East Coaster Cynthia Kosciuczyk found San Diego a hard city to crack when it came to finding an arts community to take her in. She says it took almost seven years before she finally felt at home. That personal struggle is the main inspiration for Spaghetti Socials, an ongoing informal networking event for artists looking to make new connections.
"It's also a showcase for artists and musicians—a place for people to be discovered," says Kosciuczyk, who ran Designer Tastes Gallery, a small art gallery in Normal Heights, for a few years before closing in 2006.
The art-fueled dinner parties started in Kosciuczyk's one-bedroom apartment in Kensington with 30 artist friends. By the next event, the former chef says, she had 60 people show up for food, art and entertainment.
"The next thing you know, it became a tradition," she says. "Even the illustrious Bob Filner has been to a couple of the events."
Spaghetti Socials (search Facebook for "Spaghetti Socialites") have been happening around San Diego for the last six years. From artist studios in North Park to the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park, the events are held in both private and public venues, and attendees are asked to either bring food to share or donate at the door, which is then handed over to charities.
Kosciuczyk will hold a holiday-themed Spaghetti Social from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 29, at a private home in San Diego. She invites local artists, musicians and performers who either can't make it home for the holidays or have no place to go (email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for details).
On the agenda for the night is artist Rich Walker, who'll transform a slideshow of his abstract art into a live-feed, video-manipulation performance. Jazz pianist Danny Green will take over the home's grand piano with accompaniment by vocalist Blaise Guld, and experimental-art-meets-electronic-music group MANTIS (which includes arts promoters Johnny Tran and Adam Rosen) will perform.
Spaghetti Socials has helped Kosciuczyk build a new, much weirder and more exciting family. She says she'd like to expand her tribe to include all of the city's most interesting and active artists.
"I like bringing diverse people together to create community, you know," she says, her Boston accent as strong as ever. "My premise about the San Diego art scene is that there are such scattered groups, and if we all just work together, we can put San Diego on the map."