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Mayor Jerry Sanders’ proposed cuts to libraries (nearly halving their hours) have attracted the most attention in his proposed budget for next year. My colleague Liam Dillon asked the mayor why he wasn’t cutting arts and culture when he was cutting libraries, and the mayor responded:

“We’ve cut them each year, and they are responsible in arts and culture for about 20,000 jobs. There’s a multi-ripple impact on that.”

I fact-checked the mayor’s statement and determined it was false. He hasn’t cut the budget each year he’s been in office. You can read our analysis of that determination and the rest of his statement here, and let us know if you disagree with our finding.

Here you can see how the budget since Sanders entered office hasn’t been cut each year as he said.

Click to see the full graph of arts funding since 2002.

You’re reading the Arts Report, our weekly compilation of the region’s arts and culture news.

In other news:

• Tuesday morning marks the next step in the mayor’s “gesture” proposal to stop setting aside money from city construction projects for buying and installing public art. We’ll keep you posted on what the City Council decides.

• As the Tuesday morning Tony Awards announcement approached, it was looking a little light for local theater representation. The Union-Tribune’s James Hebert breaks down recent “works with Broadway potential — or at least Broadway hopes — that have crossed San Diego’s stages of late.”

• We’re releasing a book of Sam Hodgson’s photos and celebrating local arts at a party next Wednesday evening, May 11. We hope you’ll join us.

• The dozens of murals in Chicano Park, an ongoing project since 1973, are “a living museum of impassioned art, history and pride.” (U-T)

• Local indie-rockers The Donkeys (with whom my band just shared the stage for their record release party this weekend) just released a new music video featuring some of those murals.

• The salty, sassy symphony librarian we profiled last fall, Nancy Fisch, is retiring in June. Channel 4 visited her lair, taking care to stay out of the way of flying eraser shavings as Fisch marked sheet music.

• Art meets fashion and, in one case, hula hoops, in a big countywide cross-pollination event where painters and seamstresses swap ideas and work on projects together. (CityBeat)

Among the differences at Little Italy’s ArtWalk and the Museum of Art’s annual flower-creation fundraiser: heat (sunshine vs. air conditioning), smell (bratwurst and beer vs. flowers and perfume) and vibe (street party vs. museum). Which was which? (U-T)

• Summer’s coming, and the season’s theater festivals and music festivals across Southern California, too. (North County Times)

• Acclaimed playwright and actor Anna Deveare Smith’s work “Let Me Down Easy” is on stage now at the Lyceum Theatre. Union-Tribune theater critic James Hebert says the work focusing on mortality and illness is “bittersweet and often witty,” and praises Smith’s “talent for the meticulously observed character.” The Los Angeles Times’ critic Charles McNulty calls it a “vitally important, wide-ranging and ultimately very moving solo piece.”

• My pal Rob Davis covered a wedding in La Jolla last weekend for the New York Times’ Vows section between two playwrights, one originally from San Diego, whose conflicting writing styles and heated conversations about craft sparked something more.

• The Encinitas city planning director’s got an artistic past, and the U-T’s Logan Jenkins wants him to respond differently to the “Surfing Madonna” guerrilla public art that appeared recently.

In my admittedly anarchic view, the most elegant solution to the Madonna dilemma would be for the City Council to grant the artist(s) a one-time amnesty from all criminal charges on one condition: That he/she/they create a companion mosaic on the identical recess on the south side of the street.

What do you think?

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Kelly Bennett is the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach her directly at or 619.325.0531. Or you can keep up with her on Twitter @kellyrbennett or on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett

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

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