Streets of Little Italy Host 31st Annual Art Walk

Jodie Hulden displaying her black and white photo of Presence

Jodie Hulden displaying her black and white photo of Presence

Artists from across the United States and Mexico came together to display their creativity, art and special talents in San Diego’s 31st Annual Art Walk, bringing throngs of visitors, tourists and native Californians to the festively decorated streets of Little Italy. The production covered an area from Fir Street to Beech Street, and from Kettner Boulevard to parts of State Street.
“This annual gathering celebrates and promotes artistic innovation from every angle,” stated Mayor Kevin Faulconer in the specialized magazine edition of Art Walk, “from the visual and performing arts to the culinary creativity of Little Italy’s neighborhood.” 
Restaurants, coffee houses and specialty food vendors were kept busy providing “culinary” satisfaction to the almost uncountable crowds that visited Art Walk on both days of the event. Parking, as always in Little Italy, was filled to capacity in all parking lots, but visitors had a break with parking meters which were not in force on Sunday. Visitors parked away from the event and could be seen hiking toward it from all directions.
Although much emphasis was placed on visual arts, Kevin Hallman, Publisher of San Diego City Beat busily supplied the five available stages with performing musicians on both Saturday and Sunday from 11:00am until 6:00pm.
Peter Kalivas, director of the PGK Dance Project awed dance enthusiasts with the performance of approximately 14 performing for the Dance on the Edge part of the Art Walk festivities.
The outdoor urban setting on the streets of Little Italy gave this event a unique flavor.  In addition to fine art from artists across the country and Mexico, the festival features of more than 30 music and dance performing groups, a special interactive art program for families and children was Artreach at KidsWalk. The program states that it has provided over 30,000 art-making opportunities for K-6 students throughout San Diego County.
Although slight showers and brief drizzling spells were present on Saturday, visitors were not to be deterred as approximately 50,000 visited the more than 350 visual and performing artists in the 15-block stretch of Little Italy, according to Events Manager, Michelle Danks. 
“We’ve had approximately 70,000 visitors today,” said Danks during the early afternoon of Sunday’s activities. “We have approximately 25 business and sponsors, mostly non-profit who support us, and approximately 275 volunteers who help put this production together, she added. Danks said that the Art Walk was a “massive production” that requires production throughout the year. She and her teams are currently working on productions in June, August and October. “We work closely with the Little Italy Association, helping them manage other events like the upcoming Taste of Italy event on June 17th.
Jodie Hulden, a San Diego artist presented her work of Fine Art Photographs, this being her third year in the Art Walk. She said she does better each year and thoroughly enjoys the show, ambiance and visiting art aficionados.  Although she stated that getting into art shows is “a lot of work,” she added that she makes twice what she puts into each show.
“I love the people I meet; people who love black and white photography and there is a lot of exposure for artists in shows like this,” she said. “Art Walk is a wonderfully, cultural event; like being in Little Italy. I’m not sure who comes for the art, culture or the social aspect of the event, but I enjoy being here.”
Hulden’s great grandfather was a Neapolitan, and like her heritage, she speaks Italian. “I love being around Italians and that gives me an opportunity to practice my Italian,” said the artist. She attended San Diego State University, where she received her degree in art.
Red Carpet, a mixed media work of Christine Schwimmer, a local artist graced the cover of the Art Walk, the magazine produced by San Diego’s Union-Tribune. Although a native of Chicago, Schwimmer moved to California and has her studio in La Mesa. Her passion began as a child growing up in Chicago. She has pursued that passion by studying at the Athenaeum School of Arts in La Jolla and San Diego. She has also studied at the University of California at San Diego, and The art Academy of San Diego.

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