Over the past 9 months teens from Mid City and Southeastern San Diego directed their creativity and passion toward understanding why so few clean and safe outdoor areas exist in the community and finding solutions to those negative influences. Opening the Outdoors is a project spearheaded by SAY San Diego, in partnership with AjA Project and local schools in the Mid-City area, and with Project Aware Inc. and The SOULcial workers in Southeastern San Diego, with generous funding support from the San Diego Foundation. Through the prism of photography, teens identified Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park as an important asset for the community and asked that more events and opportunities for artistic expression be offered to youth and families in City Heights.
In response to the youth, on May 4, 2018, SAY San Diego partnered with the City Heights Puppet Project, the San Diego Guild of Puppetry, the San Diego Public Library, City Heights Performance Annex, San Diego Parks and Recreation, and the City Heights Business Association to host a Day of the Arts at Jeremy Henwood Park. Over 200 youth and families attended the day of the arts and celebration of the outdoors at the park. They had an opportunity to tour the gallery of photos taken by the youth through the PhotoCity project and were provided creative opportunities to make a mask, a butterfly, and learn to play the drums. Event participants said they enjoyed the blend of arts and activities and hoped that this could be an annual event. Thank you to the San Diego Foundation for making this happen!