In the early days of July, a new chapter of my life unfolded as I joined Zachary McInnis to share a studio. Our artistic haven found its home in an exceptional art community in Liberty Station, nestled in the heart of San Diego.
The roots of this vibrant place can be traced back to the year 1923, a time when the Naval Training Center emerged as a center of learning and preparation for the members of the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve. During World War II, the center expanded threefold. A landscape once dotted with a modest scattering of buildings now counting three hundred structures, stretched across of five hundred and fifty acres.
Time flowed, and seventy years etched their mark upon the center's existence. By 1993 the recommendation for closure from the office of the Base Realignment and Closure marked the end of the era of Liberty Station as a training center. In the year 1997 the doors were shut, leaving behind an echo of the past and the loss of four hundred and two civilian positions.
From the dark cloud of this closure thanks to the NTC Reuse Committee, emerged a beacon of hope and renewal. Their efforts brought new life into the area, and a public tender for a reuse plan was announced. In 2000 started a transformative renovation based on McMillin's plans that would protect architectural virtuosity created by Lincoln Roges and merge it with modernity.
Architect Lincoln Rogers left his ineffaceable mark on the landscape, crafting the original buildings that now stand as pillars of heritage. Influenced by the artistry of Bertram G. Goodhue's designs for the 1915 Panama Exhibition in Balboa Park, these structures emanated the elegance of the Spanish Colonial Revival style that defined the era.
In the present day, Liberty Station has two parts. A residential area housing military and civilian communities, with three hundred and fifty townhouses and single-family homes. An expansive public area where an educational district imparts knowledge, an art district blossoms with creativity, and many restaurants present their culinary delights of cuisines from many corners of the world. The heart of the station is adorned with a hundred acres of park-like splendor, inviting contemplation and serenity.
Within this vast canvas, fifty-two buildings stand as sentinels of history, a designated Historic District that finds its place within the esteemed National Register of Historic Places. The art district, a haven for creativity, shelters over a hundred spaces dedicated to the celebration of artistic expression, from galleries and museums to artist studios and spaces for events that breathe life into the station's cultural heartbeat.
As the narrative unfolds, our own artistic haven emerges, perched on the second floor of Barracks 16 within the embrace of the art district. Here, within these storied walls, Zachary McInnis and I embark on our creative odyssey, a chapter written in the language of brushes, colors, and boundless imagination.