A brick-walled warehouse on Kettner Boulevard glowed and buzzed Wednesday night as a couple of hundred people showed up to hear a rapid-fire rundown of some of the most stimulating pieces of San Diego’s arts and culture scene.

Six speakers took us from discarded couches and rotting fruit to acclaimed furniture design and international artist murals, from the theater scene’s depth and breadth to the way art can interact with civic life and urban planning.

It all served to bolster my unoriginal hunch that arts and culture are hugely integral to a community’s identity, and important in defining San Diego in the face of some pervasive stereotypes that there’s nothing happening here.

We’ve been loving hearing reactions all day Thursday from readers, tweeters using the hashtag #mindsmeet and commenters on Facebook.

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Demarre McGill, flutist with the San Diego Symphony and co-founder of Art of Élan, said he was excited that there is “enough going on for an event like this to occur” in San Diego. His group was one of the featured topics for something that’s sticking in San Diego.

“This community is really on the cusp of greatness artistically,” he said.

McGill was one of 13 attendees we caught for their immediate review of the night. See what they had to say and view the photos. How about you? What are you excited about in San Diego’s arts scene? If you were there Wednesday, what’s sticking with you? Tell us.

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

In Other News:

A new mural by famed Chicano Park “artivist” Mario Torero was unveiled last week to reflect Latino history and culture on campus, breaking a nearly three-decade monopoly on what permanent art goes in at the university held by the Stuart Collection.

• The city’s arts and culture funding programs are in the news right now as city budgets are prepared for next year. We round up a few details: What are these programs and who gets the money?

• One of the plans on the table is to cut the city’s Commission for Arts and Culture grants by 10 percent. The Regional Arts and Culture Coalition is trying to rally support against such cuts in advance of next week’s hearings on the budget. (CityBeat)

• There’s still money in this pot: Downtown’s redevelopment agency approved a $2 million remodeling project for the Lyceum Theatre in Horton Plaza. (Union-Tribune)

• Due to its recent sit-in protest, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is the one main exception to the scorn Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout heaps on United States art institutions for not stepping up to protest Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s detention. (WSJ)

• Union-Tribune classical music critic James Chute shares an appraisal of the San Diego Opera’s 2011 season, noting that the show he found the biggest artistic success, “Der Rosenkavalier,” was the least attended opera of the season.

• Seventeen museums in the county are giving free admission to active-duty military members and their families this summer. (North County Times)

• The San Diego Symphony’s top violinist, Jeff Thayer, says playing the $3 million Stradivarius violin on loan to him by Irwin and Joan Jacobs for the first time was like “a new person I had met for the first time and we just clicked.” (U-T)

• A veteran of several San Diego museums and retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, Heath Fox, will take the second-in-command post at the Broad, the art museum in downtown L.A. that will feature Eli Broad’s contemporary art collection. (L.A. Times)

• Acting in the dysfunctional family play “August: Osage County” at the Old Globe is a treat for the artists involved, according to Angela Carone’s radio story for KPBS. Says director Sam Gold:

You get to tell jokes and stories. You get to curse and scream and get mad at each other. You get to behave badly. There are very few plays out there where people behave as badly as they do in “August: Osage County.”

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Kelly Bennett is the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach her directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org 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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