A multi-pronged effort to solve a centuries-old mystery — the location of a missing da Vinci mural — has local roots, and we heard directly from a researcher who’s been on the front lines.

You can watch a presentation here by Alexandra Hubenko, who is project manager for UC San Diego’s Center of Interdisciplinary Science For Art, Architecture and Archaeology. Hubenko was one of six speakers at our recent “Meeting of the Minds” arts and culture event atop Horton Plaza’s parking structure.

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

Back to School

• A local art school made the art magazine ArtInfo’s short list for Master’s of Fine Arts programs with the “most bang for your buck” in the country. UC San Diego’s graduate visual arts program features training in art theory and new media and opportunities to mix art with technology. The “fine print” caveat: “San Diego is not the art hub that Los Angeles is and has a much smaller, DIY gallery scene,” the magazine said.

In our recent “Meeting of the Minds” arts and culture event, local curator Lauren Popp highlighted that informal gallery scene. You can watch her short presentation here.

• A summer opera camp for middle school students brought the high art form to Barrio Logan College Institute, according to the program’s blog. Eleven students worked for four weeks to create an opera:

The students learned how to make decisions about the direction and artistic intention of their opera as they began by playing with instruments, working with beats and tone, writing lyrics, and learning about literary devices such as metaphors, meters, onomatopoeia, and other devices that needed to be included in their lyrics.

The institute, which we wrote about last year, works to prepare disadvantaged kids for college.

Happening Here

• Thursday is your last day to submit your great idea to our Idea Tournament, part of Voice of San Diego’s second annual Politifest, coming up Sept. 29. I’d love to see some arts, culture, design and creativity ideas up there alongside the political, education and societal ones. Find more information and apply here.

• A 28-year-old actor is playing three different roles in three different plays for The Old Globe’s summer Shakespeare festival. U-T San Diego photographer Sean Haffey caught up with actor Dan Amboyer onstage and off:

“When you do a show eight times a week, you are constantly living in the same world for that whole time, but when you have such drastically different characters and circumstances, you have to find a way to take a moment to reconnect,” Amboyer said, “and throw yourself back into that world.”

• Celebrations that mark rites of passage and special life milestones look very different around the world. A few Balboa Park museums have teamed up with southeastern San Diego’s Center for Community and Cultural Arts to put together an exhibition of artifacts and photographs from many different cultures’ rites of passage, like photos of a Somali wedding ceremony and of a coming-out ceremony for women in the Philippines. It opens tomorrow and runs through January.

• A gala for the New Children’s Museum featured gowns and décor made from repurposed materials. (U-T)

One of the artists behind the bicycle-wheel chandeliers at the gala posted a behind-the-scenes video on YouTube of how she made the decorative fixtures.

• The U-T takes a behind-the-scenes look at rehearsals for The Old Globe’s upcoming “Allegiance” musical, set against the backdrop of the Japanese-American internment during World War II.

• John Cage was a fascinating American composer. Probably his most well-known composition is called 4’33” — the performers sit still for four minutes and thirty three seconds, not playing their instruments. The piece is sometimes perceived as four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence, but Cage intended that the piece consist of whatever sound comes from the audience or outside noise. The U-T’s James Chute describes the composer’s footprint and highlights several local performances coming up in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth — including one next Wednesday at Space 4 Art in East Village, part of new music devotee Bonnie Wright’s Fresh Sound series.

• My series looking at big changes and controversies over the years in Balboa Park continues with a television segment explaining why a landfill was built in the park. And the story of how a huge section of the park came to house the U.S. Navy’s hospital complex.

• The city of Carlsbad announced it’s giving away $25,000 in grants to artists. (Carlsbad Patch) And the San Diego Foundation announced it’s opening another round of grants for individual artists as part of its Creative Catalyst program.

• Brothers born in Iran who moved at a young age to San Diego County just built their midcentury-style, modern dream home in Mission Hills. They say it’s the first “Gold” certified home in town, according to federal green-building standards. (Riviera)

A Decade Later

• A popular screening of short films from around the world commemorates its 10th anniversary this Thursday at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Local film curator Neil Kendrick says he tries to make the one-night “alt.pictureshows” festival a well-structured, interactive, self-directed experience. (Riviera)

• San Diego CityBeat turned 10 and commemorated its anniversary with looks back at all sorts of interesting developments over the decade, like the beginning of the “irreverent” Shakespeare troupe, Poor Players Theatre, in 2004 and the passing of local theater godfather Craig Noel in 2010. The alt-weekly’s former arts editor, Kinsee Morlan, named her favorite 10 local lowbrow artists, and a trio of the outlet’s music writers named their top 10 musical acts.

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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 is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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