Bringing together a community of artists, performers, foodies and arts lovers


Vanguard Culture founder Susanna Peredo Swap has been seriously involved in the arts for over 20 years. While living in the major cultural epicenters of Paris and New York City—as well as traveling in 15 different countries—her experiences ran the gamut from arts administration, advocacy and public relations to active participation as an actor and jazz vocalist. When she returned to San Diego after living through 9/11 in New York City, she immersed herself in the local arts scene, but soon realized that the area lacked a cohesiveness and sense of community among the various sectors in San Diego’s cultural landscape. There was little to no connection between performing and culinary arts, for example, or between visual artists and musicians. So she decided to do something about that. Thus, Vanguard Culture was born five years ago.


Begun as a newsletter and arts calendar, the organization soon grew to encompass a wide variety of art and foodie events; today, the all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is dedicated to advancing and bringing together San Diego’s eclectic creative industries. To accomplish this, the group engages the community with quality arts journalism, industry mixers, public events and professional development. With over 15,000 subscribers and with as many as 10,000 views a month on their website, it’s obvious that the group is doing something right.


“We think of Vanguard Culture as a virtual space where creativity can be inspired amongst ourselves by one another’s work,” Peredo Swap explains. “For instance, in our An Artist @ The Table series, 10 to 12 guests enjoy a four-course meal with a prominent local artist, musician, designer or arts leader. The featured chef creates a menu inspired by the work of the artist, and the lucky diners enjoy the rewards of great food and conversation with other art and culture aficionados in an intimate setting. On August 11, An Artist @ The Table will feature iconic clothes designer Dame Zandra Rhodes and the meal will be prepared by Chef Aaron Obregon of Coronado Island Resort and Spa and paired with wines from the Valle de Guadalupe.”

Other programs include:
• Food Events, such as the Ceviche Chef Showdown Competition, or The Foodie Soirées—industry mixers and food sharing get-togethers for Creatives, featuring art installations, performances, chef demos and more.

• The FORUM, a professional development workshop series designed to support San Diego’s creative industries and educate participants on the business side of their respective industries.

• The annual Avant Garde Costume Gala, where guests are encouraged to wear their wildest, most unique or thought-provoking costumes.


Arts coverage is central to Vanguard Culture’s mission and is accomplished through three channels on the website:
• The Buzz, articles covering artist interviews, show reviews and other insights into San Diego’s arts and culture scene.

• The Dish, restaurant reviews and food critiques.

• Poetic License, a chronicle of art studio visits.

“We hope to elevate San Diego’s cultural identity,” Peredo Swap adds, “and increase cultural tourism to our city. Studies have shown that visitors who travel for the arts tend to stay longer and spend more money in the cities they visit. So, if we can create a thoughtful city plan for infrastructure to support San Diego’s creative industries, the potential is tremendous.”

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Vanguard Culture
Vanguard Culture

For a complete description of all of Vanguard Culture’s programs, upcoming events or to subscribe to the mailing list, please visit VanguardCulture.com