This morning we publicized this post, asking followers of Sezio and supporters of art and music in San Diego County to respond to a lack of funding for Sezio from our local government. Hundreds of you took the time to write thoughtful, eloquent emails directed towards Supervisors Ron Roberts and Greg Cox, and Councilmembers Todd Gloria and Kevin Faulconer. Artists and musicians, fans and patrons, small business owners and local media members all showed their immense support for our organization and efforts in San Diego, and for that we are endlessly grateful for you. We've chosen five letters to highlight below, please share this post with your friends and the people you know that enjoy living in San Diego and want to see this city thrive culturally. If you haven't had the chance to email in your petition for Sezio, please do so now! You can find all of the info needed right here. Thank you!
A letter from San Diego visual artist, Eliot Greenwald:
Dear Local Council Members and Public Officials,
My name is Eliot Greenwald. I am a visual artist living in the Golden Hill neighborhood of San Diego. For the past six years (the entire time I have lived in San Diego) I have been showing work in both group and solo exhibitions. Although San Diego has an arts culture at times it feels either stifled by banality or undetectable to our city community at large. Through the organization/website Sezio.org I have seen and experienced first hand its ability to connect artists to their community and communities to new and established artists.
Through Sezio I have learned of local arts events that I otherwise would have completely missed. Not only that, but because of their organization, I was able to submit work to a group exhibit at their headquarters that brought me closer to fellow artists in my community; an experience that genuinely enriched the young artists of San Diego.
When I read that Sezio was denied a modest sum from the local government to help support an event that would not only allow for artists and musicians to help establish San Diego as a cultural hub but also invigorate and stimulate local economy, I was truly dismayed. It is my feeling that Sezio is arguably the strongest connection San Diegans have to young and contemporary art and artists. For our local officials to ignore that fact makes me feel frustrated and invisible.
Please consider Sezio as a public arts resource of great importance... because IT IS.
Thank you very much,
A letter from a frequent cultural visitor to San Diego:
I hope that you enjoyed your holiday weekend, but I'm writing now with important business. I am a proud graduate of San Diego State University and make the 2.5 hour commute from Santa Monica to San Diego at least once per month to attend music and culture events, a great number of which are hosted by Sezio, Inc.
Sezio, a local San Diego non-profit, was recently denied funding for a $5,000 grant by San Diego County. Out of the $2,500,500.00 that was awarded, Sezio, Inc. was left out. I am well aware that we are in a budget crisis and that every dollar counts and that is why I am shocked to hear that the County would pass up the opportunity to earn a substantial return on its investment.
I came down to San Diego this weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July (I was also down the weekend before) - I love San Diego and spend a large portion of my disposable income staying at hotels, eating at restaurants and attending live events like the ones that Sezio produces.
The first time I ever visited the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art was because of a Sezio event that hosted a concert/art show last year. I ate dinner at a local La Jolla sushi restaurant and spent money on cocktails afterward at a local bar. This money was spent directly because of Sezio's work.
I am a 31-year old professional who relies on the likes of Sezio to learn about and explore the city of San Diego. I attend museums, parks and historical monuments, but to be honest, I have grown up with and count on blogs like Sezio to decide where and when I'll spend my free time and money.
I would urge you to reassess what I, as a former taxpayer and lifelong tourist of San Diego County, view as a serious and unfortunate funding error. I won't speculate on percentages or exact figures, but it doesn't take a mathematician to realize that the County would be making a significant return on investment by granting Sezio, Inc. the $5,000 they've requested in the form of a grant.
Thank you for taking the time to read my email and take my opinions into serious consideration.
A letter from technology/music entrepreneur, Todd Cronin:
This email is in regards to an application to the San Diego County's Community Enhancement Program grant which I understand was NOT granted to Sezio.org.
I don't know the basis for the decisions that were made but I would quickly like to voice my opinion about Sezio and what they bring to the community.
I am the founder of a venture backed startup Bandsintown Inc. which relocated from Boston, MA to San Diego about a year ago. With us we brought 4 full time employees and will be hiring more this quarter to about 8. Bandsintown is concert technology and ticketing company that is providing services to most of the largest bands in the world (Dave Matthews Band, Shakira, Tim McGraw, Etc.)
San Diego isn't a traditional place to locate a startup especially a music related startup when the alternatives are NYC and LA. We made our decision based on the fact that San Diego offers more affordable talent and the community seemed ripe for change and innovation.
Since relocation I have been surprisingly underwhelmed by the innovation I see taking place from the arts, to music, to general community events and activism in the downtown area.
I have however seen a REALLY REALLY motivated group of young entrepreneurs and companies mostly comprised of San Diego natives that are trying really hard to inspire the community through the arts. SEZIO is the best of breed. It's not every day that you find non profits that local kids consider "COOL". Sezio is that. They are the trendsetters in the area.
These are the kinds of companies that when backed and given the proper resources - will inspire, bring jobs, and keep the young talent in the area.
A letter from FILTER Magazine in Los Angeles:
Dear Councilmembers and officials,
My name is Connie Tsang and I work with FILTER Magazine; a Los Angeles based music magazine that is distributed in the U.S. and overseas. I’m writing to you today because I’m concerned by the lack of support Sezio is getting from its local government, and want to share with you how much this non-profit has been helpful, even to us.
Sezio has been invaluable in bringing to our attention all the talented and creative artists active in the San Diego area today. They are always on the pulse as far as what’s happening in their community and because of this we’re able to keep our readers in the know about local music outside of the Los Angeles area. This organization truly cares about the creative folks in the San Diego because it constantly seeks to showcase the city’s talents to the masses. Without Sezio, San Diego would honestly be overlooked and overshadowed by bigger markets and because of that, they really should be supported by the cities’ officials.
As someone who does production on events nationally throughout out the year, I know first hand just how vital Sezio events are to their overall operation. I’ve attended several events and words cannot describe how inspiring they are to me. Not only does their team work tirelessly to bring their idea to life, but they’re bringing their city’s own talent direct to the audience. These events give like-minded friends a place to share a creative experience, provide newcomers a place to seek new and fun activities in the city and give the younger crowd an opportunity to learn from a group of amazingly talented individuals. Sezio has already done so much for the city and the funds they are asking for will only continue to enrich your city; something we should all view as admirable and respectable because they’re really doing it for you, your neighbors and your city.
Support the arts, support creativity and please support Sezio, because they are the creative authority in San Diego.
Thank you for your time.
A letter from New York-based musicians, The Shivers:
This is coming to you from a rock band from NYC called The Shivers. We are writing to you to express our strong support for your local San Diego arts organization, Sezio. We've recently had the great opportunity to play a concert at one of their events while on a West Coast tour. The event was great. There was a real community vibe, a diverse, respectful crowd of people who actually cared and listened. A lot of times you play at loud bars or clubs and people are there more to drink and party than listen to music. This crowd which spanned different age groups and races were all respectfully sitting there listening to us. The venue made it so our small touring band wound up making some money, we found the supportive crowd buying our merchandise. Zack Nielsen, the founder, housed and fed us. He told us great stories about local events they were doing and his goals to bring the San Diego music scene to national attention. Being friends with some locals, we saw just how vital Sezio was to the San Diego arts scene and their goals to reach out to young people in the community to bring them the arts where they otherwise may not find them. I highly recommend funding Sezio. The members are good, honest people and what they are doing and want to do is really important. Thank you kindly for your time.