The questions of grit and civic life shouldn’t stay outside the walls of art museums, the San Diego Museum of Art argues.

The museum is framing its summer salon series under the question “What does a city need?” It kicked off Thursday with a look at the first theme, “shelter,” featuring a roof held up by humans and a giant inflatable whale belly, of all things, by artist Omar Lopez. And City Councilman Todd Gloria shared some perspectives about the city’s affordable housing and homelessness problems.

Watch our short video of Lopez setting up his pieces amid the museum’s traditional galleries. For upcoming themes, see the schedule.

“I think there always has been a perceived divide between art and then our everyday experience,” the museum’s public programs manager, Alexander Jarman, told me. “So one goal of the series is to further emphasize that art is relative to our everyday existence. And we want to make the museum the physical site of dialogue about important issues.”

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Jarman also chatted with KPBS on Thursday.

If it feels like you just got a copy of the Arts Report, our weekly compilation of the region’s arts and culture news, that’s because last week’s was delayed until Friday due to the holiday and our big arts and culture event last week. Our normal day is Tuesday. Thanks for reading.

Made in San Diego, or by San Diegans:

• If you missed it, our rapid-fire rundown of some of the most stimulating pieces of San Diego’s arts and culture scene has continued to garner some reactions. Stay tuned for videos from the speakers’ presentations, and for what happens next.

• San Diego native Casey Nicholaw is the director and choreographer behind the hit musical nominated for 14 Tony Awards this year, “The Book of Mormon,” and is the work’s “unsung hero.” (LA Times)

• Mainly Mozart, a local concert series begun more than two decades ago, kicks off its season Tuesday. “Each June, the festival assembles top players, 37 this year, from principal positions in orchestras nationwide,” writes Charlene Baldridge. (North County Times)

• Behind the local productions of “The Music Man” and “Death of a Salesman” are two high-powered women directing, writes longtime theater watcher Pat Launer. (San Diego Metropolitan)

• Don Braunagel, a theater critic for San Diego Magazine from 1995 to 2010 and other publications before and since, and who revived the local Theater Critics Circle a decade ago, passed away Friday. (Critics Circle)

• A retired San Diego Police Department officer with a penchant for Shakespeare penned a novel about a bard-quoting cop. (LA Times) VOSD’s Keegan Kyle did an interview with the author a while back about a different book he’s researching.

• Tony-nominated stage designer David Zinn might be the first designer to be behind two shows happening simultaneously at San Diego’s biggest theaters, the Old Globe and the La Jolla Playhouse. (Union-Tribune)

All Wrapped Up:

• An exhibit featuring the body of a Baltimore man mummified in 1994 according to 2,000-year-old Egyptian techniques opens at the San Diego Museum of Man this weekend. (North County Times)

• Sen. Christine Kehoe gave a “small business owner of the year” award to theater leader Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, who co-founded Moxie Theatre in 2005 to “create more diverse and honest depictions of female characters for the stage.” (Kehoe’s office)

• Don’t jog past it unaware: A rundown (har, har) of downtown’s public art offerings. (Downtown News)

What Comes Next?

• Downtown’s redevelopment agency is fielding ideas for what should be done with the old chapel in Cortez Hill named for St. Cecilia. Ideas include an art gallery, restaurants and an art/architecture discussion forum. (CityBeat)

• The collection of 28,000-some unseen photographs and negatives of life in Logan Heights we talked about a few months ago is finally on display at the San Diego History Center.

• A handful of young and energetic local performers are launching a new theater company, Circle Circle dot dot, with a production called “The Break Up Break Down.” (Broadway World San Diego)

• A “nomadic conversation” about life on either side of the border last weekend had 80 participants use a drain pipe for a border crossing as performance art. (Associated Press)

“The idea is to bring the conversation to the landscape itself,” UCSD professor Teddy Cruz told the U-T.

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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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