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Meet Soni Lopez-Chavez and Chris Zertuche of La Bodega Gallery

Today we’d like to introduce you to Soni Lopez-Chavez and Chris Zertuche.

Soni and Chris, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
La Bodega Gallery is located in the heart of Barrio Logan, only a few blocks away from historic Chicano Park. Doors opened October 2013 with the aim of creating a welcoming space for both artists and art supporters. Since then, we have accomplished this goal by welcoming thousands of guests and supported thousands of early and established artists through exhibitions, performance events, screenings and much more. Having hosted over 400 shows that include the popular annual “Dia De Los Muertos Skull Art Show,” “Frida Kahlo Art Show & Friducha Market,” “Perfect 10,” and many more.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Five years ago when we started, we were the only active business on Logan Ave. in Barrio Logan. Most businesses were boarded up and closed. We were in an area that had a bad reputation with a history of violence, gangs, and drugs. It was difficult getting outsiders to come to the area. People were still afraid to visit, and taxies wouldn’t pick up or drop off people here. Since then our community had completely transformed. Once people attended our shows, they realized Barrio Logan was no longer that scary place but instead was now an amazing community filled with culture and art.

In the wake of the Ghost Ship tragedy which took place on December 2nd, 2016 in Oakland CA, resulting in the tragic deaths of 36 individuals, the City of San Diego and Fire Marshall inspected our building, and to our surprise, they found things that were not up to code. We were not financially ready for this huge unexpected expense. We asked for help from our community thru gofundme and fundraisers. We are currently still dealing with the city and trying to get it all done accordingly.

La Bodega Gallery – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
La Bodega Gallery has accomplished so much since first opening our doors. Having hosted over 400 exhibitions that showcased work from local and international artists. We are honored to have been recognized as San Diego’s best Art Gallery by City Beat for 2016, 2017 and 2018. We strive to work hard and stay active for our art scene.

We feel what sets us apart from others is our way of dealing with artists and our community. Our goal has always been to create a welcoming space for everyone where artists will not feel intimidated. Where a community can view art with no pressure and free of charge.

We are very proud of everything we have accomplished thus far. Seeing people of all ages and ethnicities attend our opening receptions is pretty amazing as well.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Being awarded best Art Gallery in San Diego three years in a row now!!

Contact Info:

  • Address: 2196 Logan Ave. San Diego Ca 92113
  • Website: www.labodegagallery.com
  • Phone: 6192557036
  • Email: labodegastudios@gmail.com
  • Instagram: labodegagallery
  • Facebook: labodegagallery
  • Yelp: labodegagallery

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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