Congratulations on the new position. Can you tell us how you got here?
As a small child, I used art as an outlet, possibly even an escape. I found it to be cathartic and calmed my brain down given it ran a mile a minute. In my formative teenage years, I dove head first into the arts and acquired many accolades, one being a half-paid tuition scholarship to Rowan University in South Jersey. From there I studied fine art with the full intention of becoming an art teacher, but with constant budget cuts to certain programs during that time period, I pivoted into event planning. This was an interesting situation given my first exposure to event planning (which I always desired to do) was for my fraternity Phi Kappa Psi. I did a philanthropic LGBTQIA+/Self-Acceptance event that raised money for the “Born This Way Foundation.” The event went beyond my expectations allowing me to receive an internship here in San Diego doing corporate event planning for a prestigious biotech company. I never looked back nor did I return to New Jersey for school. I continued to work different facets of the events industry and learn everything I possibly could. I have been known to be quite a dreamer so I took every opportunity I could. Failure was inevitable and yes, I was fired many times! How I see it, there is such a thing as failing upwards. Doing so I found out what I wanted to do through trial and error. I wanted to merge my love of art and events to create community-driven art nights. That culminated into pop-up art shows that happened locally with the help of some amazing people!
Unfortunately, for some time I had to relocate to North County as I had fallen on hard times. Refusing to give up, I found my way into a wedding venue where I became a lead planner and performed more than 100 weddings. Once I felt that I had learned all that I needed, I threw some of my belongings into trash bags and came back with barely a plan. It was touch and go for a little but passion persevered when I became an event coordinator at the legendary Hotel Del Coronado. After a promotion at The Del, I became an event specialist running some of the most exciting events one could ever imagine! As all good things do, it came to an end and I decided to become a self-employed artist running local events once again. With some luck, the Hillcrest Business Association took a shot on me and allowed me to contribute to such events like Cityfest, Nightmare on Normal, and Mardi Gras. I felt a bit of defeat once the pandemic came around and pretty much nabbed everything I had worked so hard for but I remained hopeful. As California slowly opened, I made sure that it was known that I was more than willing to participate in any way possible! I guess that pays off because here I am completely giddy at the fact that this is real life and somehow the dream became reality!
What are you responsible for as the creative director?
As the new creative director of Walk In A.R.T., I will collaborate with Patric Stillman of The Studio Door to provide a once-a-month event that showcases extremely talented artists and performers! We hope to provide an experience that not only promotes community but allows you to form a relationship with the local crafters. This position will allow me to proudly take on many roles as I will be managing the booking of vendors, entertainment, PR/marketing, sponsorships, and much more! In a nutshell, my job is to promote and encourage community togetherness under the umbrella that is artistry. I plan to grow with the event and offer diversified experiences every single month. My biggest goal is to play as liaison between the community and artists to produce an event worthy of your excitement! The same essentially goes for the “Arts” section of Cityfest.
Can you tell our readers about the Walk In A.R.T. event?
Walk in A.R.T. is EXACTLY what this town has been needing! Picture the farmers market but with even more crafts, paintings, performances, and libations! Under the ambiance of warm market lights and between colorfully designed walls, you will find yourself feeling a sense of camaraderie. Starting at 5 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month, the local vendors are set and ready to showcase their work as you walk through with your family and friends! Handcrafted necklaces, hats, paintings, and beyond as you smile, passing by your neighbor from down the street. As you make your rounds, you can enter The Studio Door where they are premiering their newest exhibition. Inside is a bunch of smiling faces of artists who you can socialize with and learn what inspired their work. As you decide to take another lap around the event, you find yourself mesmerized by the live artists finishing their art pieces they started only a couple hours ago. As the sun begins to set, you can take a seat and snack on some food from one of the multiple food vendors as you watch a local performer dazzle you with their amazing voice. You look around and recognize that everyone is enjoying themselves and there truly isn’t a care in the world. In that moment, you realize this is how it feels to be a part of something bigger. That is how I personally felt my first couple times working this event and I hope to provide that experience to everyone who attends because it is nothing short of beautiful!
What is new for Cityfest?
Notably, Cityfest will be on Aug. 8 this year and the festival will be the first big event coming out of the quarantine for this town! We are expecting more foot traffic since it’s been a while that we could gather like this. As far as the “Arts”-specific section of the festival goes, it has been amplified tenfold. We typically offer the opportunity for local artists/crafters to showcase their work with no cost to them, which is a blessing. This year, we offered the same opportunity, doubled the number of artists BUT with a twist to engage the attendees a bit more. Each vendor in that specific section will be providing some type of live or interactive feature to their booth! Be it an Instagram-worthy photo opportunity or live music, there is going to be something to make your head turn every couple of feet! The creativity behind the submissions I have received have been nothing short of amazing and I am STILL only halfway through the selection process! Other submissions include fashion shows, Drag performances, flash mobs and even a circus workshop (“Oh my!”). Also, you can expect more large-scale art installations to just add that extra wow factor as you walk through. We know that it has been a hard year for everyone and we all want to get back to normalcy, but I can promise you that we have been hard at work to make sure this year is better than normal…we aim for the best yet!
With pandemic restrictions being lifted, what is important to know as an attendee of any of these events?
I highly suggest that if you haven’t gotten it already, just go and get the vaccine. There is plenty of time given Cityfest is in August. We all hope to move forward properly and be able to experience this event in all its glory! This will be one of the first major events for this town that we are allowed to do and we want to do it in a safe environment. We still advise if you are showing any signs or symptoms, please be responsible and make the proper decisions for the safety of others.
How can people get involved, reach out, and give feedback?
If you are interested in learning more about the Walk In A.R.T. event, please check out:
There you can apply to be a vendor, see upcoming talent, etc..
For participation/volunteering in Cityfest 2021, please feel free to send me an email at:
I am always open to suggestions and community input.