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San Diego’s Creative City: Shaping the Future of Arts and Culture


The City of San Diego is embarking on a groundbreaking initiative, creating its first-ever comprehensive cultural plan to ignite the arts and culture scene in neighborhoods across the city. This week, the city staff released a framework that will pave the way for the development of Creative City, an ambitious cultural plan aimed at advancing arts and culture in every community, while fostering greater opportunities and sustainability for all San Diegans.

The Creative City cultural planning process will span a seven to ten-year period, aligning art and culture with the city’s priorities, focusing on the goals outlined in the framework.

Residents are strongly encouraged to actively participate in the planning process and contribute their insights to capture the essence of San Diego’s cultural traditions and creative assets. Ultimately, this plan aims to propel San Diego and the entire San Diego-Baja megaregion toward becoming a more equitable hub of inspiration and prosperity.

“This marks a significant milestone in our journey towards the cultural plan,” expressed Jonathon Glus, Executive Director of Arts and Culture.

“The plan’s development involves actively listening to individuals and communities, collecting and analyzing information, and fostering consensus on a shared vision for arts and culture. The framework outlines the stages to create an ambitious and achievable cultural plan that will serve our entire city and its creative communities for years to come.”

San Diego’s arts and cultural ecosystems hold immense vision and impact. However, they face ongoing challenges stemming from the pandemic and the increasing costs of living and conducting business. With the right plan in place, the San Diego creative economy will drive growth and success, led by creatives in diverse industries and artists across visual arts, performing arts, film, and music.

The framework, along with the project website sdcreativecity.com, provides valuable information and an overview of the planning process. Commencing with pre-planning and research, initiated last winter, the process will transition into engaging and interactive sessions with the people of San Diego. The final plan is anticipated to be completed by March 2025.

“The cultural planning process presents an unprecedented opportunity for residents to actively engage and collectively shape the creative future of San Diego. Together, we chart a course for our city to thrive as a cultural capital,” said Christine E. Jones, Chief of Civic Art Strategies, Arts and Culture.

“This Creative City cultural plan will align arts and culture with the city’s priorities, and San Diegans will have multiple opportunities to contribute their aspirations and objectives for the plan, from participating in Creative City forums to hosting community conversations using our toolkits.”

The City of San Diego is leading this effort in collaboration with Cultural Planning Group, LLC, an industry-leading consulting firm specializing in arts and culture. The citywide cultural planning effort encompasses various topics, including analyzing existing conditions, identifying opportunities for city programs and initiatives, creative economy investments, City-owned cultural facilities, cultural equity, and tourism.

Starting in June, the engagement process will feature two Creative City public forums, while public discussion pop-ups will be held in nine City Council districts throughout July, alongside the launch of a public survey.

For more information, please visit the project website, follow the city on social media, and sign up for ongoing updates.

The City of San Diego is committed to advancing and nurturing an equitable and inclusive creative economy and cultural ecosystem by investing in artists, creatives, and the institutions and systems that amplify creative work and experiences. To learn more, visit sandiego.gov/arts-culture.

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