Kim MacConnel wasn’t coy about the fact that the walls of the house are covered almost entirely with his own or his wife’s artwork.

“I’m reluctant to own most other people’s work because I really don’t take care of things very well,” he told us. “And this is a fairly harsh environment for the work to live in — things wear out, and the spiders and the silverfish.”

MacConnel and his wife, Jean Lowe, have styled nearly every inch of their Encinitas home with their ideas on canvas, wood, cardboard and papier mâché. There is no shortage of vibrant colors and quirk.

Their house is the second installment of our What’s on Your Wall? series. (Our first host, a local gallery director, owned pieces by both MacConnel and Lowe.)

In other news:

• MacConnel’s a popular guy these days. A prominent local artist and longtime art professor at UCSD, his career-spanning retrospective is now up at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. The Union-Tribune this weekend featured MacConnel’s work as boundary-crusher, CityBeat also reported on the migraine for minimalists that is his house, and rounded up the various spots (including one outside!) you can catch a glimpse of MacConnel’s work this fall.

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More from Behind the Scene:

• We know words alone don’t cut it for telling stories about art. That post about MacConnel’s house is nothing without Sam Hodgson’s brilliant photos. We want to go behind the scenes in local arts with color, sound and movement, so we launched a new project with our pals at NBC 7/39 to take you backstage or behind the white walls of a gallery.

Our first Behind the Scene TV features Frank Renk, a San Diegan and one of the best clarinetists in the state. He played the solos in Orchestra Nova’s performance of Mozart’s clarinet concerto this weekend.

• Local musical theatre company Lyric Opera San Diego is having money trouble. A distressed letter to supporters last week said the company needs to raise $200,000 in the next 90 days.

New U-T bloggers focus on public art, local independent artists, photography and the impact of making art on either side of an international border. One of those public art posts inspired my own post: The peculiar street-sign-inspired pieces on Park Boulevard were apparently the first public art pieces the city of San Diego ever bought.

• Our public art conversation continues with some choice words in the comments section.


• Great new feature alert: The U-T’s promising to highlight “buried treasures — masterpieces forgotten or too often taken for granted” that are in San Diego among us. Sunday’s paper featured a priceless Rembrandt painting, St. Bartholemew, that the Timken Museum owns.

• A former 10 News reporter and anchor tells San Diego Family Magazine her motivation for taking the helm of the San Diego Asian Film Festival, celebrating its 11th year this coming weekend:

“Film is a universal language,” Kim says. “In addition to being a place to tell stories, the festival became a place where we are making deep connections with more cultures and building a compassionate society.”

• Plays are increasingly showing up on Broadway without a trial run in another city like, ahem, San Diego (via New York Times). Why? Partly confidence in the material, but also:

… skepticism that a tryout elsewhere is useful anymore. The internet has made it impossible to fly under the radar at theaters in La Jolla or Seattle; bad buzz anywhere can reach New York theatergoers instantly.

• From our northern neighbors, the L.A. Times takes a long look at the L.A. Philharmonic’s 10 music directors before its current one, Gustavo Dudamel.

• KPBS highlights an effort to get dancers on both sides of the border to dance in the streets on Thursday to draw attention to Tijuana as a city about more than violence. The dance is “a simple four-step with hand motions that say ‘I love Tijuana.’”

• Finally, the UK’s Guardian newspaper published a handy guide to some tricky questions about participating in arts. Some of the questions are specific to their side of the pond, but many are universal. Which are the best seats in the house? Should I read the caption next to a piece of art before I look at it, after, or not at all?

Here’s an answer that fits with a wet week in San Diego. Asked “When is the best way to enjoy an exhibition?” a London arts and literature magazine editor suggested:

“Rain is always useful; it’s the perfect weather for introspection. And mid-afternoon, midweek — when it’s always nice and quiet.”

Certainly true for me. One of the best drizzly days I ever spent was visiting a Chuck Close exhibit in San Francisco then hiking at Muir Beach in the rain. What are you inspired to make or do or see in this kind of weather? Drop me a note:

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

Kelly Bennett

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

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