San Diego Local Community News

Susanna Peredo Swap – Nonprofit Executive

SUSANNA PEREDO SWAP has over twenty-five years of experience as an arts administrator, actor, jazz vocalist, arts advocate, and public relations specialist. While working for the San Diego International Airport Art Program she curated over eighty exhibitions with some of San Diego’s best museums, artists, and galleries; as well as a fantastic roster of talent for its performing arts series. She currently serves as Co-Lead for Arts & Culture with World Design Capital San Diego Tijuana; is a member of the San Diego Museum Council; on the Board of Women in Tourism & Hospitality International; the Advisory Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Community Advisory Council for Diversionary Theatre, and Community Advisory Committee for the Burnham Center for Community Advancement.

She has previously served on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Art Institute; Board Vice President of the Alliance Française de San Diego; Board Vice President of the San Diego REPertory Theatre; President of the National City Public Art Committee and Vice Chair of the Port of San Diego’s Public Art Committee. Susanna is a magna cum laude graduate of San Diego State University where she majored in Humanities and minored in French. She holds a Professional Certificate in The Cycle: Management of Successful Arts and Cultural Organizations from the Devos Institute of Arts Management, University of Maryland; a Professional Certificate in Business for Arts and Nonprofit Arts Organizations from University of San Diego; a Certificate in Photography: Images and Techniques from University of California, San Diego; studied Art History at the Université Paris Sorbonne (Paris IV); and History of Video Art at the École du Louvre in Paris, France. Her passion for the visual, performing, and culinary arts has taken her to over twenty countries and inspired her to create Vanguard Culture, a nonprofit organization that aims to bring people together across different backgrounds, interests, and creative professions.

About Susanna Peredo Swap

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your family.
My mother’s family is from Guadalajara, Mexico, and is comprised of musicians, actors, models, and TV personalities. My maternal grandfather was a concert pianist and composer whose music was often played on the radio. My grandmother Marianna, now 90 years old, can name almost any classical music piece on the radio and can often even identify the orchestra! My father’s family is from Mexico City and is comprised of architects, engineers, dancers, philosophers, and climate activists. Our grandfather Jose Luis Hernandez Mendoza was a very famous architect in Mexico City, where he designed several prominent universities, hospitals, and cathedrals. Among his many amazing creations is the iconic ramp in the beautiful Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The book written about his life has a photo of him with Frank Lloyd Wright on the cover. His designs were considered very futuristic for his day as he would incorporate his various degrees in architecture, engineering, psychology, and theatrical scene design into his creations. I often wonder what he would design with the amazing technology available today! My husband Cliff is an ER doctor from Boston who plays piano beautifully and we are raising two very creative young children.

Q: Please tell us about your current, past, or future career. What do you love most about what you do?
I’ve lived many creative lives. I began my career as a theatre actor, studying at the Royal National Theatre in London and teaching acting and Shakespeare at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. I am also a jazz vocalist and gigged around San Diego with my trio Nostalgia for many years, in addition to performing in various musicals. After a series of “happy accidents” I ended up becoming a curator and worked for the San Diego Airport Authority’s Art Program. There I curated over eighty exhibitions, working with San Diego’s most notable museums and visual art creators. I also programmed their performing arts series. This gave me a wonderful connection to the region’s creative community across all industries. Thanks to all of the various creative paths I’ve taken, I was able to build a nonprofit called Vanguard Culture that works to help creatives make a living doing what they love. Through arts journalism, professional development for creatives, and unique, cross-industry events we help advance the region’s creative workforce in meaningful ways. Being surrounded by creative people and connecting communities that typically never intersect, is my absolute favorite thing. I feel very lucky that Vanguard Culture has grown so much through the years and continues to thrive.

Q: What advice would you give to people?
I would encourage creative professionals to take ownership of their craft and work to have more of a business mind about their practice. Everything you need to know is inexpensive and often free and available on YouTube, online webinars, etc. I would encourage them to make the effort to professionalize their practice or invest in someone who can help them do so. It is worth every penny and every effort to be able to make a living doing the thing that you love. Vanguard Culture offers free and low-cost professional development for creatives regularly and we have seen first-hand how powerful it can be when you allow yourself to OWN the word Artist.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
One of the most exciting things that I’ve been involved in lately is serving as the Arts & Culture Co-Lead for World Design Capital San Diego Tijuana 2024. This new and prestigious designation of our region has opened up so many wonderful opportunities for creative collaboration across the border. I’m very excited about all of the cross-border creative partnerships that have started to develop and I can’t wait to see how they mature in the years to come. In partnership with WDC 2024, we are producing a huge visual and performing arts festival called ENVZN on Sept. 14th that will highlight creatives from San Diego and Tijuana. I am really looking forward to continuing our partnerships and taking them to their highest creative potential.

Read about Susanna Peredo Swap at Faces of San Diego

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