In 2005, work began on a huge mural depicting the city of Lemon Grove’s history, from antiquity to the modern age. Over the years, four of the five panels have come to fruition, coloring the walls of the Grove Pastry Shop, the city’s oldest continuously operated commercial building.  This week, the much-anticipated project, spearheaded by community activist Helen Ofield of The Lemon Grove Historical Society, will come to an end as the last panel picturing modern-day Lemon Grove — complete with portraits of some of the city’s most recognizable residents — is hoisted into place.

“It’s happening!”  Ofield wrote in an email. “At last, we are installing the fifth and final section of the’ Lemon Grove History Mural.’”

Katy Strzelecki is the artist behind the people and animals in the mural and Janne LaValle has created the landscapes and buildings. A knee injury suffered by Strzelecki and other unforeseen setbacks have delayed the project since its inception, according to Ofield, but on Wednesday morning the 65-foot-wide by 18-foot-high mural officially enters the homestretch.

You’re reading the Culture Report, Voice of San Diego’s weekly collection of the region’s cultural news.

Pay to play or just good marketing?

In an epic 150-comment-long Facebook thread in a San Diego artists Facebook group, local artists, arts writers (me included) and art critics discussed the value of art exhibitions and other opportunities requiring entry fees.  Some, like artist Dia Bassett, say fees take advantage of artists. Bassett argued that artists should never have to pay to show their work since making art is already a big investment.

“I don’t consider any of my participation in art events or exhibitions freebies,” Bassett wrote. “Ask any artist and they could tell you it costs the artist money to participate in shows without any fees. It’s like payola, how does it create genuine interest in the artist? This business model only benefits the hosts or gallery owners.”

Others disagreed, likening some opportunities requiring entry fees to good advertising or marketing for artists looking to increase exposure.  Shoot me an email and let me know what you think.

Geeks and Nerds Abound

• It’s official, New York Comic-Con is bigger than the famed Comic-Con International held in our neck of the woods. The New York Post reports that the unaffiliated event to the east surpassed its West Coast cousin in terms of attendance this year.

• A few hundred hardcore fans attended Conjecture and ConCord, the intimate, annual sci-fi and fantasy convention and music festival held at the Town & Country Hotel in Mission Valley last weekend. (U-T)

• Geek flags were flying high at the “Science on the Rocks” event at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center last Thursday.

“What brought me here was an email from the San Diego Science Alliance where I volunteer, and I thought, ‘This looks like an incredible opportunity to be a giant nerd while I drink beer and eat chocolate,’” one attendee told the U-T.

Art Expanding

• A Reason to Survive (ARTS), a nonprofit providing social services and art programming to local at-risk youth, left their location at NTC at Liberty Station in Point Loma for a new, much larger home in National City. (CityBeat) ARTS executive director, Matt D’Arrigo, talked with the U-T about the organization’s modest roots and the lasting effects of last year’s big Oscar win by a short documentary film featuring one of their students.

• The new Central Library is home to approximately 150 artworks from the city of San Diego’s civic art collection. KPBS surveys the makeshift art gallery.

• The San Diego Museum of Art is set to open their new exhibition examining women, work and war. (KPBS)

• An exhibition of Frida Kahlo knockoffs is now on view at Liberty Station. The replicas are paired with jewelry, clothing and other objects that totally immerse viewers in the full life and times of the well-known Mexican painter. (Los Angeles Times)

Eating Greens

• San Diego Unified School District has a new weapon in its arsenal for getting students to eat their fruits and vegetables. VOSD introduces us to Mary Tyranski, a  FoodCorps foot soldier whose mission is to get kids to adopt healthy-eating habits.

• Drones aren’t only for evil. A local drone manufacturer thinks the unmanned aircrafts have a future in food. (San Diego Source)

• A local catering company is heading to Russia to feed folks at the Winter Olympics. (KPBS)

• A food fight is raging in the comments section of a post on Eater asking locals to voice their opinion about San Diego’s most overrated restaurants.

• This week’s Baja California Culinary Fest is a great opportunity to get to know the region’s emerging craft-beer scene. (U-T)

• A new brewhouse is one of the new businesses helping to reinvigorate downtown Escondido. (U-T)

• Two local food experts are judges on the new Food Network show,  “Guy’s Grocery Games.”

 Musical musings

• Top honors at last week’s San Diego Music Awards went to trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, which marked the first time in the nearly quarter-century history of the annual music awards program that a jazz performer was voted Artist of the Year. (U-T)

• The San Diego Symphony will soon tour overseas for the first time, reports KPBS. They will also make their debut on the prestigious stage of Carnegie Hall.  Lang Lang, one of the world’s top classical pianists, will join the symphony for that performance, thanks to some personal connections. (U-T)

• San Diego’s most stylish bands include (fittingly) The Styletones, The Silent Comedy and longtime musical icon Gregory Page. (SoundDiego)

Staged Happenings

• Coronado’s Lamb Players Theatre will add yet another venue to their list as they stage an encore presentation of the the hit musical, “Fiddler on the Roof.” (U-T)

• Oceanside Theatre Company presents the world premiere of a Holocaust-centered play written by playwright Aimee Greenberg. (U-T)

• San Diegans will finally have the chance to see Arthur Miller’s “Broken Glass.” (U-T)

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Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture Report. She also managed VOSD’s podcasts and covered...

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