A few businesses around Downtown San Diego have been boarding up in fear of protests sparked by the 2020 presidential election, according to numerous media reports.
One business in particular decided to turn protest defense into something of art and community.
“The boards were put up during the first waves of protest around May,” said Kuniko Holmes, owner of Sushi 2 On Broadway, which is housed inside the Spreckels Theater building. “The restaurant is located near the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building downtown so there was a fear of more protests being in the area due to the Government building.”
The boards, Holmes said, were put up for the safety of her valued employees, her restaurant and the historic building that has been standing since 1912.
“It was heartbreaking because the boards don’t look nice and give a bad message to our community,” said Holmes, who admitted she was not a fan. “I wanted to change that while also keeping what I love safe.”
Holmes contacted a local mural artist named Nicholas Danger, who agreed to paint a mural over the boards to change the message drastically.
Within a few hours, Danger and his team created a beautiful piece of art out of something associated with violence. Holmes said that she was happy she could bring the community together to make this project happen. She is thrilled that it has had a positive outcome.
The boards with the mural are still up on Election Day. Holmes explained that she didn’t know when the next protest was and still has fears of protests due to the 2020 presidential election.
She said that, if the boards need to stay up for a longer period of time, she might consider getting a new mural done.
Holmes is proud of her employees and team for working through COVID-19 safely. She is also very grateful for the customers and community for helping her small business stay afloat.
All Holmes wants right now is for people to have a nice 30-minute meal, enjoy the atmosphere of Downtown San Diego and not have to look at the negative aesthetics of boarded-up windows.