Convivio Center Reflections

Most visitors to the Convivio Center would first see the paladino, the knight in armor standing in view through the front window (and donated by Umberto Falcone, resident of Little Italy), just as Hillary and Justin did last year and noted it in their blog, An Uncontained Life.

(Read their blog post, Celebrating Little Italy’s “Fishy” Past.)

It’s a nice piece about walking through the Little Italy neighborhood, but it also accentuates the charm of the Convivio Center and its focus on community and bringing people together in a third place, a core component of the Convivio vision and mission.

We opened the Convivio Center in May of 2013, and for a couple years served the community as a venue for the Italian and broader cultural communities of San Diego, a space in which to engage in arts, culture, and heritage programs and find that third place as a means for connection. Many visitors would immediately comment on the center’s vibe, its welcoming look and feel, which made them feel right at home.

Perhaps some of the more enduring impact comes from the many children, young adults, and college-aged students who performed at the Convivio Center, such as the Carlsbad Showcase Company (under the direction of Ric Henry), Point Loma Opera Theatre, and SDSU School of Music and Dance Opera Theatre. As a result, the Convivio Center not only provided a multicultural venue but a space that gave opportunity to these rising stars to showcase their artistry. And for this, we are privileged.

This overview video below from Louis Cutino encapsulates some of the musical events we featured at the center. You can find many of our events captured on video, and for that we are grateful to Louis for his work and generosity–manifesting the very spirit of community though his time and talent.

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But this commentary is not meant to be merely a nostalgic saunter down memory lane–it is meant to honor an important resource in bringing people together, and it also serves as a nod to our active pursuit of a new space and once again bringing to San Diego an Italian cultural institute through which culture, connection, and camaraderie will be the order of the day.

In the interim, we are busy with our cultural programming in partnership with other venues in the county and our important work in preserving the quickly diminishing Italian American history of San Diego. And this fall we launch our scholarship program, and we are already planning our Communitas Award festivities for next year.

Ultimately, we wish to express our immense gratitude to all our Convivio donors, center co-founders, volunteers, and of course, all the talented artists and guests for their support through the years in helping to realize this dream of a cultural and educational space, a dream for many Italian Americans in San Diego.

For everything the Convivio Center represented, it was merely a start, a stepping stone on a path to greater things. We look forward to continuing to pursue our vision with you.

Sempre avanti!

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