COMM22, a new mixed-use development, is taking root at 2225 Commercial St. in Logan Heights. Civic San Diego, the agency created to wind down the city's redevelopment efforts, included an onsite public-art requirement for the project, which is being developed through a partnership between Bridge Housing and MAAC.
The project's public-art components include a large-scale professional mural, student artwork and a central outdoor sculpture. Through a competitive process, the developers selected artist Mario Chacon and his apprentice Hector Villegas to complete a mural that'll be mounted in an entryway on the south side of the building. Chacon, a well-known local painter whose work is included in Chicano Park, says the mural, which is complete and awaiting installation, is a positive piece that celebrates the area's diversity.
"We decided to do what I call an 'urban intervention,' which is imagery that will have an impact on people's mood, imagery that will help change your attitude," explains Chacon, who worked with Villegas on the piece last summer.
Chacon and Villagas also recruited high-school students to paint panels that'll be positioned atop the project's subterranean parking structure. Those, too, are complete and will likely be installed in November, along with the mural.
The sculptural component of the project, meanwhile, has been delayed. Nina Karavasiles, the project's public-art consultant, says that the developers discovered utility lines directly underneath the proposed location for the sculpture—the lines weren't identified in documents provided to the developer. There's also a pole connected to the nearby trolley that needs to be moved. While progress has been made on relocating the pole, the developers are still figuring out how to fit a proper concrete foundation for the sculpture without disrupting the utility lines.
A few regional artists have been shortlisted for the sculpture, but developers have yet to announce the final selection, partly because the size and shape of the foundation will dictate the size and shape of the sculpture.
Karavasiles says they may have to go back to the shortlisted artists and ask if they'd be interested in resubmitting proposals based on the site's constraints.
"But the developers are committed to the sculptural element," Karavasiles says. "It'll happen."