The Rabbits of ‘Rabbitville’

Apr. 2017

The Gaslamp Quarter Association has announced the installation of 15 fiberglass rabbit statues in the Gaslamp Quarter to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the neighborhood’s original settlement. 150 years ago, the area that is now the Gaslamp Quarter was jokingly nicknamed “Rabbitville” after its chief inhabitants. The “Rabbitville” installation will honor the pioneering spirit of legendary founder, Alonzo Horton, who transformed Rabbitville into modern San Diego. Fifteen artists will be commissioned to paint and decorate these unique canvases that will be on display to the public starting in April 2017.

Celebrating 150 Years. In the spring of 1867, Alonzo Horton sailed into San Diego Bay wide-eyed and brimming with excitement. As his ship docked, Horton dreamed of transforming the dusty plain that lay before him into a thriving port city. He believed San Diego’s naturally deep harbor, vast agricultural potential, and amiable climate made the area “a Heaven on Earth.” Horton set about purchasing 960 acres, which included the abandoned rabbit runs that gave the area its nickname. He would go on to subdivide the land into the blocks, lots, and streets we know today as the Gaslamp Quarter and much of Downtown San Diego.

“It is remarkable that in only a century and a half we were able to grow into the commercial core of America’s eighth largest city,” says, Michael Trimble, Executive Director of the Gaslamp Quarter Association. “Alonzo Horton was a visionary leader who set a precedent of hard work and determination still very much alive in the Gaslamp Quarter. We want the “Rabbitville” installation to educate and inspire the next generation of pioneers in San Diego.”

The Gaslamp Quarter Association is working in conjunction with the Downtown San Diego Partnership Clean and Safe program to make this unique public art installation possible. “Rabbitville” received its initial funding from the DSDP Clean and Safe Board of Directors whom allocate money to each Downtown neighborhood for placemaking projects. The Clean and Safe team will assist in the installation and ongoing maintenance of “Rabbitville” as well as monitor the safety of the art throughout the program.

Sponsoring a Rabbit. Each rabbit has a sponsor or patron. Corporations, community groups, merchants and private citizens may sponsor rabbits for a tax deductible $10,000 each. Sponsors will enjoy a range of promotional benefits, including, but not limited to, recognition on a commemorative plaque and possession of a rabbit upon completion of the program. Proceeds from sponsorship will help fund new enhanced lighting in the Gaslamp Quarter. “Sponsoring a rabbit is a great way for someone who loves San Diego history to also help fund a project that will increase public safety and beautify the historic Gaslamp Quarter,” says Michael Trimble. “We are hoping to repair and replace the decorative lights strung in trees throughout the district.”

Attention Artists! Rabbitville is currently accepting proposals from artists who wish to participate in this public art installation. Artists submissions are reviewed to ensure they meet the basic guidelines by The Gaslamp Quarter Public Art Subcommittee. Artists will be encouraged to explore distinct Gaslamp Quarter Historic themes that will be available in the Gaslamp Rabbitville design guidelines.

Click here for artist reference  Click here for the Artist Prospectus, and Application.  Due February 10th. Upon approval, designs will be paired with sponsors for their collaboration. 619.233.5227, gaslamp.org/150/rabbitville

The Rabbits of ‘Rabbitville’

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