There’s often art in unexpected places, like this crumbling sidewalk in Ocean Beach. Someone added a pink hue to the heart-shaped divot, and the image appears in the 100th post on our Stumblr blog, where pedestrians upload photographs of the most troublesome sidewalks around town.

Art shows up in our other blog project, Dear Superintendent, where readers share open letters with incoming San Diego Unified School District chief Cindy Marten. Teri Ang of Mira Mesa stopped by our booth at our conversation with Marten last week to note her hope that Marten includes arts in her vision for the city’s schools.

Photo by Dagny Salas.

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

Turning the Status Quo on Its Head

• A sculpture of a prehistoric giant sloth in Borrego Springs is no longer missing its head. Artist Ricardo Breceda returned to the valley last week to weld the sloth’s head to its body, months after the philanthropist who commissioned the sculpture died. (U-T San Diego)

• Architecture students want to temporarily take over a vacant lot in East Village and replace its dead grass and chain-link fence with a coffee shop and meeting spaces in shipping containers. (KPBS)

• The Mingei Museum is named for a word connoting the art of the everyday, the art of what people use to cook, decorate and adorn themselves. Director Rob Sidner tells the U-T he hopes there’s a subtext that comes through to visitors, too:

“Our real goal is to continue to spark people’s creativity, to help people — normal, everyday people — to realize that they are creative,” Sidner said. “In this country, people don’t believe that very much. … We believe quite the opposite.”

Hidden Gems

• A series of short new plays set in coffeehouses is being performed in one — The Big Kitchen in South Park. (San Diego CityBeat)

• A film festival in Ocean Beach will screen a documentary featuring North County’s Amelia Brodka, and her “quest to find a place for women in professional skateboarding.”

• More than 20,000 items are featured in the new Balboa Park Commons, an online resource where people can browse rare artifacts you’d otherwise have to visit the park’s museums to see. You can browse sets of images from the museums’ collections.

Made by Locals:

• San Diego births a lot of notable musical and theater productions, and a crucial piece of that pipeline is the initial investment to get the idea off the ground. The U-T profiles some notable local producers who’ve bankrolled or shepherded some of the region’s biggest plays:

“One thing we know for sure,” says one of them, Ralph Bryan: “It’s hard to pick which show will be the next big hit, but if you support art and artists and people with a fierce vision, you’ll come out ahead more often than not.”

• New murals in La Jolla include ones by artists Fred Tomaselli and Julian Opie, bringing the total to 11 artworks in the series. Photographer Philipp Scholz Ritterman shared photographs of the new pieces, like this one of the Opie piece:

At our first “Meeting of the Minds,” Quint Contemporary Art gallery director Ben Strauss-Malcolm described the mural project’s beginnings.

• Rick Crawford, supervisor of the San Diego Public Library’s special collections, has put together a new book of notable characters and events in San Diego history.

• Moonlighting: By day, Doug Friedman runs marketing and promotions for local TV station KUSI. But for five years, he’s taken an onstage turn as an actor in community theater. Up next, he’ll appear in “Little Shop of Horrors.” (U-T)

• The language used in “Game of Thrones” on HBO, Dothraki, was invented by a UC San Diego alum, David Peterson. The show’s creators send him the script, he translates sections into the language, records himself speaking them aloud and then sends it back for the actors’ use. (KPBS)

• A Scripps Ranch teenager is awed by the others who’ve won a national writing contest before her: Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, John Updike among them. Maya Little-Sana will collect her prize in New York City this month for an essay that describes her struggles with depression. “It definitely strokes my ego a little bit. I felt kind of worthless before,” she told the U-T.

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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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