City Could Stamp Stretch of Imperial Ave in Encanto as San Diego’s Black Arts and Culture District – NBC 7 San Diego

From his graffiti-style murals at the Massachusetts Drive MTS trolley station to his studio on Imperial Avenue, art is life for Maxx Moses.

That’s why Moses is part of a group of people who are calling for Encanto to become San Diego’s official hub for Black businesses and art.

“New York has Harlem’s 125th Street. You can walk up and down and see vendors, stores, blah, blah, blah. You can feel that energy. That’s what we’re looking for, something you can feel, ”said Moses.

The first step starts Wednesday afternoon when a San Diego City Council committee will vote on a resolution to designate an eight-block stretch of Imperial Avenue from 61st Street to 69th Street as the “San Diego Black Arts and Culture District.”

“My feet haven’t touched the ground,” said Dajahn Blevins, who heads an arts and activities program called San Diego Urban Warriors and is also the Arts and Culture Commissioner for District 4, which includes Encanto.

He says for 30-years he’s pushed for an arts and culture district, noting this is about visibility and investment for the 22 Black-owned businesses in the area. Now that a dedicated arts and culture district is on the horizon, he says he’s on cloud nine.

“With this designation, anyone who wants to invest, who wants to foster a greater appreciation for Black art and culture will be able to do it,” said Blevins.

The designation would allow opportunities for funding for the area through state, federal or city dollars.

If approved, in addition to spaces to live, work and play, Moses is hoping some of the money can be used to create a space like A Reason to Survive, or ARTS, in National City, which caters to young creatives.

“No longer when the kids look at their parents and tell them they want to be an artist they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh! That’s the worst thing I want you to do.’ There are actually opportunities in that vein to be successful and thrive, ”said Moses.

If the committee approves the arts district designation, it then goes before the full city council.

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