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June 23, 2023

Park Market Hero

Park & Market is a new state of the art building created by UC San Diego, located in downtown San Diego’ East Village. The building features performance venues, meeting spaces, gallery spaces, classrooms and more. Park & Market is also home to a number of resident partners who occupy office and meeting space in the building. We spoke with their Director of Arts Management, Andrew Waltz, about what Park & Market means for UC San Diego and the San Diego community.

Can you tell me more about the programs you offer? 

UC San Diego Park & Market was purpose-built to be a town square in downtown San Diego that could open doors and build bridges; a central place where new, meaningful connections could be made, resulting in art, ideas and solutions that could be shared beyond our community. This is accomplished through artistic performances, classes, lectures, events and providing office and meeting space for local and global change-making organizations. It’s also truly accessible, located steps away from the UC San Diego blue line trolley, which connects the U.S.-Mexico border to UC San Diego’s La Jolla campus. 

We just launched a new intimate concert series called Intersections. These events offer new, diverse takes on traditional ideas and forms through creative artistic performances. Soon we’ll launch more events with speakers on topics important to the community, from educational lectures to panel discussions. Here’s a look at some of the upcoming Intersections performances, lectures and events. 

We also continue to host other thought-provoking events such as the Helen Edison Lecture Series, which presents free public lectures on issues that advance humanitarian purposes and objectives. Park & Market is also proud to host a variety of programs produced by other UC San Diego partners, including the inaugural lecture series from the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, which hosted an event on April 26th with award-winning author Dr. Bettina Love, with two more events planned later this year. 

Can you talk about some of the challenges our community faces and how you’re working to overcome them? 

UC San Diego, as a university, exists in San Diego—a vibrant, diverse community—but until recently, it seemed like we were very separate from it. Park & Market was created as a response to this opportunity by creating platforms for the community to come together. We wanted to be an active part of our community, a platform for everyone to come together, learn something, enjoy a performance and build solutions that will make our region and our world better. 

Mutual respect is the foundation for healthy relationships, whether it’s between individuals, groups or communities. It allows us to understand and appreciate each other’s differences while still finding common ground. We have an opportunity now to create more community spaces and opportunities to come together for self-expression and social exchanges of ideas with people who we might not otherwise interact with. 

Any partnership highlights you’d like to share? 

Some of the most exciting artistic partnerships are those Park & Market has built with the San Diego Opera, The Old Globe Theater, the Camarada chamber music group, La Caja Galería and the San Diego Latino Film Festival. It’s exciting to have performances from these groups throughout the Park & Market space, right in the heart of downtown, in addition to the traditional theater venues where most people might expect to see them. Anyone in the downtown area can walk into Park & Market and potentially encounter a chamber music performance on a grand staircase, students emerging from an after-school program, or opera singers performing an aria in the lobby. 

We also partner with the Burnham Center for Economic Advancement, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce, National Conflict Resolution Center, the San Diego Workforce Partnership and many others. Resident partners are not at Park & Market by accident; they’re not just looking for an office or coworking space where they’ll simply do their work and never interact with their neighbors. They want to collaborate, meet new people, hear new perspectives and ideas, and be a part of events and programming that benefit the wider community. 

Park & Market is a curatorial partner with resident partners, visiting artists and the region. We collaborate with others in the community for events like the Juneteenth initiative. What’s important about these events at Park & Market is that we start with community partnerships and engage educational partners when it will help produce a more enriching experience. We want to host programming that reflects what it means to our community—and that means involving our resident partners, lifting up their ideas and being a facilitator for some things that may not traditionally have been done in a university-sponsored space before. It takes time to build intuitive, authentic connections with groups that have traditionally not engaged with the university community. 

We are committed to working with groups that want to utilize the amazing space. We are also committed to growing our networks and financial sustainability so that we can continue to attract impactful partnerships and stage inspirational and enlightening arts and culture programs for the community. 

Why is workforce development important to your organization’s mission? 

As part of the UC San Diego ecosystem, Park & Market is an education-focused organization at heart. In the world we live in now, education cannot stop. It starts at home, continues throughout our lives as we go through school and then we must be lifelong learners open to new ideas in order to keep up in our rapidly-evolving economy. The resident partners at Park & Market, including the Workforce Partnership, are all about supporting each of us as individuals, meeting us where we are and building the bridges and connections people need to stay lifelong learners. 

For me, workforce development is important because my parents always taught me to never stop learning and growing. My mantra is to take every opportunity that comes your way because you don’t know where it will take you or what doors it might open. Everything offered at Park & Market is presented in the spirit of helping more community members make the connections that help them keep moving forward. 

How can San Diegans get involved? 

Visiting us at Park & Market and getting involved is a way to get more connected with your community in San Diego— outside of social media and in real life—and create more of the face-to-face connections we all need as human beings. 

The things San Diegans, and really anyone visiting San Diego, can do to get involved are: attend an event or performance at Park & Market; sign up for a program; partner with us on a project or propose something you’d really like to get off the ground! The San Diego/Tijuana binational region is made of neighborhood villages and we want Park & Market programming to reach all of them. 

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