New art display from NTC Foundation adds color to Liberty Station in Point Loma


Opening reception is 5-9 p.m. Friday Oct. 5

The walls along Barracks 14 in Liberty Station, once a plain deep tan, have received a creative, temporary “makeover.”

Beautiful murals depicting individuals in various emotional states now decorate the walls in black paint, overlaid by bright white birds, and a red and blue shadow lies across the ground as the sun shines through transparent tiles above the walkways, while children nearby climb along a large heavily-braided rope bench.

These are just a few of the sights currently available to those visiting the Arts District in Point Loma at Liberty Station.

The grand opening of “Installations at the Station,” will be 5-9 p.m. Oct. 5, during Friday Night Liberty, the first Fridays community event where all the art galleries and museums are open to the public, and dance performances and live music are also available.

The night will provide the perfect atmosphere for the community to fully embrace “Installations at the Station.” Hosted by the Naval Training Center’s Art in Public Places Committee (with help from San Diego Art Institute), the art is part of the renovation of 26 buildings the NTC has been taking on since 2000, according to Alan Ziter, executive director of the NTC Foundation.

Ziter suggests guests begin their viewing at 2770 Historic Decatur Road, between Liberty Public Market and Barracks 14.

Six of the 28 submitted projects will be featured, including works by David Krimmel, Karl Alex Roesch, Lissa Corona and Marina Grize, Jeremy Nuttall and Hugo Crosthwaite. Artist Josemar Gonzalez’s work was also chosen by the NTC Foundation, but isn’t expected to be showcased until early next year.

This temporary art display is part of NTC Foundation giving opportunities to allow people to enjoy “the transformation of the Navy base into a more vibrant arts district.” Ziter said the NTC Foundation allotted $60,000 for the project.

Vicki Reed, chair of the Art in Public Places Committee, says that while guests are free to wander Liberty Station and enjoy viewing the art at other times, the opening event will be special because the majority of the artists will be present. “It’s a way to be with a creative community,” she said.

In addition to creativity, budget, authenticity and other factors, the NTC Foundation website states that the art proposals featured in “Installations at the Station,” were chosen based on them relating to “innovation and community engagement, and whether they showcased the history of San Diego, enhanced the dignity of the site and added to the creative hub of the Arts District.”

For Krimmel, his use of 1,200 colored transparent tiles maintains those standards as they are intended to replicate the original tiles in Liberty Public Market, casting beautifully colored shadows along the ground and walls in the station.

Roesch’s braided rope bench is symbolic of tying together the cultures and lives of the Kumeyaay Native tribe, Spanish explorers and U.S. Navy — all of whom used that particular type of rope.

Between Barracks 16 and 17, by day or night, guests can see Corona and Grizes’ project: a light installation that reads “Rest with you comes easy.” The phrase is a nod to a tweet by the U.S. Navy in 2012, according to Ziter. The tweet read: “Rest easy tonight, U.S. Navy has the watch.”

According to Reed, the tweet prompted Corona and Grize to reflect on the concept of family. They realized, in Reed’s words: “It’s not just the Navy that watches over us; we watch over each other,” and the thought led to the art display.

Nuttall’s “Rolling It Forward” is an homage to the concept of “Pay it forward,” and is made entirely of skateboards painted by and/or contributed by the community, according to Reed. Together, the skateboards form a boat on the ocean waves, providing just the splash of color Ziter says he wanted for “Installations.”

Finally, Crosthwaite’s “Column A and Column B: A Continual Mural Narrative Performance,” located at Arcades Barracks 14, took two full weeks to finish. From Aug. 3 to Aug. 17, Crosthwaite painted 16 improvisational murals.

Ziter says Crosthwaite’s murals are, in part, inspired by Navy experiences and present-day issues: “If you study the murals, you’ll see the empathy of family separation at the border on some of the walls, while you’ll see more contemporary images of San Diego in some of the other murals.”

Additionally, Crosthwaite’s installation is recognized as being spontaneous and strongly influenced by his conversations with passersby during his two weeks of painting. Reed adds that to Crosthwaite, his artwork is more than just the final product; it’s also about the process and public performance.

“The piece itself is not only what you see looking at the murals, but is actually just watching him work,” Reed said.

Though Crosthwaite won’t be unable to attend the opening of “Installations at the Station” due to prior engagements, Reed says the NTC Foundation is hoping to provide a video in the arcade of Crosthwaite discussing his art so guests may listen in and watch his improvisational painting.

The featured artists are, of course, highly-talented and well-recognized (and if they weren’t before, they will be now!). However, this display is not just for those with a well-trained eye for artistry. It is for the San Diegan, the historian, the painter, the wishers-that-they-could-draw-more-than-stick-figures and anyone else who simply enjoys beauty.

Come, enjoy, and don’t be afraid to add a little extra color to your soul.

— Liberty Station is a mixed-use development on the site of the former Naval Training Center (NTC), off Rosecrans Street in Point Loma. The 361-acre project is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and many of the structures are designated as historic by the City of San Diego.

Dozens of the historical buildings are being adapted for stores, offices, schools and other purposes.


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