As organizers plan a yearlong bash in 2015 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of an expo that created many iconic structures in the city’s cultural heart, Balboa Park, they’ve got some hurdles to clear — raising money, finding spaces to set up exhibits and more.

As part of my ongoing series on the park, I also looked at news from the U-T yesterday that the San Diego Zoo wants to revive a plan to add about 4,800 paid parking spaces.

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

Happening Here

• The leaders at Orchestra Nova, a local classical music organization, haven’t been able to strike a deal with the union musicians who play in the ensemble. The group’s first concert is scheduled for Oct. 20. Musicians originally agreed to play that show, but that was before things got so testy. The organization wants them to agree not to strike at the concert; the musicians refuse to sign a no-strike agreement.

“That’s one of the last rights we have left and there’s absolutely no benefit to us to waive that right at this point,” Andrea Altona, president of the local musicians union, told KPBS.

• Local artist and friend of mine Wes Bruce has been working with collaborators to collect a year’s worth of letters, poems, photographs and recordings. He’s building a structure onsite at Lux Art Institute in Encinitas to house them. His “Structures Poetry Humans” installation opens next Thursday. (Sezio)

• Robert Pincus has been writing about art in San Diego for decades. In a commentary for San Diego Magazine, he weighs in on some of the major public art additions/proposals in the last year, including the “Unconditional Surrender” or “Kiss” statue, the proposed waterfront “Wings” and Robert Irwin’s commission at the federal courthouse. (We visited that installation in progress last week.)

The pieces range from tacky to sublime, in Pincus’ view.

“It has seemed like a city with two minds,” he writes. “One of those minds, or mindsets, embraces a pandering piece like Unconditional Surrender. … But there is another San Diego, which offers a different and frankly better type of public art.”

• The Old Globe announced it hired a new artistic director, Barry Edelstein, a leading Shakespeare expert in the United States. He comes most recently from New York City and said he’s excited to be at the Globe.

“It’s one of the country’s great theaters. There’s just no doubt about that,” he told the U-T. “You make a list of the Top 10 regional theaters in the United States, and the Globe is on it.”

Edelstein talked with KPBS about bringing theater outside its walls.

“I must tell you, the experience of watching Shakespeare in a maximum-security women’s prison was really the most powerful thing I’ve experienced in my career in the theater,” he said.

• Two other local institutions will receive grants intended to push them outside their walls, too. The Irvine Foundation is giving the San Diego Symphony $580,000 to “engage people in ‘traditionally underserved neighborhoods’” and the San Diego Museum of Art will receive $527,000 to “enlist people in creating public artworks for their neighborhoods,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

Rooted in San Diego

• Local low-income kids will talk about their experiences at a meeting Wednesday of the city’s Human Relations Commission. They’ll also be introducing a book of artwork and stories about growing up poor in San Diego.

• Percussionist Victor Tapia is a founding member of popular local world-music band the B-Side Players. He and his girlfriend opened a yoga studio in Imperial Beach — a landmark they say is the most southwesterly studio in the country. (San Diego Magazine)

• A film Andy Warhol made in 1968 called “San Diego Surf” will screen Tuesday night at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Interview magazine collects remembrances from some of the film’s original participants, like Joe Dallesandro:

“They put us all up out in La Jolla to make this movie, but soon they learned that none of us knew how to surf,” he said. “I remember going out into the water and trying to get on a surfboard—my head was under water, and the surfboard was on top of me [laughs].”

• It’s dizzying to walk inside the crooked house atop an engineering building at UC San Diego — the house artist Do-Ho Su calls “Fallen Star.” Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight visited the piece and said it made him feel stick to his stomach.

“I hasten to add that the nausea is a good thing,” Knight wrote, “an unexpected disorientation that is indicative of the way art can move the body as a way to move the heart and mind.”

• The effort to revitalize the colorful murals in Chicano Park won the Grand Orchid at last week’s local architecture and design awards. (U-T)

See our photographs of the artists working to revitalize their murals earlier this year. And watch muralist Mario Chacon’s presentation about the park’s history from our February arts and culture event, “A Meeting of the Minds.”

• Combat veterans who’ve served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who are undergoing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder will show artwork they’ve made in an exhibition opening Nov. 3 at Space 4 Art in East Village.

• Choreographer John Malashock celebrates the 25th anniversary of his dance company, Malashock Dance, this year. (U-T)

• Two retired professors teamed up to give San Diego State University’s musical theater program a $2.4 million gift. (San Diego Daily Transcript)

• A center for silkscreening, photography, ceramics and other crafts that opened at UC San Diego 40 years ago is closing due to budget cuts. Here’s a short documentary about the center. The center needs about $1.5 million in repairs and costs more to keep open than comes in in student fees. (UCSD Guardian)

• A collaborative knitting project brought new color and warmth to poles at the Mission Valley shopping center; the yarn-bombs will be up through the end of October.

• The owner of a local cupcakery infused her treats with pork in a second-place finish on the show “Cupcake Wars.” She said she was the only contestant to use “meat or ‘gross’ ingredients.” (Dickinson Press)

• Artist Martha Rosler is having a garage sale — at a prestigious art museum. Her “Meta-Monumental Garage Sale” will open at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City next month.

Her first garage-sale-as-art happened here, at UC San Diego, in the 1970s. She advertised it “as a garage sale in the newspaper and as an art event within the local art scene.” (New York Daily News)

• Fallbrook-based painter Michael Maas tells Agitprop about his switch to becoming a fulltime artist:

“In 1996 my wife Carmen encouraged me to walk away from a six-figure income in the financial services industry and become a full-time artist, in order to ‘do something worthwhile’ with my life (her words),” he said.

“Ever since then, I basically just work every day whether I know what to do or not, and somehow one thing leads to another and things get done. I don’t try too hard to understand it.”

A quick personal note: I’ve occasionally shared news from my band, The Tree Ring, with you. I’m a violinist and have worked with these pals and musicians for several years.

Our excitement at the moment is that we’ve recorded a new full-length record and will be releasing it next Saturday, Oct. 27. We’ll perform all of the new songs alongside our collaborators from Camarada, a local chamber music ensemble, at the Birch North Park Theatre. If you’re interested, you can listen to the first track and find more details about the concert here.

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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.

Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

Kelly Bennett

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

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