Cassandra Kaawaloa - Balboa Park Cultural District

Program coordinator Cassie Kaawaloa’s career goal of telling the stories that impact and empower communities resonates strongly with the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership’s mission to advance arts and culture organizations in Balboa Park, the city of San Diego, and throughout California through the California Cultural Districts.

Known as the “Crown Jewel” of San Diego, the Balboa Park Cultural District sits on 1,200 acres of lush gardens and hiking trails in the heart of America’s Finest City. Balboa Park is a hub of arts and culture and home to 16 museums, performing arts venues, theatres, and several creative and recreational attractions including the San Diego Zoo.

The diversity of its institutions makes Balboa Park a thriving center of arts, culture, science and education; and a cultural district at its core.

The Balboa Park Cultural Partnership serves as a collective body to achieve greater effectiveness, excellence and innovation through collaboration among Balboa Park’s 26 nonprofit organizations. Cassie joined the Cultural Partnership to apply her writing and communications skill set to the Cultural Partnership’s advocacy efforts and the One Park - One Team program, underscoring the Partnership’s core principles by uniting Balboa Park employees and volunteers through professional development opportunities, special events and expanded networks.

Through these methods the One Park - One Team program connects organizations and staff of all levels to encourage Parkwide communication and collaboration. In her role Cassie facilitates community engagement by organizing monthly get-togethers, usually featuring an activity in the Park such as museum tours, art demonstrations or morning coffee mixers; managing social media channels and newsletters; and assisting with networking and professional development events associated with the Park.

Prior to the Cultural Partnership, Cassie held roles in media relations and strategic public relations both in-house and agency environments. As an account executive at a boutique agency in San Diego, Cassie facilitated strategic media relations plans for San Diego nonprofit organizations, community associations and corporations. Cassie’s portfolio ranges from facilitating partnership outreach for local and national brands, producing creative content, media training clients, and securing media coverage in both local and nationally-recognized publications like the New York Times and Parade Magazine.

Cassie’s experience in storytelling transferred seamlessly to developing content for the California Cultural District Coalition. She organizes and conducts interviews with key players from each of the Cultural Districts and ally organizations for the Coalition’s blog series, allowing her to feature the accomplishments and vision of community leaders in California’s most culturally diverse communities.

The Cultural Partnership supports organizations in advocacy at both the local, regional and state level.

“The diversity of the institutions and performing arts groups, cultural centers and clubs in Balboa Park is a reflection of San Diego and our thriving arts and culture community,” Cassie shared on her work with the Cultural Partnership. “We support organizations here and beyond the Park because like so much in life, nothing can be done alone and we are only as strong as our weakest, forgotten, or underserved links.”