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Economy

Apartment development in Vista focuses on art and affordability

Paseo Artist Village is a new apartment development in Vista, but it's not like other recent developments popping up in the area.

This one has a focus on art — and affordability.

“What we did here at Paseo Artist Village was to provide the resources of a work area for artists, as well as an artist gallery, along with affordable apartments, in one place," said Mary Jane Jagodzinski with Community HousingWorks (CHW).

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CHW is a nonprofit organization that develops affordable apartment communities in California.

While they operate different properties in San Diego, Paseo Artist Village is the only one that is art focused.

“Many artists get priced out of gentrifying areas where they can no longer afford to live... so it's really important to provide affordable apartments, (so) that they can remain and be a part of the fabric of the community,” Jagodzinski said.

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Tania Thorne
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KPBS
Pictured the exterior of Paseo Artist Village in Vista Calif. October 7, 2022.

Paseo Artist Village has 60 affordable units, an art gallery, a community room, and resources for residents. Applications were open to local artists, veterans, seniors and their families.

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So, how affordable are they?

“One bedrooms, at the lowest level of income, rent would be a little over $550 a month. Three bedrooms at the highest income, rent would be a little more than $1350 a month," Jagodzinski said. "So when you hear of these astronomical rents today, you can see these really are affordable.”

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Tania Thorne
Pictured, a children's playground at Paseo Artist Village in Vista, Calif. October 7, 2022.

An affordable home is what Addie Sealey needed in order to continue creating.

She's an Army veteran who paints and makes glass art, ceramics, and jewelry.

“I moved back down here from Los Angeles after graduating from Cal State Long Beach. I was looking for a place because I moved in with my son. I moved into the garage... but then I decided I needed my own space because I couldn't create there," Sealey said.

Now, in her apartment at Paseo Artist Village, she has the space to create what she pleases — at an affordable price.

“I am on a fixed income and after I pay the rent and everything else that I am responsible for, I might have about $60 bucks left for the month," she said.

Art is what keeps her busy, but she still has a bit of doubt about her work.

"I think every artist goes through a phase... 'I don't know if I want to do this... this isn't good enough... I'm not ready...' and that was me," Sealey said.

But she said that doubt may fade away with the art gallery available to residents.

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Tania Thorne
Pictured, Addie Sealey, an artist living at Paseo Artist Village in Vista Calif. October 12, 2022.

Louis Farace also lives at Paseo Artist Village.

His main source of income is from working with children with autism, but in his free time, he draws and paints.

"Doing art is almost a form of therapy. It can help with your mental health expressing yourself through a new medium whether it's painting, jewelry, dancing..." Ferace said.

He said the affordability of his new apartment lets him spend more time doing what he loves.

“I believe it's a necessary part of life that has sort of been neglected with our fast-paced way of living," Farace said. "I think it's vital to our community to sometimes slow down a little bit and just take time to create and express ourselves."

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Tania Thorne
Artist Louis Farace, holds one of his paintings at the art gallery of Paseo Artist Village in Vista, Calif. October 13, 2022.

CHW said the project synchronizes with Vista’s revitalization of its arts and culture district.

Vista Councilmember Corinna Contreras said she’s happy to see a development that is making places for all.

"I want to see a revitalization continue to happen where we're not displacing people," she said. "A lot of people are afraid of gentrification and what the implications are for them and their families and the future of their families."

More is in the works for Paseo Artist Village, including a popular sandwich chain expected to take the retail space next year.

"I know tons of people enjoy Jimmy John's. And we're gonna have the first one [in San Diego county] here in Vista," Contreras said.

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