The Gaslamp Quarter Association is pleased to honor community sponsors who have supported the “Rabbitville” 150th Anniversary public art campaign.  Nine of San Diego’s top influencers and business have made a $10,000 contribution each to sponsor a custom decorative fiberglass rabbit sculpture promoting the 150th Anniversary of the historic district.  The money raised from this campaign helps in the community’s enhancement funding decorative lighting on fifth avenue that will increase public safety and beautify the district for years to come.  Hard Rock Hotel, Coca-Cola, Warner Bros. Television, Pendry San Diego, San Diego Padres, Ghirardelli Chocolate, City of San Diego District 3 Councilmember Chris Ward, Pacific Magazine, and philanthropist John Ramirez are the nine sponsors who have committed to this historic public art fundraising campaign.

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. 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 are honored that the sponsors of “Rabbitville” have also wanted to inspire the next generation of pioneers in San Diego.”

On May 24, 2017 The Honorable Mayor Kevin Faulconer granted an official proclamation to the Gaslamp Quarter for the 150th Anniversary. The Gaslamp Quarter Association hosted a press conference to celebrate this yearlong celebration where five of the fiberglass rabbit sculptures were created and unveiled.  Artists Monty Montgomery, Tasha Hobbs, Sarah Soward, Rebecca Nuvoletta, and Matt Forderer each created a rabbit themed with an emphasis on Gaslamp Quarter’s sesquicentennial anniversary and Alonzo Horton’s arrival in 1867.

Soon after the Mayor’s proclamation top influencers and businesses joined in the sponsorship and creation of a rabbit to add to the herd.  The beautiful new Pendry San Diego hotel located at 550 J Street collaborated with local Artist Kelly Schott who was influenced by the Pendry’s beautifully designed interiors and posh surroundings.  Coca-Cola worked with Artist Steven Van who created their rabbit with the iconic Coca Cola red color, its logo and the progression of the Coca-Cola bottle which was created in 1890.  District 3 Councilmember Chris Ward’s portrait was painted by artist John Wismont on The City of San Diego’s Rabbit along with the signs and popular landmarks located in San Diego’s third district downtown.

“150 years ago, Alonzo Horton had a vision for the Gaslamp, and I’m proud every day to represent the fruits of that vision in the heart of downtown San Diego.” Said Councilmember Ward, “Starting from Rabbitville, he could hardly have imagined how far we’d come to be such a dynamic neighborhood where the whole family can live, work and play – but I’m confident he’d be proud of what we’ve accomplished with his vision.”

Other sponsors have been equally supportive. Ghirardelli Chocolate Company purchased their rabbit and designed it with photographer/ artist Lee Sie to have photos of their San Francisco headquarters and Gaslamp Quarter location on Fifth Ave.  “The piece is decoupaged with photos of their chocolate too, so we would have a chocolate bunny”, said Sie

“We take pride in our historic neighborhood and are honored to support the development and preservation of the Gaslamp Quarter,” said San Diego Padres Chief Marketing Officer Wayne Partello who will have the San Diego Padres logo and iconic players painted around the rabbit by Carly Ealey and ready for exhibition by the 2018-2019 San Diego Padres season.

 Pacific Magazine’s rabbit has a shiny chrome coat and tattooed tags that is fitting for their tagline “Life’s Cool” that artist Mario Herbelin- Canelas thought would work best representing a premiere publication that updates locals and guests alike with what’s cool in San Diego.

“Ten years ago, we opened our doors right at the official entrance to the Gaslamp Quarter, in front of the wonderfully iconic arch that welcomes millions of guests into San Diego’s most vibrant and bustling neighborhood each year.” Said “Rabbitville” sponsor Hard Rock Hotel’s General Manager Matt Greene.  “We quickly realized how special this place was and could not be prouder to participate in this year’s 150th Anniversary celebration,” said Greene who has hosted the Rabbitville Exhibition in his lobby and commissioned artist Erick Diaz to apply gold leaf rock and roll logos around their rabbit sculpture.

The announcement to sponsor “Rabbitville” didn’t just stay in San Diego.  When Warner Brothers Television made their annual pilgrimage to San Diego Comic Con in July of 2017 the herd was exhibiting at a special “Hop Up Gallery” activation.  Lisa Gregorian, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, Warner Bros. Television Group happened upon the activation and knew right away that the cartoon home to one of animation’s most famous rabbits, Bugs Bunny, had to be a sponsor!

“Warner Bros. not only knows about bunnies, but also knows Super Heroes from the DC Universe,” said Gregorian “In the same way that “Rabbitville” celebrates the origin and evolution of a dynamic part of San Diego, our rabbit titled “Hop, Hop, and Away!” honors our heroes’ origin stories from comic books to their evolution into the fan-favorite DCTV series.  The same heroes who return to San Diego year after year.” Reveled Gregorian who plans to return each year to San Diego Comic Con with their Rabbitville creation.

Only six more are yet to be adopted which will complete the fundraising campaign. Sponsors enjoy a range of promotional benefits, including, but not limited to, recognition on a commemorative plaque and possession of the rabbit upon completion of the program at the end of May 2018. 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 will be installing decorative lights throughout the district.”

The Gaslamp Quarter Association  is not only partnering with these businesses but also working in conjunction with the Downtown San Diego Partnership Clean and Safe program. The Clean and Safe team has assisted in the installation and ongoing maintenance of “Rabbitville” as well as monitor the safety of the art throughout the program.

The Gaslamp Quarter Association welcomes all to enjoy the “Rabbitville” exhibition at different locations around San Diego until May 2018.  Those who are interested in contributing to the “Rabbitville” program as a sponsor, the Gaslamp Quarter Association looks forward to connecting with you so that you may add to our family of rabbits.  The Association appreciates those who have sponsored our neighborhood so that guests can live, work, play and stay for years to come.

Contact Us Today For further artist program and sponsorship information, please call the Gaslamp Quarter Association at 619-233-5227 or visit our website at www.gaslamp.org/150/rabbitville.