The ReinCarnation Project

Came from: San Diego

Year: 1992

Position: Former Carnation Dairy Factory

Location: 10th Avenue and J Street

Architect: Architistic Endeavor (Wayne Buss)

Wayne Buss turned a vintage warehouse into a creative showcase, molding it into the crown jewel of a neglected downtown San Diego neighborhood that desperately needed an identity.

And his transformation in the 1990s of the former Carnation Building at 10th Avenue and J Street into the mixed-use ReinCarnation Project, complete with artists’ lofts, residences and offices, served as a model to other downtown visionaries.

Within five years, new shops, cafes and converted lofts were beginning to take hold.


Related Articles:

East Village’s Art Incubation Fail

by Kinsee Morlan via Voice of San Diego:

Eyes Peer No More from the Old Dairy Building

By Kelly Bennet via The Voice of San Diego:


Photos by Wayne Buss. Click on images to enlarge.

Scans from San Diego Home/ Garden. Lifestyle. Issue September 1997

Click on images to enlarge.

From San Diego Decor & Style

Click on images to enlarge.

Photo via Chuck Kaminski

East Village Project Artwalk shirt Chuck Kaminski save the carn


San Diego East Village Project

Jorge Moreno (Founder)

East Village Project Creator & admin

Came from: Mexico City

Year: 1995

Position: Volunteer at Sushi Performance & Visual Art

Now: North Park San Diego

In the early 90’s I used to visit the art galleries in on downtown Broadway street, where I met Scot McDougall and Cesar Rojo (some of my first friends here in San Diego). Scot introduced me to the East Village via Sushi Performance and Visual Art, located in the ReinCarnation Building, where I became a volunteer. I really enjoyed seeing the behind the scenes of many great shows as well as the before and after, especially because we were able to roam freely in the building. I volunteered for a few years and met lots of people and little did I know that (my now wife) Katherine was among that crowd. Katherine worked for Architistic Endeavor (Wayne Buss – Architects for the ReinCarnation building). I met Katherine through Scot at an event at the Clarion Hotel, the event was put on by “The Publication” and they were showcasing all the people that had been in their cover for that year. Scot was one of the people featured in it…

For the next few years I attended and volunteered for more Sushi events, especially their Red Ball fundraisers and I mainly stayed around the ReinCarnation Building.

Some of my fondest memories were with great friends, Scot, Vicky, Katherine, Gayle, Teena, Wayne and Beth.

I particularly remember the last party hosted for Wayne at the ReinCarnation building, that was right about when the new ball park was being built. Everyone had a honest great time. Below are some photos of that event.

There’s no particular thing that I miss from those days, I think I miss it as a whole. I miss the events at Sushi, I miss spending most of the day with artists and the like. The 90’s in San Diego’s East Village where great times.

I currently live in North Park, working for myself in the graphic/web/social media arts

Scot McDougall Jorge Moreno Sushi Red Ball

San Diego East Village Project


Katherine Baker

Came from: Fort Wayne, IN

Year: 1995

Position: Architect

I moved to San Diego from Indiana in the summer of 1995, and began working in the East Village at the end of that year. I worked with Architect/Developer Wayne Buss on the renovation of the former Carnation Dairy factory, aka, The ReinCarnation Project. It was my dream job, being straight out of architecture school with a strong desire to work on adaptive reuse projects. This project was not only reusing an existing building, but \”recycling previously used parts of the City.\” This was the tagline for Wayne\s architecture business. Working in this office led to volunteering at Sushi Performance and Visual Art, a primary tenant of the building. I was also privileged to attend several arts events that took place on the property, including the 1997 Interior Designer\s Showcase, inSITE 97 installations and kickoff event featuring Laurie Anderson, Latin Music Festivals, and many other events. Many of the friends I made in San Diego stem from working in the East Village, including my husband, Jorge Moreno.


San Diego East Village Project

Scot McDougall

Came from: Florida

Year: Started with Sushi’s sweet 16 fundraiser

Position: All Around Great Guy

Now: San Diego’s North County

So, in 1989 I was living in New Mexico. I was working for Santa Fe artist Frank Howell. He needed some help with his gallery in La Jolla and asked if I would help out for 6 months or so. At the time he was showing a San Diego artist, by the name of Jim Bess. Jim and his photographer wife, Dianne were visiting Santa Fe to see the gallery. We hit it off from the start. They graciously offered to let me stay in their home while I was in town. That was 26 years ago and I am still living in San Diego.

My early years in San Diego were spent in the East Village on 9th and K, currently known as the First base line at Petco Park. The building was the Artplex and was the brain child of Jim and Dianne Bess as they expanded their greeting card business to that address. Ultimately deciding on giving up the greeting card business and instead decided to make it their home.  With 14,000 square feet, that’s a lot of home. So, they took the top floor and turned into a private residence, with a working elevator, and Jim’s painting studio.  The rest of the building would house a variety of artistic endeavors. Lela Harty Painting School, an Interior design firm, a painter, an Architect. Jim even converted the basement into a printing studio later on. It was a magical place to me.

The neighborhood was fascinating. Of course, the East Village would be barely recognizable from what it was to what it is. Back in my day, the Re-InCarnation Project (currently ICON) was just a dream in Wayne Buss’s mind. But he still managed to put on mixed media performing art shows in the outer portion that I could see just by walking to the corner. Of course he realized that dream to a great degree of acclaim and revitalized that part of town along with Bob Sinclair (of Panikin fame). Of course, I liked downtown like it used to be, where you had Croce’s and Fio’s across the street from each other and a selection of Dive Bars close by. Think “The Orient”, “Bodie’s” and the “Star Bar”.  To name a few. Now, only the Star Bar is left, I think.

There was the best Famer’s Market on the old Western Steel building between 7th and 8th on K Street. It caught fire one year and I remember the image of Jim Bess on the roof of the Artplex trying to extinguish and sparks while there was a 20 alarm fire raging across the empty lot. And it had the best food court and little market. I wish I could remember the name of the little Italian spot.

more to come… soon

Click on images for full view.

San Diego East Village Project

SUSHI Performance & Visual Art

SUSHI Performance & Visual Art was an innovative arts organization and contemporary arts center committed to presenting San Diego with contemporary performance dance and visual art. Focus was on an artistic vision that embodied the rich diversity of our ethnic, cultural, sexual and personal backgrounds.

SUSHI Performance & Visual Art became synonymous with an adventurous urban art experience and has been likened to what one would find in San Francisco or New York.

Founded in 1980, SUSHI Performance & Visual Art had its roots in the artists’ space movement of the late 1970s. This movement was a direct result of the evolution of contemporary art and the lack of venues for its presentation. Artists consequently created their own “alternative spaces”, one of which was SUSHI. Many artists involved with and presented by SUSHI through solo/group exhibitions and public art commissions have gone on to national and even international notoriety, among them David Avalos, Amanda Farber, James Luna and Deborah Small.

Sushi was located in its downtown space at The Reincarnation Project, 320 Eleventh Avenue. This 6,000 square foot space housed SUSHI’s 3,000 square foot performance space that seated 50-150, a visual arts gallery and office.

Sushi’s audience members and performers were within hands reach of each other, creating an atmosphere that was charged with intimacy and energy. Audience members were encouraged to hang out after the shows for both formal and informal discussions with the presented artists.

Photos by Wayne Buss and Jorge Moreno.

Click on images for full view.




Here’s an article from The Voice of San Diego. Kelly Bennett, the arts editor for VOSD:

or click on the image below:



  • David Avalos
  • Amanda Farber
  • James Luna
  • Deborah Small
  • John Breitweiser
  • Kira Corser
  • Felipe Almada
  • Gerardo Navarro
  • Hugo Sanchez
  • Terri Hughes
  • James Soe Nyun
  • Allison Wiese
  • Nicole Pajor
  • Brian Goeltzenleuchter
  • Michael Dizon
  • Martha Susan Harris
  • Peggy Jones
  • Melissa Inez Walker
  • Daniel Weiner
  • Carolyn Springer
  • Richard Gleaves
  • Rosanna Gamson
  • Carla Kirkwood
  • Phyllis Jackson
  • Rachel Axler
  • Danelle Amato
  • Isabel Olivieri
  • Leonora Afuyog
  • Annie Hinton
  • Andrea Singer
  • Tammy Ray
  • Vicki Wolf
  • Lower Left
  • Nina Martin
  • Margaret Paek
  • Andrew Wass
  • Rebecca Bryant
  • Jane Blount
  • Colleen Phillips
  • Karen Schaffman
  • Scott Paulson
  • Heather Barclay
  • Linda Kernohan
  • Ryoko
  • Susan Shoneman
  • Ruben Valenzuela
  • DJ six-8
  • DJ SkinnyDip
  • Karen Finley
  • Deanne Sabeck
  • Jeffrey Laudenslager
  • Michael Krichman
  • Bart Blackstone
  • Romy Kaye
  • Wendy O’Rourke
  • Clay Salmon IV
  • LeVan D. Hawkins
  • Kim Epifano
  • Carlson Hatton
  • Mirjam Kort
  • Margie Hughto
  • Katherine Taylor
  • Yichiu Tseng
  • Margot Waller
  • Tracy Featherstone
  • Jean Benelli
  • Andrea Zuill
  • Paula Cronan
  • Julia Snapper
  • Branan Freeman
  • Yasutaka Hori
  • Bryan Lohr
  • Seth Myers
  • Matthew Offenbacher
  • Norihiko Seto
  • Anna Stump
  • Selena Wilson
  • Julia Wren
  • Teena Diggs
  • Eric Wong
  • Kelly Dalrymple Wass
  • Lynn Schuette
  • + …

San Diego East Village Project