Eight-year-old Alejandra Escalera, violinist, watched my posture with vigilance.

She moved my fingers and demonstrated the quivering-bow tremolo technique she’d just learned in her after-school strings class at Lauderbach Elementary. She motioned to the music notes on the stand in front of me, and seemed to relish the chance to teach an adult how to play the instrument she’s been playing for just about five months. (I had to confess once the mini-lesson was done: I already know how to play the violin.)

We went with NBC San Diego to Chula Vista to film Escalera’s class for our latest Behind the Scene TV. Her classmate, Diego Garcia, shared his own charming words about learning to play viola:

“Sometimes when I listen to music when I do other things, it makes me feel … more attitude. Like proudness,” he said.

You’re reading the Arts Report, our weekly rundown of news and stories about the drama and art of making art in San Diego. Want a soundtrack while you catch up? I attended this Art of Élan contemporary chamber music performance earlier this month at Glashaus in Barrio Logan; you can listen to a recording of the performance at InstantEncore.

• Mayor Jerry Sanders wants to suspend 15 public art projects for two years while the city of San Diego’s in a budget crisis. But it’s still unclear how much of the money saved from stopping projects could even be spent on cops and parks.

• What happens when three artists try to paint with one artistic voice? What about when two journalists come to observe that collaborative process? Dani Dodge’s latest post in our Guide from the Inside blog tells the tale of an afternoon painting session where she and photographer Sam Hodgson spontaneously became the subjects of portraits.

• Watch out for the Cardiff Kook’s newest accoutrements: His Cupid’s arrow and Valentine’s ribbons may make you swoon. (KFMB)

• Summer concert-goers to San Diego Symphony: Don’t mess with the “patriotic-esque” formula. (U-T)

• The Star of India will soon have a new pal: a historic replica of another tall ship. (Old West New West)

• Help pick the t-shirt design for this spring’s Mission Federal ArtWalk.

• The North County Times’ ever-sundry list of arts happenings this week includes South American harp music, a “surf-rock band from outer space” and dance works by UCSD master’s students. (NCT)

Wearing Different Hats:

• He’s blond, blue-eyed, named Mark Fogelquist and the recipient of a high award given by the Mexican government for his contributions to … mariachi? (Reader)

• A junior high school principal in Yuma, Ariz., drives across state lines to be one of the chorus members in San Diego Opera. (Yuma Sun)

• Susan Farese of Carmel Valley is a poet, an actress and a nurse. (Carmel Valley News)

• A part-time usher for the San Diego Civic Theatre gives her kidney to a stranger, “kicking off a cross-country chain of transplants.” (U-T)

Made in San Diego:

• Two UCSD-affiliated artists, Jay S. Johnson and Ruben Ortiz-Torres, win the 2011 San Diego Art Prize. (U-T)

• Fallbrook sculptor who’ll make busts of a firefighter and a police officer for a Carlsbad public safety training center talks the muscle, sinew and nerves of public art. (U-T)

• An interview with the picture-frame-“obsessed” artist Howard Hodgkin, whose exhibition we followed as it was installed here. (L.A. Times)

• For the late Nick Reynolds, “singing with the Kingston Trio was a spiritual enterprise,” his wife said, accepting on his behalf the Lifetime Grammy Award the trio was given this weekend. (U-T)

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