Jan. 13 2014 07:31 PM

Founders of the new La Bodega Studios & Gallery say the neighborhood is serious about the arts

Chris Zertuche (right) and Milo Lorenzana
Chris Zertuche (right) and Milo Lorenzana
Photo by Kinsee Morlan

In 2009 and 2010, Barrio Logan saw a surge in art galleries and events. The neighborhood was pulsating with energy from groups and galleries like Voz Alta, The Roots Factory, The Glashaus, The Bakery, Woodbury School of Architecture and others. In the years that followed, the emerging arts district ebbed a bit but mostly flowed as more arts-related businesses relocated to the area.

These days, Barrio Logan and the bordering Logan Heights are again experiencing a swell in arts happenings. From 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, the newest arts-related addition to the neighborhood, La Bodega Studios & Gallery (2196 Logan Ave.), will host an opening celebration and exhibition featuring more than 50 artists' work on vinyl records. Artists include Libre Gutierrez, Maxx Moses, Jen Fong, Linda Halsey, Pixie Lopez Guzman, Chikle, Andre Power and Jimmy Ovadia.

La Bodega is the creative vision of Chris Zertuche and Milo Lorenzana, names you might recognize from The Spot, a Barrio Logan space that's since been renamed Stronghold and continues to host events (The Spot lives on as a design and screen-printing studio on the second floor of La Bodega). Zertuche and Lorenzana struck out on their own when the landlord of their new space, which formerly housed a bank and then a restaurant named Porkyland, reached out to them because he liked what they'd done with The Spot.

The two got to work on La Bodega last year, transforming the rundown warehouse.

"We're building this out right now to include six new studios here," Zertuche said during a quick tour of the still-raw work-in-progress. "We'll have it done in time so I can hang the art. We'll just spend the next couple days in here—all day and all night."

Tenants already renting space at La Bodega include a hip-hop events coordinator, a DJ, swimwear designers and a band. Also housed in the same building are caterers The San Diego Taco Company and Border X Brewing, which expects to open a tasting room there later this year. Both businesses will offer their goods at the opening, as well.

La Bodega joins several other arts-related ventures that have set up shop in Barrio Logan during what could be called a second wave of migration, including Union, AGITPROP, Daphne Hill and Anna Stump's shared studio and the soon-to-be-constructed Community @ The National, a project by LWP Group Inc. that'll house the LWP office, two other arts / culture-minded businesses and an events space. The Bread & Salt arts venue is just a few streets away from La Bodega in Logan Heights.

Lorenzana and Zertuche think the Barrio Logan Arts District has officially arrived.

"I think it's here," Lorenzana said. "Now we just need to tighten it up as individual spaces and start taking it a little more seriously... We have our shoes on, and now all we need to do is tie our laces."

Customized vinyl record by Linda Halsey

Write to editor@sdcitybeat.com and follow Kinsee on Facebook or Twitter 


See all events on Friday, Dec 2