Artists often face hurdles and delays when they make work for public agencies like cities and airports. In two recent cases, artists have struggled with agencies over work that’s been up for years — John Whalen, who created the mural of Charles Lindbergh that used to be on the airport’s commuter terminal, and Roberto Salas, who made the “Night Visions” street sign-inspired sculptures on Park Boulevard.

Those artists, along with me and representatives from the city and the airport, appeared on this weekend’s episode of “Politically Speaking” on NBC 7 San Diego. Even though it can be frustrating to work under a public agency’s rules and processes, artists go through it because the artworks are often the biggest and most prominent they’ll get to make in their careers.

Mayor Bob Filner demonstrated that prominence last week during the dedication for a controversial statue, “Unconditional Surrender”: This is going to mark San Diego. … This belongs here.” (NBC)

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

Happening Here

• Forty dancers in wheelchairs and their able-bodied partners tried to set a world record last week for the “number of wheelchair dancers performing the bachata, a traditional Latin dance routine.” (U-T San Diego)

• Two choreographers created a dance for wheelchair dancers for their entry in this coming weekend’s Young Choreographers’ Showcase, the U-T also reported.

We followed the work behind the scenes in preparing for last year’s competition in our Arts: Embedded series.

• San Diego has added more layers to its arts and culture scene over the last 30 years, longtime local choreographer John Malashock tells San Diego Magazine in a Q-and-A. “There is a complete spectrum of exciting work — from emerging artists to established mid-level dance and theater companies, to the major, nationally recognized organizations,” he said. “It feels like a much healthier artistic ecosystem.”

• A new blog and newsletter aims to highlight the “best, most inspiring and unique visual and performing arts events in San Diego.” (Vanguard Culture)

• Even with “41 guys,” it takes 25 minutes to change the sets during intermission at “Samson and Delilah,” the production on stage now at San Diego Opera. (KPBS)

The U-T’s critic, James Chute, said the production was “solid, even compelling at times (particularly in the second act), even if it all seemed a little old-fashioned.”

• The new chief at The Old Globe, Barry Edelstein, tells the U-T’s James Hebert he’s thinking more about the life of the institution than about what specific plays he’ll put on first. “But what I find myself thinking about is, how can the institution become more meaningful to the life of the city, above and beyond the fun, vibrant plays we put on?”

Notable Collections

• Dr. Seuss’s secret hat collection is coming out of the closet for a national tour, including local stops this summer. (La Jolla Patch)

• A downtown building that used to be a parachute factory is set to have some interior walls torn down and renovated. But first, the company Mindgruve, moving into the space, gave it over to arts organizations Sezio and Yeller for a one-night-only show. The line on Saturday stretched around the block.

One of the co-organizers described the novelty of the event to CityBeat before it kicked off: “this is a unique opportunity where everything could be created on the spot, in the building, on the walls, and then never seen again after this night, except for in photos and whatnot.”

• Matthew and Iris Strauss are the only San Diegans included in a 2012 list of notable art collectors by ARTNews. Some of their collection is on display now at the University of San Diego. (U-T)

• The owner of a huge science fiction and memorabilia collection, Edward Marsh, has a particular filter for the books he reads, but he doesn’t wear gloves: “I actually don’t read books that are not signed by the author. But if you can’t handle it and can’t enjoy it, why even have it?” Marsh is donating a third of his collection to San Diego State University. (KPBS)

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I’m Kelly Bennett, reporter for Voice of San Diego. You can reach me directly at or 619.325.0531.

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

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