Art San Diego takes on political issues at this year’s Art Labs


Perfectly primed for presidential conversation, Art San Diego hosts its third annual Art Labs projects Nov. 3-6 at Balboa Park Activity Center, directly tackling the hot-button issues of immigration, deportation and racial violence.

In partnership with OUTFRONT media, the show is an exciting collection of works from local and international artists, with the purpose of opening and encouraging dialogue throughout our city and county.

The first and most public Art Labs project is a series of billboards from the Tijuana/San Ysidro border through downtown and North Park. Titled “Open Walls Project” and curated by Marcos Ramírez ERRE and Ann Berchtold, the collection includes work by well-known social activist artists Sam Durant, Rigo23, Andrea Bowers and Daniel Guzman.

“This year’s ‘Open Walls Project’ exhibition is probably our most controversial,” Berchtold said. “It is my hope that it attracts attention and we then have a conversation about these issues - specifically, the role that the Cali-Baja region plays in creating a vibrant, diverse and economically viable region. San Diego is the perfect example of how we can take our natural strengths and diversity and compliment each other, not build a wall to divide.”

The billboards will be up for one month at the following locations:

Currently showing:

  • “Dare to Dream” by Andrea Bowers: E. San Ysidro Boulevard, south of Camino Del La Plaza
  • “Signs of the Times 2” by Rigo 23: El Cajon Boulevard, east of 37th Street, on the south side of the street
  • “Tu Tienes El Poder” by Sam Durant: Highland Avenue, south of Fifth Street, on the east side of the street
  • “Signs of the Times” by Rigo 23: Broadway Street, south of D Street, on the east side of the street
  • “Everyone Do Your Job” by Sam Durant: Midway Drive, north of Sports Arena Boulevard, on the west side of the street
  • “Death Never Takes A Vacation” by Daniel Guzman: Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, north of Niagara Avenue, on the east side of the street
  • “Education Not Deportation” by Andrea Bowers: Mission Boulevard, north of Ventura Place
  • The final billboard piece, “Staten Island” by Marcos Ramirez, will be unveiled at the Art San Diego Contemporary Art Show on Nov. 3.

The second Art Labs project, showing Nov. 5, is titled “Heroic Procession” and includes visual art, music and dance. Tijuana artist Hugo Crosthwaite, along with violinist Marilu Salinas and Japanese Butoh dancer Theresa Magario create a 30-minute focused experience at which the audience will see the creation of a visual work while immersed in melody and movement.

Check out:

Patrons will also experience a variety of installations, including an LED light sculpture titled “Light the Night: Searching for Perfection,” from renowned artist Adrian Sierra Garcia, and “Cabina Exuro,” a geodesic dome from Burning Man 2016. Built by the Burning Podcast crew, the triambic icosahedron structure was built from 3D printed parts and electrical conduit. Guests can go inside and listen to recordings and responses from Burning Man participants.

Don’t miss:

Featuring their own solo exhibitions at Art San Diego are Jeremy Sicile-Kira, Michael Carini and Erin Hanson of the Artist Spotlight Program; Stefani Byrd, an unrepresented artist in the Launch Pad Program; and William Feeney and Shinpei Takeda, winners of the San Diego Art Prize. Stunning works range from Byrd’s compelling public art installations to Takeda’s work with atomic bomb survivors and refugee children in San Diego.


One-day tickets for Art San Diego are $20 online and $25 at the door for general admission. For the opening night preview party plus all weekend attendance, tickets are $75 online/$85 at the door. Balboa Park Activity Center is at 2145 Park Blvd. For more information on Art San Diego, visit

Laurie Delk is an avid art historian, holding a master’s degree in art history, with concentrations in the modern and postmodern movements. She has taught classes at Tulane University, and has been published with several art publications including Sculpture Magazine and New Orleans Art Review. Send ideas for art stories to

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