La Bodega Gallery, a long-time mainstay of the Barrio Logan’s arts district, held its final show Saturday evening before closing its doors, another victim of rising rents.
The gallery owners said they were not able to afford the new rent and did not negotiate a new lease. They said they've been a victim of their own success as they helped gentrify the neighborhood that is now pricing them out.
“When we first came six years ago this entire block was dead, there was nothing here, and people were still afraid to come to this area,” said co-owner Soni Lopez-Chavez. “But then we started to host exhibitions and people would come out and businesses started to open, and it flourished.”
La Bodega Gallery first opened its doors in October 2013 and was one of the first art-focused businesses to open up along Logan Avenue.
The gallery has been a space for the community to come and express their art, one of the first art-focused businesses along Logan Avenue. They said they’ve hosted over 300 events since they first opened in October 2013. All the events hosted at La Bodega Gallery have been free and open to all ages.
“As of right now we don’t have another space to go to. We are going to keep our eyes open but again everything is so expensive, and I feel like it’s simply impossible for an art gallery to open nowadays.”
Their last free show was held on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 5 to 10 p.m.
Below is the gallery’s online statement about the closure:
"It is with great sadness to announce that we will be closing our doors at the end of this month. Our lease has come to an end and the rent was raised to an amount we can’t afford. The impact we’ve had, the contributions we’ve made to our community, the multiple, consecutive years being recognized as the best art gallery in San Diego matters not when we can no longer afford to work out of this space, a place that created value for all around us. Especially the property owners.
This is an ugly reminder of Barrio Logan’s current unaffordable reality for those wanting to have a space to present art and culture. It’s a sad reality that hurts. We put our life into making La Bodega what it is today and we are completely heartbroken that we have to vacate that historic building.
These past 6 years have been absolutely amazing and it has been a true honor to work with so many talented artists both locally and from around the world that shared their work with us over the years. We could not have done this without their beautiful contributions. And to the community that we live and work in we give endless thanks and gratitude for your support. We appreciate and love all that you have given to us. Although La Bodega, in its current manifestation, may be coming to an end we are not going to stop doing what we do."
Click here to donate on the website.