Big news this week in the group of buildings in the former Naval Training Center, the neighborhood hoped to become San Diego’s next arts and culture center.

After getting unexpected property tax bills, the nonprofit NTC Foundation overseeing the buildings’ renovations went to the city last month for more than $1 million to cover back taxes, current taxes and penalties. The city obliged, and the foundation vowed to cover all tax bills incurred after this year.

Then the foundation sent letters to the arts, nonprofits and other tenants in the seven already renovated buildings, telling some they’d have to pay higher rents starting in April.

For one group I talked to, that increase adds 25 percent to its monthly rent. Such increased rents could price out the very arts groups these buildings are being rehabbed to house. I shared more about the story with our friends in TV and radio: I was on NBC San Diego on Friday, and on KPBS’s These Days show on Monday morning.

You’re reading the Arts Report, our collection of the week’s arts news from our pages and elsewhere.

Art of Revolutions:

• South African playwright Athol Fugard, who lives in Rancho Santa Fe, receives the National Peacemaker Award this Thursday for “using the vehicle of theater to bring a voice to the voiceless.” (U-T)

• About his current writing, Fugard says he’s been writing in a much more personal vein. (Words Are Not Enough)

• An significant local Chicano spoken word group, the Taco Shop Poets, will get back together for a show this weekend in honor of co-founder Adrián Arancibia’s 40th birthday. Our Q&A with Arancibia.

• That mural in Oceanside wasn’t by Banksy. (KPBS)

• Video artist Jennifer Steinkamp, whose flowery, nature-inspired work is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s downtown location, opposes nuclear power but finds Marie Curie fascinating. (U-T)

Making it in San Diego:

• An empty toilet paper dispenser isn’t too small a detail to tell Hannes Kling, the La Jolla Music Society’s backstage maestro of contracts and light bulbs, music stands and transportation.

• San Diego Unified might slash $2.8 million from its $3 million budget for music and art programs. (U-T)

• La Jolla Playhouse’s “Little Miss Sunshine” co-creators William Finn and James Lapine are hoping to take the musical, which opened last weekend, to Broadway. “Some shows you work on, you don’t have the aspiration,” says Lapine. “With this one we do.” (L.A. Times).

• The Union-Tribune’s theater critic, James Hebert, praises the show’s “lovable” star and “fetching” design scheme but points out a few weak spots as the play “bumps along.” Charles Isherwood also reviewed it in the New York Times.

• A recent University of San Diego theater grad opens a theater in Alhambra. (Pasadena Star-News)

• A water company franchise owner and theater aficionado, Jim Poet, staunchly loved The Old Globe and took his employees to plays as incentives to meet their goals. He died last month at age 90. (U-T)

• Last weekend’s City Ballet “Tchaikovsky Spectacular” ran with the Black Swan buzz and featured two dancers alternating in the roles between Swan Queen Odette and her evil twin Odile ( One of them was Janica Smith, the ballerina/beer server we featured recently.

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Want me to include an article you found interesting in a future Arts Report? Please contact me, Kelly Bennett, directly at or 619.325.0531 and follow me on Twitter: @kellyrbennett.

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

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