The landscape is changing in San Diego, and the landmarks, too.

This being officially Arts Month, that conversation has reignited.

Is San Diego an arts town? What’s its reputation? What should it be? We ask for your take. How does San Diego compare to the city where you grew up? Is there a new mural in your neighborhood, a new theatre you’ve never noticed before?

No time like now for the conversation. There’s movement on a $4 million-to-$5 million project to “artistically light” the bridge to Coronado. The new city library is coming out of the ground. Street art pieces commissioned for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s exhibition have caught attention from passersby (one who made a bolder move than just posing for a new Facebook profile pic with the Shepard Fairey monk in the background).

In Other News:

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   • This is our first edition of a new weekly arts newsletter, a Morning-Report-style roundup of the news and features about San Diego arts, both in our pages at and elsewhere. There’s a lot of arts conversations happening around town, and we know it can be hard to stay updated on it all. Here’s where we’ll corral the best coverage from the week and try to explain how it fits in the larger context.

We’ve now launched our new arts section, Behind the Scene, with stories and peeks beyond the traditional review-and-preview cycle that we hope you’ll enjoy even if, as in the case of one of our readers, you “don’t even like art!

   • The story he was talking about? Meet the guy who worked in a café and at the Levi’s store before landing a gig as a security guard at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. There, he met one of his heroes, prominent local artist Robert Irwin, and started working as his assistant two years ago. This summer, with some new experiences and insights under his belt, Joseph Huppert launched out for his first piece of art that was contingent on the space it lived in, featuring a large cube he designed and installed in a former ice factory in North Park.

Now that he fixed it up, the ice factory will host three more shows this fall by Huppert’s pals.

   • There are no mushrooms growing out of them like there once were in that old ice factory, but we still took a close look at one local guy’s walls. Ben Strauss-Malcolm let me and photographer Sam Hodgson snoop around his house and step into his bathtub, even, to see what’s on his wall in our new feature.

Next up, we hope to see the walls of one of the artists whose work was hung there. Assuming the artist has walls, and not just his friend’s couch.

   • Art doesn’t just happen inside on walls. Normal Heights resident David Krimmel calls himself a “community artist who brings people together,” and this weekend, he brought them together to do a lot of verbs you don’t see so often — “thresh,” “winnow,” “mill.” Krimmel’s medium for the project is wheat, which he’s been growing in North Park for a few months, and which he celebrated with a big to-do there this weekend. Our Q&A with the artist asks whether he’s doing art, agriculture or both.


   • Robert McClure, the actor playing Charlie Chaplin in the La Jolla Playhouse’s new production “Limelight,” says he was amazed to learn his character wasn’t just a “really funny guy who fell down a lot.”

Says McClure: “He’s really falling down an escalator. The man gets into a cage with a lion. He had no fear at all. And then I come to find he never got hurt. He broke a finger once. So I became more and more in awe of him.” (U-T)

KPBS led off an interview with the play’s authors with the buzz that always surrounds the world premieres of new plays at the Playhouse: Since many plays that have started here have made it to Broadway, a lot of folks watch to see if the same holds true for the new one.

The North County Times also interviewed the play’s authors and composer.

   • A longtime artist, theatre supporter and La Jolla resident, Rita Bronowski, died last week, two weeks before she would turn 93, the La Jolla Light reported. She moved here in 1964 with her husband, Jacob Bronowski, who was a founding fellow of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She dived into local arts. A popular Salk forum discussing art and science was recently renamed in honor of the couple to the Bronowski Art & Science Forum.

   • Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rae Armantrout reads her poem, “Scumble,” for CityBeat. (In our recent Q&A with Armantrout, she talked about the “erotics of language” featured in the poem.)

   • The LA Times’ guide to noteworthy shows and exhibits for fall includes three San Diego picks: two plays and a local artist retrospective.

   • The San Diego Music Awards were Sunday night, and Mayor Jerry Sanders’ rock ’n’ roll sensibilities were on display as he bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award on Iron Butterfly, but “opted not to make any comments to the audience.” Speechless in the presence of rock royalty, J-man? (U-T)

   • Heir to the Crayola crayons fortune, Edwin Binney gave a collection of 1,453 pieces of South Asian art to the San Diego Museum of Art, and the museum has just opened three new permanent galleries to rotate pieces from the collection through. “It would be hard to overstate the importance” of the collection, the U-T’s James Chute says.

   • For KPBS’s Culture Lust blog, contributor Dave Hampton digs into a San Diego graffiti phenomenon, “NO ART,” that proliferated in the 1980s and that was, in Hampton’s estimation, “confusing, blatantly illegal, and really quite brilliant.”

   • The North County Times has a wide-ranging list of events, openings, concerts and exhibits happening this week, from an old-school punk show to Mexican folk dance to the 40th annual Julian bluegrass festival.

   • Finally: Six years ago, San Diego Museum of Art curator John Marciari made a huge discovery in a basement storage room at Yale, where his Ph.D. is from. He reflects on finding the previously undiscovered Diego Velázquez painting in the Yale alumni magazine: “The story of someone finding a Velázquez seems to capture the public imagination as much as the painting itself.”

When Marciari found the painting, it was damaged and an angel in the upper left was headless. But Marciari still found the painting powerful and compelling: “filled with brilliant details, and characterized by a serene power.”

Not exactly how you’d describe the contents of any basement I’ve ever seen. No doubt Marciari’s discovery sent no small number of enterprising janitors or starving artists to the bowels of art department basements everywhere.

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Please contact Kelly Bennett directly at or 619.325.0531 and follow her on Twitter: @kellyrbennett.

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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