While city leaders face a huge budget hole, arts and culture is far from the only department with long-running programs on the chopping block. But the cuts that Councilman Carl DeMaio is proposing are the most dramatic since the city formed a Commission for Arts and Culture in the late 1980s.

DeMaio proposes cutting the grant program — which supports more than 100 arts and culture organizations — by 25 percent, among other cuts to staff and administration costs, in favor of saving core services like police and fire.

Some readers offered an enthusiastic thumbs up to that plan — “Any and all efforts to eliminate nonessential spending should be made permanent,” wrote Michael Holland in the comments under our post.

But reader Dave Morgan doesn’t see things the same way. “To obliterate the arts is one of the worst things you can do when there are far, far less impactful ways to sop up the red ink,” he wrote.

Read what other readers say and chime in with your own thoughts here.

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This conversation echoes some of the themes we explored a month or so ago when the mayor first mentioned suspending the city’s stipulation that money be set aside in government building projects to buy public art. I chronicled a bunch of the conversation, which originated on Twitter when I asked “What is the point of public art? Even more opinions were expressed in other posts like this one.

In arts news this week:

Airport art: Can’t get much more public than the airport during the holidays, and there’s a ton of art there. Our guide from the inside, local artist and writer Dani Dodge, takes us on a tour. Keep this post handy and find some artworks to gaze at and lower your blood pressure about lost luggage and pat-downs.

Stuff your vegetables: Local artist Marisol Rendon delves into her process of making art about the illusions we have, and the jarring moment when we encounter the barrier between dream and reality. Her fabric vegetable pieces are in the interactive exhibit in Escondido I wrote about and visited with our friends at NBC 7/39. Rendon’s art has been “particularly visible in San Diego over the past two years.” (U-T)

The sound and the Newspeak: Alternate realities and our perception of the world fascinate Margaret Noble. She began mixing and making beats during the rave scene in the 1990s. Now a local sound artist, she’s made her first record with music, her own field recordings and samples of other sound to explore themes from Nineteen Eighty-Four, like the influence of media on viewing the world. (CityBeat)

Gone south: A well-known face in the local theater world is in prison in Tijuana, accused of attempted murder. Nick Bonacker, a 70-year-old actor, left his director a voicemail on Friday explaining he wouldn’t be at work because he was in jail. He was most recently playing the butler in Coronado Playhouse’s production of Dracula. (10News)

Another odd theatre twist: Theater critic Jim Hebert found a funny thing in a New York Post review of a Broadway production of Spider-Man that just can’t seem to find its footing. The Post reviewer finds a mention of a disgruntled theatergoer from California named “Steve Poizner” in review. Hebert’s got a call into the state insurance commissioner’s office to see if it was the Poizner.

All’s fair: These two hope they never have to deal with disgruntled theatergoers, but they might have to deal with disgruntling each other: they’re partners in work and in life. Our contributor Jenni Prisk delves into the wrinkles of working and living and staging together with Bill Schmidt and Sean Murray of Cygnet Theatre, the first in our occasional looks at theater power couples.

They show the money: Here are the people arts organizations really don’t want to disgruntle. San Diego Magazine’s current issue takes a look at some of San Diego’s most munificent donors and their quirks, like local restaurateur Karen Cohn’s quip that if she tried to perform, she thinks her “brain stem would freeze.”

Please contact Kelly Bennett directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org 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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