with its dozens of murals documenting and celebrating the neighborhood's heritage and indomitable spirit. The site is also the location of the new, long-awaited Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center, which explores and pays tribute to the park's past, present and future.

Libuela Book Store in Barrio Logan

Libélula Books and Co.

Location: 950 S. 26th St, San Diego, CA 92113
With a focus on representation and accessibility in literature, Libélula (whose name means "dragonfly") lends wings to words in Barrio Logan. The shop offers reads ranging from contemporary poetry to Queer lit to graphic novels and more, with a self-professed emphasis on indigenous, black and Chicanx history and narratives.

Person in a mask hanging artwork at Studio IX in Barrio Logan

Studio IX

Location: 2195 Logan Ave., San Diego, CA 92113
One of numerous studios and gallery spaces that have punched up the Barrio Logan art scene, Studio IX is a key part of the regular Barrio Art Crawl and hosts the neighborhood’s 2195 Collective, whose membership includes a wide range of artists working in media from murals to embroidery and more.

Mujeres Brewing in Barrio Logan

Mujeres Brew House

Location: 1983 Julian Ave, San Diego, CA 92113
Founded in 2000 by Carmen Velasco-Favela and Esthela Davila, this Latina-owned and -operated brewhouse is a place of creative ferment that has its roots in a beer-education club at nearby Border X Brewery. Mujeres has carved out its own territory with an impressive range of brews, from the Hola Saladito! Con Naranja fruited gose to the Con Estas Manos - Prickly Pear pale ale to a full complement of IPAs and a whole lot more.

Skull artwork at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park

Mingei International Museum

Location: 1439 El Prado, San Diego CA 92102
A San Diego success story, the Mingei — whose name translates from the Japanese as "art of the people" — has been embraced as a champion of folk art since its founding in 1978. More recently, the museum has become even more of a cultural force with a three-year re-envisioning that culminated in the 2021 opening of its beautifully renovated space in Balboa Park's House of Charm. The Mingei's 56,000-square-foot home base includes not only expansive exhibit space, a new courtyard, outdoor terraces and a flexible theater space, but also two new dining options.

Lowrider driving through Barrio Logan

Lowriders

With an aesthetic mission encapsulated in the phrase "low and slow", lowriders sprang from Southern California's Mexican-American neighborhoods in the 1940s as a statement against the go-go cultural norms of wider society, and rolled onto the streets and into the hearts of communities around San Diego. Their legacy is celebrated annually in Barrio Logan with the La Vuelta San Diego car cruise.

Sunset at Sunset Cliffs

Sunset Cliffs

And where better to take it "low and slow" than with a leisurely cruise past the beautiful vistas that grace Sunset Cliffs Boulevard? Stretching for a mile and a half just a little south of the Ocean Beach Pier, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park offers horizon views of the sparkling Pacific, with waves splashing against the rocky shoreline and easing onto the pocket beaches. With a panorama like this, you'll want to wheel into one of the small parking lots that dot the drive, and take it all in — including, ideally, one of the place’s namesake golden sunsets.

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