• Cassie Kaawaloa

Meet Polly Toledo - District 2

Updated: Dec 3, 2019

Polly Toledo is a San Diego native who grew up in the South Bay. As a first generation American with dual Mexican/US citizenship, she is interested in the concept of duality and identity explored through visual art and culture. Through her work she seeks to cultivate accessibility and inclusion in the arts to empower individuals and their communities. Currently, Polly works in District 2 at the New Americans Museum as the Executive Assistant to the Director and Grants Coordinator where she supports programmatic initiatives and development efforts. 

Her career path as an arts advocate in San Diego started in the San Francisco Bay Area where she earned her BA in Art History from Dominican University of California; worked in the membership department at the San Francisco Museum of Art; and volunteered as an exhibit guide at the Oakland Museum of California. While Arts and Culture were her passions, career wise they were more of side hustles while she worked hostessing and waiting tables to pay the bills.

Motivated by her experiences at museums, she obtained her M.A in Art Galleries and Museum Studies at the University of Leeds, England. When she returned to San Diego she went back to restaurant gigs and volunteering at the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center until she was hired at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum in Balboa Park, first as Administrative Assistant and eventually as the Operations and Programs Manager. And to use a cliché, the rest as they say is history. 

Polly first became involved in arts and culture advocacy when she served as a Steering Committee member and Programs Chair for Rising Arts Leaders of San Diego. In 2019 she became a Steering Committee member for the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition.

Polly believes that the San Diego Arts and Culture community is wonderfully unique because of San Diego’s diverse communities, merging histories, and relationship to the Border; and hates to hear the Arts and Culture community described as lacking because it's not a facsimile of Los Angeles or New York. She says that the arts in San Diego are singularly San Diegan, and works to support and foster the remarkable ways in which people and communities create and access the arts in our city. 

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