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Meet The De Facto Ambassadors Fueling Riverside’s Creative Economy

Published: 09/23/2021




Goeff Gouveia’s original mural, commissioned by Sandals Church for the city of Riverside, on the pavement of Bobby Bonds Skatepark. Courtesy Goeff Gouveia.

Geoff Gouveia, a Riverside-born artist, whose pieces include a massive mural at Bobby Bonds Skatepark, is tired of people saying, “That’s cool for Riverside.” That’s because having a home base in Riverside hasn’t stopped Gouveia from working with large brands such as Adidas, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Facebook. In fact, he considers it an advantage. 

“I can deploy my capital creatively by renting office space or hiring because the cost of living is lower here,” Gouveia said. “The internet has allowed artists to be based in smaller markets and still flourish in the trade. It gives us permission to stick around and make the city even better.” 

Gouveia is certainly doing his part by creating stunning works throughout Riverside. Current focuses are soccer, culture, and employing local college students.

“Art can influence the way people view a business. It becomes a vehicle for dialogue and change,” said Margery Haupt, Arts and Cultural Affairs Manager for the City of Riverside. “Supporting creative ambassadors is vital to growing and improving our wider regional economy.”

Gouveia is in great company with entrepreneurs Miguel and Grace Manzo, owners of Manzo Press Studio. The graphic design and garment embellishment business was born in Miguel’s bedroom and parents’ garage eight years ago.

“Growing up in Riverside shaped my passion for the arts by osmosis,” Miguel Manzo said.

In 2017, soon after Grace Manzo joined, the dynamic duo opened their first location. Four years later, they expanded into a 1,800-square-feet industrial warehouse. The Riverside natives grew their company to help other businesses thrive. “It’s exciting for us to provide a service that elevates the brand of a company or organization,” Miguel Manzo said.

The couple appreciates how Riverside is full of free or low-cost resources to help businesses prosper. They experienced it firsthand when the city accepted Manzo Press Studio into its small business support series, a three-month boot camp to learn marketing, sales, operations, customer service, and finance. They now pay it forward by providing internships and part-time jobs for students.

Owners Grace and Miguel Manzo at the new Manzo Press Studio location. Courtesy Manzo Press Studio. 

Another influential ambassador is Justin Hudson. While attending Martin Luther King High, he and his friends gave themselves titles. “I was the chairman of Riverside,” Hudson said.

Hudson’s pride for his hometown eventually became a life mission to bring awareness to the Inland Empire with the launch of his clothing line 1LoveIE, short for “one love Inland Empire.” In eight years, the company skyrocketed from a booth at Artswalk to multiple brick-and-mortar locations and deals with Champs and Foot Locker.

“It’s crazy how stores where I spent all my money as a kid are now partnering with us,” Hudson said.

Hudson calls customers “family members” which feature in some 1LoveIE designs. Courtesy 1LoveIE. 

Hudson (second from right) in Sacramento with his mother (far left), Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes and videographer during the annual celebration of California Small Business Day. Courtesy 1LoveIE. 

 

1LoveIE was named 60th Assembly District’s 2021 “Small Business of the Year” and Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson donned the apparel when she was sworn into office. 1LoveIE frequently gives back through volunteering and donations, such as their annual shoe giveaway for foster youth.

“We’ve created a real culture, a community,” said Hudson. “The heartbeat of Riverside’s creative economy.”

 

For information about artist Geoff Gouveia, go to www.geoffgouveia.com.

For information about Manzo Press Studio, go to www.manzopressstudio.com.

For information about 1LoveIE, go to www.1loveie.com.