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Late last week Mayor Jerry Sanders touted the city’s investment of hotel-room tax money in local arts groups, drawing a line between that $6.4 million in city funds to the $173 million those groups spent last year. (Read the full report.)

He revealed he’s not proposing cuts to that program in the budget that is supposed to be released this week and said the support wasn’t contradictory to his proposed suspension of funding for the public art program for sculptures and art pieces on new city buildings.

That suspension doesn’t actually mean much, he said, because the city’s hardly building anything right now.

“It’s really a gesture to let people know that we do care about public safety,” he said.

We heard from several readers on this story; see anything here you agree with or beg to differ about? You can also watch our discussion of the mayor’s funding in our weekly NBC San Diego segment.

You’re reading the Arts Report, our roundup of news and views on local arts from our pages and elsewhere.

By Any Other Name:

• At Maximiliano Rangel’s school in National City, second grade is the first year kids must learn to read and write in English instead of their native Spanish. I watched a stimulating performance of “Ro-mé-o” and Juliet there recently and couldn’t get it out of my head.

• It’s rare for a theater to have to hire a replacement actor for a “big, juicy role” so close to opening night as The Old Globe just had to — for two plays. For the U-T, Anne Marie Welsh writes about the last-minute scramble.

• I’ll interview Christine Knoke, the exhibitions director for the Mingei Museum this week — have any questions to add? I learned recently “mingei” was coined to mean “arts of the people.”

• Despite the institutional buzz for street art last summer, graffiti artists like Phil Peralta, or Pandemic, still face an uphill battle to avoid being busted. (CityBeat)

• What would a play parenthetically titled “the vibrator play” be without said devices, at least in prop form? (KPBS)

• It’s a “season of accolades” for South African-turned-San-Diegan playwright Athol Fugard, who will receive a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award in June. (Union-Tribune)

• It’s almost becoming unmentionable, the name of that other play on the other coast where people are flying (and falling) — but Lamb’s Players is using flying apparatuses in a current production. (KPBS)

Walk with me out of the theater and tell me what you thought of the symphony’s percussion concerto this weekend, or of the opera’s “Der Rosenkavalier,” or San Diego Rep’s “In the Next Room,” or Malashock Dance’s “The Floating World.” I’d love to hear your take.

Light and Shadow:

• Local set designer Robin Sanford Roberts (who’s worked at San Diego Repertory Theatre and The Old Globe and others) made a public sculpture, “The Boat/El Barco” now installed at UCSD and dedicated last week. (U-T)

• What happens when a bunch of voiceover actors get together? The North County Times announces the group’s inaugural meeting, and more theater news.

• A local muralist says he lives on $12,000 per year. (U-T)

• I saw Feist perform at the Hollywood Bowl three summers ago and have never shaken the fascination I had with the artist using light and shadow on projectors to illustrate the songs. That artist, Clea Minaker, is in town this week to partner with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and Sezio for a couple of fascinating-looking workshops for teens and performances for the rest of us.

• A photograph taken in 1978 with a pinhole camera lives in the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park, the latest installment in the U-T’s look at masterpieces in our midst.

• The Park Gallery, a venue in University Heights, is having trouble with vandalism and theft. (CityBeat)

• Growing up in Riverside, a local philanthropist’s first trip past county lines brought her to the San Diego Museum of Art. Now her group raises money to pay for buses for field trips to art and culture. (U-T)

• Video artist Jennifer Steinkamp, whose “Marie Curie” installation is on view now at the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, birthed her idea for the gigantic floral scene while she was “driving past the frightening nuclear plant in San Onofre on the way to the museum.” Apparently the lauded Curie, the piece’s namesake, was “enamored with flowers.” (CityBeat)

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I’m the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531 and follow me on Twitter: @kellyrbennett and at facebook.com/behind.the.scene.SD.

Kelly Bennett

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

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