San Diego

Student-Led Art Gallery Opens at Seaport Village

The new gallery is a collaboration between the San Diego Unified School District and Seaport Village and will feature a selection of rotating artwork curated from more than 12,000 local students

Things are getting colorful and creative over at Seaport Village: the waterfront landmark will soon debut an art gallery featuring the works of San Diego students.

The SDUSD Art Gallery at Seaport – located in the easternmost area of Seaport Village, close to the San Diego Convention Center – is a 640-square-foot space dedicated to artwork created by local students.

The student-led gallery is a joint effort by the San Diego Unified School District and Seaport Village. To celebrate the debut of the project, Seaport Village hosted a free, family-friendly performing arts exhibition at the gallery Saturday. Local students showcased their artistic, theatrical and musical talents at the event.

Marty Stegeman, a longtime art educator with SDUSD, personally curated the 28 pieces on display at the gallery's debut. She chose art created by students from T-K to 12th grade spanning mediums like paint, chalk and watercolor.

Stegeman said the pieces represent the "creativity and ingenuity" in our young, local artists. She told NBC 7 the works are proof of the value of art education in schools.

"It is so important for kids to be able to express themselves (through art), and have the opportunity to speak in a way that words can’t always say," she said. "We give opportunities to say and be ways they can’t be in other subject areas."

Following Saturday's grand debut, the SDUSD Art Gallery at Seaport will be open each week, Friday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The gallery will showcase a rotating selection of artwork curated from more than 12,000 students in Pre-K to 11th grade. Entry to the gallery is free.

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The school district’s partnership with Seaport Village on this new art space stems from a recent collaboration that helped set the stage for this brick-and-mortar gallery space.

Over the past few months, Seaport Village has been hosting the SDUSD’s cross-border public art installation at the landmark dubbed “Birds Without Paradise.”

That installation, which aims to promote cultural and economic cooperation within the San Diego and Baja regions, is led by Oaxacan artist Manuel Molina and features more than 100 life-sized birds made out of corn husks and other indigenous materials. More than 350 school children on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border helped paint the birds.

The birds can be found hanging overhead at the main fountain at Seaport Village, where they will remain through the end of this month.

“The arts are alive and well in San Diego schools, and with this partnership, our students will have a platform to showcase their performances and display their art for thousands of locals and visitors,” said Russell Sperling, Director of Visual and Performing Arts at SDUSD, in a press release.

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