A community nonprofit in San Ysidro is renovating a historic church to use for art and culture. Thursday night, Casa Familiar opened that new art space, El Salon, with an exhibit that was previously on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

The exhibit includes models of award-winning housing projects that are planned to be constructed in San Ysidro. I visited the exhibit Wednesday as Casa’s design and development officer, David Flores, was touching up some details for the display. Here’s our weekly television segment with NBC San Diego:

View more videos at: http://www.nbcsandiego.com.

It’s been really fun for me to follow some of these ideas that Casa Familiar and architecture firm Estudio Teddy Cruz have been working on for years. (These ideas even followed me from the housing beat to the arts beat!) I wrote a few years ago about some of the ways Flores navigated the task to engage a community in the process of designing new housing projects, and about his frustrating setbacks when the city’s City of Villages push fizzled.

This week, Flores said it was really humbling and an honor to have the work he’d done with Cruz exhibited at MOMA — he called it the “cathedral of art.” But he said they quickly realized it felt weird to only have New Yorkers seeing what was planned for San Ysidro.

(You can hear more from Flores on this topic at our Meeting of the Minds event on June 1.)

The Ford Foundation recently picked Cruz as one of its 12 visionaries for a $100,000 cash prize.

In Wednesday’s CityBeat, Kinsee Morlan included more details about the exhibit, including some of Cruz’s perspective:

Cruz says he approached it more as “choreographing and curating the community” rather than building static housing. He took the anecdotes and narratives gathered at workshops and started imagining the activities that would happen in the spaces.

“It became more about injecting programming into the community,” Cruz says.

The renderings and videos of the yet-to-be-built projects will be on display at the renovated church in San Ysidro through July 31. If you want to get a group together to go on a tour of the exhibit, contact Leticia Gomez at leticiag@casafamiliar.org.

I am the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531. Or you can keep up with me on Twitter @kellyrbennett or on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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