We’re evolving our arts coverage and my reporting terrain here at voiceofsandiego.org, and I’m happy to share more with you.

In a nutshell: We’re launching a new series in arts, shining a spotlight on a bunch of facets of a single production, performance or interesting artist each month. I’ll be reporting longer term stories from the realms of ideas, nonprofits and the arts. And we’ll keep up the weekly Arts Report and the semi-annual Meeting of the Minds.

My coverage will come in four main forms:

Arts: Embedded | We’re launching a dedicated series to follow one production, show or artistic endeavor as it comes together each month. I will be “embedded” with theaters, individual artists, musical ensembles, dance troupes and others.

I’m captivated by the myriad things that go into making art, the large and small armies of people working on individual pieces of the puzzle. When they come together to raise the curtain or hang the paintings or roll the film or open the doors or take the stage, it can be magic. This fascination inspired the name of this arts section — Behind the Scene.

This is the kind of approach you’ve told us you’ve enjoyed, from watching how a museum preps its blank walls to hang masterpieces, to learning what all goes into the construction of an opera.

Our first posts in this new effort — called Arts: Embedded — will come next week; I’ve been embedded this month in the production of “How I Got That Story” at Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company.

In-Depth Stories | I’lI continue to report on the arts but also expand that focus to include ideas and nonprofits. I think of it as the area in the gaps between businesses and governments. What is being invented and honed? What is somebody doing about a problem? Who’s making problems worse?

These are the kind of stories I mean: In the last year, I broke and followed the story about a tax snafu that threatened to price out the very nonprofits the arts and culture district at the former Naval Training Center was set up to house. I looked at what happens when the government tries to keep edgy art in a gentrifying neighborhood and exposed a nightmare scenario for arts groups and others who signed on for a Christmas festival but didn’t get paid, not even the reindeer.

All of this together — our “embedded” focus and the pursuit of in-depth stories — weds several passions of mine: investigating big questions, sparking curiosity, learning how stuff works (or doesn’t), reporting and telling stories.

In my former life before launching our arts coverage, I covered real estate, economics and what it takes to survive in San Diego from 2006 to 2010. I exposed a mortgage fraud scheme wreaking havoc in North County — its mastermind pleaded guilty to federal charges last month. I detailed why San Diego County is among the worst in the state at providing vital aid to poor people. I followed a different San Diegan to work every month for four years, telling stories about what we do for money.

I’m coming up on the six-year mark as a reporter at voiceofsandiego.org. I hope you’ll keep sharing tips with me, and keep recommending things to me that will deepen my understanding of this complex place. Email me anytime at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org.

Arts Report | Our weekly roundup of interesting news bits about local arts from VOSD and others. (You can sign up here to make sure you get it via email.)

A Meeting of the Minds | We’re having too much fun with these semi-annual arts and culture illumination events to stop ‘em now! We’ve done two already — last June and earlier this month — and we’re working on our next one now for the fall. If you know someone who’d be a great guide to something interesting in local arts, or think there’s a topic that’s got to show up in one of these soon, drop me a line.

I’m Kelly Bennett; I write about arts, ideas and nonprofits for VOSD. You can reach me directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531.

And follow Behind the Scene on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett

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

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