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San Diego’s Little Saigon Cultural District Gets Some Fresh Branding

A 2018 photo of the Little Saigon mural.

Credit: Olive Creative Strategies

Above: A 2018 photo of the Little Saigon mural.

Fresh off this weekend’s Tết Festival to mark Vietnamese New Year, the region’s Little Saigon quarter has another reason to celebrate. A newly painted mural now welcomes you to the six-block section in San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood.

The installation comes amid other efforts to shine a light on the area, which was designated as a community and cultural district by the city of San Diego in 2013.

The mural is one of several "vintage large-letter postcard-inspired murals" painted in states across the U.S. and one of three in San Diego, said traveling artist Victor Ving.

"I guess what we do in a sense is a little bit more public art in a truer sense — it's not just creating our art in public, we're actually working with communities, incorporating elements from different neighborhoods into the pieces that we do," Ving said.

The piece marks the launch of a larger public art project that aims to install more artistic works in the area that are inspired by stories from the community. Speak City Heights partners The AjA Project and Media Arts Center San Diego are also working on the initiative with the Little Saigon Foundation and the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association.

A news release about the project said, "Through the Creative California Communities Grant from the California Arts Council that the San Diego Art Institute received, they will be curating and installing site-specific artworks including murals, sculpture, light boxes and other mediums – all created by local artists."

At the state level, Assemblyman Todd Gloria is also pushing to bolster the Little Saigon brand. The first-term representative and former San Diego City Councilman proposed a bill this month to install highway exits for the cultural district.

The mural completed earlier this month is located at the corner of Menlo Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard.

The city-designated Little Saigon Cultural and Commercial District received a new landmark mural thanks to artistic nomads.

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