Drone pilot Eric Hernandez, left, coordinates an aerial photo to announce the Oceanside First Friday Art Walk, from 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 4, featuring local artists, musicians and dancing in downtown Oceanside. Photo by Pete Harwood
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Oceanside named a state Cultural District

OCEANSIDE — The California Arts Council recently named Oceanside as one of 14 state Cultural Districts. Cities were selected though an initial letter of intent, peer panel review, site visit and invitation finalist application.

“Oceanside is an original, active and eclectic area abundant with cultural resources,” CJ Di Mento, Oceanside Public Library principal librarian, said.

Oceanside Pier marks the west end of the city’s Cultural District. Oceanside was named one of 14 state Cultural Districts. Photo by Promise Yee

Before being officially selected the city was notified it was a semifinalist, and two representatives from the California Arts Council conducted a site visit. The tour began with a stakeholders meeting of leaders from Oceanside’s arts and cultural organizations. Then a walking tour of the proposed downtown Cultural District was given.

Oceanside’s Cultural District is just under a square mile. Its northernmost point is Sportfisher Drive, its eastern boundary is Nevada Street, its southern boundary is Minnesota Avenue and its western boundary is the Oceanside Pier.

The tour highlighted an area within the city that has a high concentration of cultural resources and activities, and serves as a location of numerous annual cultural events.

Stops on the tour included the Oceanside Public Library, California Surf Museum, the pier and beach amphitheater, Local Tap House restaurant and bar, Linksoul workspace and gallery, MainStreet Oceanside, Star Theatre, Artist Alley and The Arcade tattoo shop.

Beyond being recognized as a California Cultural District, Oceanside will be able to use the state Cultural District brand and logo in its marketing for five years. The city has partnered with Visit California and Caltrans for statewide marketing and resource support.

The California Arts Council will also provide the city technical assistance through an annual convening session and peer learning opportunities.

Additionally, the city will receive an annual $5,000 stipend for two years to support its participation in the Cultural District program.

“The community is excited and validated by this designation, and will continue to work hard to create and support cultural assets in Oceanside,” Di Mento said.

Oceanside Cultural District partners are the city of Oceanside, represented by the Oceanside Public Library and advised by the Oceanside Arts Commission; the Oceanside Museum of Art; and MainStreet Oceanside.

This is the first year the California Arts Council has named Cultural Districts. The goal of the program is to leverage California’s artistic and cultural assets.

“State-level designation of Cultural Districts, with California’s diverse geography and regional variety, allowed for an entirely new and comprehensive look at our deeply valued cultural assets,” Donn Harris, California Arts Council chair, said.

The program will work to grow and sustain grassroots arts and cultural opportunities, increase the visibility of local artists and community participation in local arts and culture and promote socioeconomic and ethnic diversity. It will also play a conscious role in tackling issues of artist displacement.

“The districts are one more way to highlight the one-of-a-kind places throughout our state that inspire residents and visitors alike,” Caroline Beteta, Visit California CEO and president, said.

The 14 districts range from emerging to established development; emphasize cultural consumption, production and heritage; and are located in urban, suburban and rural areas.

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