San Diego’s arts scene has seen its fair share of drama. But like anyone who says they hate drama, it secretly kind of thrives on it.
Some of the fodder so far: artists calling out an arts organization with a pay-to-play model, as I wrote about in depth this week, institutions ousting their leaders (see: the San Diego Opera) and artists venting about changes to a once-thriving arts neighborhood (North Park).
That last one led to a long thread on Facebook. This year, North Park lost Low Gallery, a popular arts space in the neighborhood, when it packed up for Barrio Logan because of rising rent costs and a changing ‘hood. A number of people think North Park is starting to look more like party-heavy areas like Pacific Beach than the alternative, artsy enclave it once was.
I asked my network of artist friends what their local beef is. Here’s what they told me.
• Arts writer Kris Eitland regretted the lack of support and fair pay for arts writers:
“The Internet is a beautiful way to share ideas. But I’m tired of writing about dance and theater for free. For more than 10 years I’ve covered more dance shows than anyone in town,” Eitland said. “I win top awards and network. My colleagues and I started sandiegostory.com three years ago because we love the arts. But how can we exist and grow without ads and donations? Big and small groups share and quote our work. It rides on their websites and hangs on walls. We have a loyal following. Still nobody wants to pay.”
• Visual artist Denisse Wolf, who was name featured artist for the North Park Festival of the Arts this year, wishes there were more spaces downtown for artists to show their work. She said downtown would benefit from being more like Tijuana’s, which hosts numerous galleries and spaces and has become an arts destination in the region.
• Chris Moats of the Escondido Arts Partnership Municipal Gallery tells me the gallery lost its funding from the city of Escondido.
“They completely cut our funding four years ago and ignore our requests for even a little funding. We have been struggling ever since,” she said.
I’ll be looking into this in the coming weeks.
You’re reading the Culture Report, Voice of San Diego’s weekly collection of the region’s cultural news.
New Digs for the Roots Factory, and More Visual Art News
• Facebook tells me The Roots Factory has moved to Bread & Salt in Barrio Logan, not far from its former location and still in its beloved Barrio.
• The Artist Odyssey wants people to pay for high-quality arts documentaries. (CityBeat)
• A Ship in the Woods is continuing its efforts to curate some of the most exciting experimental art in the city, and trying to find a place to hunker down for good. Or at least for a good while. (CityBeat)
• UC San Diego may lose its art gallery and that’s a total bummer. (KPBS)
New Maestro at Mainly Mozart and More Music and Performance News
• Mainly Mozart has a new maestro and he’s mainly on a mission to make the post his own. Say that 10 times in a row. (Union-Tribune)
• Get to know the new leaders of the San Diego Opera. (Union-Tribune)
RIP to a Tijuana Legend, No to Payola and More Culture Bits
• Tijuana journalist and stalwart of the TJ music scene Octavio Hernandez passed away on May 25. (remezcla)
• Scott Kirby vs. the Payola Act, which dictated terms for fair play between record companies and radio stations. It’s on. (KPBS)
• The president of the San Diego Humane Society is doing God’s work by decoding cat language for all you cat mommies and daddies. (KPBS)
• CityBeat asks, should restaurant gratuity be dunzo? Discuss.
• Tiny houses are all the rage right now. But like, how tiny can you go? (Reader)