The event was also meant to hi-light OC Weekly's first People issue, and I was honored to be featured in that issue. I got a neat plaque, and got to sit in the VIP section!
I also got to meet really interesting people who live in Orange County, like Kevin O'Grady, director of the Center OC, Orange County's oldest LGBTQ organization, Bao Nguyen, Garden Grove School District Trustee, and Frank J. Fitzpatrick, Orange County's last cattle rancher.
Josue and I arrived at the Santa Ana train station early, so we decided to take in some local culture. We got a drink at The Crosby, a super hip bar/music venue/art space.
We went to Libraria Martinez, one of the best book stores in Orange County, a very important educational institution and cultural resource, which specializes in libros en Espanol.
The Artopia event was held at the historic Yost Theater, which used to be a locally famous Latino cinema and concert venue. Now it is more of a "club" and symbolizes the gentrification struggle that downtown Santa Ana has been facing. The back of the theater reminds us of the theater's history.
Here's my friend Josue, who has recently become a photographer for OC Weekly.
All in all, it was a fun evening. I had a lengthy conversation with local artist Alicia Rojas, who spoke about the struggles of Downtown Santa Ana between developer/city interests, and the interests of the long-standing Latino community. I said that one of the things I want to try to do with my gallery in Fullerton is to try to bridge some of the historic divide that has separated the Anglo from the Latino communities. This is an ongoing struggle. Visiting a beautiful and historic place like downtown Santa Ana is inspiring and eye-opening.