David Copley left a board meeting at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego last week, saying he wasn’t feeling well. Later that evening, Copley, the last remaining member of San Diego’s newspaper power family, died in La Jolla after suffering a heart attack. He was 60.

He played major roles in fundraising and supporting that museum and the La Jolla Playhouse, according to a survey of Copley’s role in the local arts scene by the U-T’s James Chute.

“He was very interested in what’s new and what’s next,” said Christopher Ashley, the Playhouse’s artistic director. Copley shared in a Tony Award as a producer of the Playhouse’s hit “Memphis” a few years ago.

It’s unclear how Copley’s estate may be designated, but Chute reported that it’s certain Copley’s collection of works by the artist Christo will go to the Museum of Contemporary Art, “instantly making it the largest repository of Christo’s work in the United States.”

Read more accounts of Copley’s life and ties to arts in the U-T and in the New York Times.

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


• Tijuana’s music scene is bustling, and a weekend earlier this month featured two popular music festivals.

KPBS/Fronteras reporter Erin Siegal talked with Brooklyn artist Jayce Clayton, or DJ Rupture, while he was in town for one of the festivals.

“It’s a really interesting and fertile time for Mexican music,” Clayton said. “And actually that’s one of the biggest things. Especially in Tijuana. The reputation is sort of like a dangerous city. It’s actually this crazy creative hotbed for different people doing really exciting music and art.”

• CityBeat’s music editor, Peter Holslin, was happy to find raw energy at one of those festivals, All My Friends, even though it was better organized and larger than in years past.

• One young Tijuanense, Marcos Espinosa, crosses the border each weekend to come to orchestra rehearsal in Balboa Park. We caught Espinosa practicing his drum stick technique on his shoes the other morning. Espinosa will be one of our speakers at our Meeting of the Minds on Wednesday night. Join him, and us, there.

• And join our photo experiment in the park on Saturday, Dec.1, at 3 p.m. Take a photo somewhere in the park and upload it to Twitter or Instagram. Read this for more details.

Water leaked Monday night in the Casa del Balboa, the building in Balboa Park that houses San Diego’s Model Railroad Museum, History Center and Museum of Photographic Arts, as the San Diego Reader first reported. The museums are evaluating their damage but a History Center spokesman said the collections escaped damage.

The executive director of the Balboa Art Conservation Center said that the center, which is upstairs, didn’t sustain any damage — not even a rise in humidity, which could be problematic for the art pieces conservators are working on. “We have been very lucky,” she said.

Local Roots

The U-T and KPBS have round-ups of what’s on local stages for the wintry holidays. “Nutcracker” season started this week, too. And the U-T’s Pam Kragen found lots to like in North County theater New Village Arts’ revised version of the local holiday perennial, “Forever Plaid” — called “Plaid Tidings.”

Nine local arts organizations received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, including Mo’olelo, San Diego Opera, the Carlsbad Music Festival and the Media Arts Center San Diego. (U-T)

• The great-grandson of the original patent-holder for Jell-O has La Jolla ties. He painted a series of coffee cups that are on display through this Thursday at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. (SDNews.com)

• Local artist Omar Lopez rigged up a mobile photo booth on his motorcycle for a tintype camera project and has been taking it around, persuading strangers to pose with him for one of 40 photographs. (CityBeat)

• Sculptor Bret Barrett’s downtown studio is full. “His small studio is a cross between a natural history museum, horror movie backlot, tool shop and swap meet,” writes U-T arts blogger Susan Myrland. “Hundreds of storage containers are stacked to precarious heights, filled with animal skeletons, seashells, eyeballs, seed pods, screws, bolts, gears and pink plastic fetuses.” Barrett is preparing for a new show of his work opening in early December.

• It’s the tenth year for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s popular “Thursday Night Thing” evening. This week’s features the museum’s new exhibition of San Diego and Tijuana artists. (MCASD)

• Nina Garin has a guide to non-mall places to find creative holiday gifts. (U-T)

• A group of artists rent a house in Del Mar and call it “A Ship in the Woods,” hosting concerts, putting artwork in the living room/gallery and running occasional artist residencies for people who need a space to create something for a weekend or longer. One of the artists tells CityBeat that the goal is to “create a sustainable-living environment for artists, where they can grow their own food and record music in a solar-powered studio.”

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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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