"I feel if we get everyone together, there is a potential to create something big here," says artist and designer Adrian Garcia. That idealism serves as a call to action for the San Diego art scene, which Garcia thinks can be as vibrant and successful as the scenes in other cities, but only if local artists take advantage of what makes San Diego different from Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

"San Diego has struggled in creating a strong identity for itself. Many talented artists move to LA or SF because of their frustration with a weak art scene," he says in an email interview. "I believe there will always be frustration if we continue to compare ourselves to other larger cities. Instead of trying to be more like those cities, we should embrace what makes San Diego unique. One of those things is being situated on the border with Mexico."

For this reason, Garcia curated Cross City, a one-night-only exhibition featuring young, emerging artists from San Diego and Tijuana happening from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at Voz Alta Project (1754 National Ave. in Barrio Logan).

Among the San Diegans exhibiting are Garcia, Dolan Stearns, Senz Wen and Bradford Lynn. Tijuana will be represented by David Reyes (aka Deived), Teak Tk, Ugo Villegas and Erick Castillo. Garcia says he chose artists he believes will shape the regional art scene, and he's interested in exploring how their work has been affected by living in a border city.

Bridging the gap between San Diego and Tijuana is important to Garcia. He thinks the chasm exists only because of negative perceptions of Mexico and the belief that an artist canít make a living in San Diego. Letting go of those notions will ultimately mean more opportunities on both sides of the border, he says.

With Cross City, Garcia hopes to create bonds between participating artists, which may one day lead to building a more collaborative art scene.

"Bridging the gap will not only create a strong identity but create a larger market for artists and designers, which will hopefully convince them to stay," he says.


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