Jan. 7 2011 12:00 AM

What's going on with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Artwork?

MartinLutherKing

With the upcoming annual Multicultural Festival held on the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade in Downtown San Diego, now is as good a time as any to check in on the status of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Artwork, a public-art project that is considered by many in the community to be the first proper tribute to King in San Diego.

Among other issues with the artist-selection process for the  project, the winning team—led by Philip Matzigkeit and Judy Baca—was selected despite their proposal being $100,000 over budget. I wrote about his back in 2006, and also looked into the history of San Diego and its somewhat abysmal record of commemorating King.

I still get emails from some of the artists who were part of other finalist teams who didn't think it was fair that an over-budget project ended up winning the bid. They want to know the status of the project and if the extra funds have been secured. 

I, too, want to know what's going on, but when I email the city's Commission for Arts & Culture, I get the same response: "We have no updates on the Public Art Program or the MLK project to report at this time."  On the public-art program page, it simply lists the project's status as, "Art design in progress."

Caltrans senior landscape architect, Stephen Alvarez says the grant money for the project has been extended well beyond its original expiration dates.

"The grant is still there," says Alvares, "but it's in the ballpark of the city right now."

Alvares says the grant will again be up for review in June, 2011, at which time he says it could be extended again as long as the city says they still plan on completing the project.

So, the question remains. When will Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Artwork be built? When will the patch of ice plant between Home and Euclid avenues along the south side of the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway be replaced by an artistic tribute to King?

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28