One San Diego Comic-Con mainstay won’t be around next year, unfortunately: La Bodega Gallery announced via Instagram that they will be closing their gallery doors at the end of December. The popular Barrio Logan gallery had hosted the Comic Book Art Show during SDCC for several years, which showcased local San Diego artists’ work.
According to 10News, gallery owners Chris Zertuche and Soni Lopez-Chavez are pointing the finger at gentrification. They say property owner Nick Inzunza, former National City mayor, has raised their rent to a rate they can no longer afford.
“This is an ugly reminder of Barrio Logan’s current unaffordable reality for those wanting to have a space to present art and culture. It’s a sad reality that hurts. We put our life into making La Bodega what it is today and we are completely heartbroken that we have to vacate that historic building,” they wrote in their Instagram post.
Inzunza told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the city is to blame for the rent increase due to “improvements that must be made” to the historic Bank of Italy building.
One of the pioneers of the Barrio Logan Arts District renaissance, La Bodega attracts hundreds of guests to their monthly art show. Their annual Frida Kahlo Art Show draws more than 5,000 people to the small community.
The gallery came under the city’s scrutiny after the 2016 Ghost Ship Fire in Oakland where 36 people lost their lives. Renovations needed to be made to the building in order to bring it back up to fire code standards.
Unfortunately, gallery owners Zertuche and Lopez-Chavez were unable to negotiate an agreement with property owner Inzunza, and the repairs went mostly uncompleted.
The gallery owners vowed to continue their work, even if it isn’t in their original location.
“Although La Bodega, in its current manifestation, may be coming to an end we are not going to stop doing what we do.”
How do you feel about La Bodega Gallery’s closing? Let us know in the comments.