Today we’d like to introduce you to Carlos Quezada.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I thought I wanted to grow up and become a teacher, and with over 20 years of educational experience that seemed like the obvious choice. Life had other plans.
Having gone back to school and completed my Bachelor’s degree motivated me to get more involved in my community and give back. This decision led me to the Corridor Neighborhood Association where I realized that the same issues kept being brought up which was graffiti and infrastructure. Knowing many people in the Arts community it only seemed logical to try to fight graffiti with art. I, along with Edwin Lohr, organized a mural bringing the artist Erin Bowman and the business Treasure Trove together as a proof of concept to create such a colorful, quality, community-based mural that even the “taggers” would respect.
To this day, over a year later, the mural has never been “tagged” and someone even added to it a “thank you” on the community corner of the mural created by passers-by and local children. Since then Love City Heights has completed a total of 7 murals along The Avenue ( 1 mile stretch from 805 Fwy. to 15 Fwy. on University) partially thanks to the City Heights Business Association which helped create four.
Love City Heights has support from the Mayor’s office receiving certificates of recognition for the beautification efforts we’ve accomplished, along with receiving a Proclamation naming June 24th as Love City Heights Day. Love City Heights will be having annual events on this date for the community to connect businesses, social services and residents to better the community with live art, music and prizes.
The vision LCH has, having had great success throughout the last year, is to create San Diego’s first drive-thru gallery. An area where murals, art and architecture surround the commuters in every direction as they drive thru that stretch of City Heights to create a positive cultural experience and create a safe space for residents to explore.
Recently LCH has partnered with Beautify Earth, California Soccer League and Blue Infinitum to continue #theavenuemuralproject with more murals, promotional videos and community engagement. Since having started this journey I would love to make non-profit work and social services my career to make everywhere a more colorful place.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Challenges were an everyday occurrence with #theavenuemuralporject. The businesses were hesitant to participate, we had no budget to work with, residents were skeptical and we knew that at any point after any mural was completed that it could be “hit” the very next day.
There have also been language barriers. City Heights being the most diverse community in San Diego and over 50 languages spoken, just being able to communicate with business/building owners has been challenging.
One goal of Love City Heights is to have artists be paid for their work and that has been difficult working with no budget so we really appreciate the participating artists volunteering their time and work to get this project off the ground and become as successful as it has been.
One of the most challenging aspects has been just getting the contact information for the business/building owner to even start that conversation.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Love City Heights story. Tell us more about the business.
City Heights doesn’t have the luxury of beaches, mountains, attractions… what we have is a lot of asphalt and concrete walls. So LCH thought why not use what we have to make something that would be unique to San Diego and maybe even California.
Creating SD’s first drive-thru gallery would put City Heights on the map as a tourist attraction and get people to experience something unique such as award-winning Mexican food from Super Cocina, explore Little Saigon, experience Teros Gallery (SD’s smallest art gallery), enjoy a drink at the historic Tower Bar, see murals… and with the opening of the SR-15 MTS transit station, City Heights has become much more accessible.
Love City Heights’ Facebook page is unique in that it shares and supports any and all City heights businesses, organizations, leaders, schools, artists… to highlight the community instead of having a single-minded agenda.
Love City Heights connects residents to their community, businesses to artists, artists to projects, organizations to artistic projects and San Diegans to City Heights.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t know if luck has really played a role. I, along with the rest of LCH, have been working very hard to get this off the ground and we continue to work for the betterment of the community.
- Phone: 619-538-1742
- Instagram: #theavenuemuralproject
- Facebook: Love City Heights