"They tried to bury us. They didn't know we were seeds."
Positioned between the Gaslamp Quarter and National City, Barrio Logan is the proud home to a thriving Chicano culture and art scene. Entering the neighborhood through Logan Ave., the brilliantly colored murals of Chicano Park become impossible to ignore. The vibrant hues that scale the facades of the neighborhood combine to proudly represent various elements of Chicano culture. One after another, visitors wander, attempting to comprehend the beauty and complexity of each mural’s symbolism.
Just south of the park, the neighborhood transforms into a cultural district hosting a collection of inspired, local businesses. Like a mosaic, each of these distinct galleries, eateries, and shops flow together, contributing to the bigger image of a culturally rich, inclusive neighborhood. Innovative in their offerings and aesthetics, each of these businesses pays homage to the Barrio’s long-standing heritage and distinct community identity by incorporating works of art into their storefronts.
Two of the San Diego-based businesses that masterfully mesh with the neighborhood's distinct culture are 9FIVE Eyewear and their sister company, Arts-Rec. Through a modern approach and aesthetic, the two stores successfully convey their passion for skateboarding and streetwear culture. Upon entry, the open concept of the stores stimulates the senses, emitting a distinct energy that seems to flow throughout the spaces. Arts-Rec's affinity for skateboarding and the surrounding culture is tastefully represented throughout as skate decks line the store's entire western wall. The integration of these two businesses into historical Barrio Logan is indicative not only of 9FIVE's respect and admiration for the neighborhood, but also the neighborhood's willingness to evolve and elevate.
Do yourself a favor; experience this culture first-hand. To support local business amidst the pandemic, local shop owners like Claudia Rodríguez-Biezunski of Sew Loka present a socially distant exhibition of Barrio's own every Saturday. Lined with low-riders, the streets are animated as the sound of reggaetón and the smell of Barrio Dogg radiate throughout the atmosphere. Indicative of the neighborhood’s resilience, the Barrio rose to the challenges presented by the pandemic, thriving despite the city’s recent regression into the purple-tier.
Barrio Logan humbly demonstrates the ability of a community to evolve and grow while simultaneously preserving its cultural heritage. In the years since its foundation, this mecca of Chicano culture is a symbol of solidarity, continuing to serve the community by bringing humans together in a year characterized by social distancing.
Click here for more information about Chicano Park and how you can make a difference!
Thank you to those who made this post possible:
Chicano Park Steering Committee @chicanopark_official
Sew Loka @sewloka
9FIVE Eyewear @9fivers
DJ Alex Cortez @DJ_alex_cortez
Barrio Dogg @barriodogg