Chollas Creek is notorious for being one of the ugliest, most polluted waterways in the region.

The job of cleaning and prettying up the creek, which starts in La Mesa and Lemon Grove and runs through neighborhoods in southeastern San Diego before emptying into the San Diego Bay, has largely fallen onto nonprofits like Groundwork San Diego Chollas Creek and the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.

The Jacobs Center, which works to improve the Diamond neighborhoods of southeastern San Diego and has its campus located near Chollas Creek in Lincoln Park, is in the midst of a construction project that will restore the portion of the creek running through its property. Part of the restoration plan includes activating and enlivening Chollas Creek with public art.

“We want to improve the aesthetics of the creek,” said Angela Titus, executive vice president at the Jacobs Center. “The intention is really to create a better community overall.”

Titus said ultimately they’re working to build an urban linear park along the creek on Jacobs Center property that will be open to the public. The artwork will be an important part of the park, she said.

The Jacobs Center put out a request for proposals for designs of site-specific “gateway-style” art on Chollas Creek over the summer. Over 40 artists and teams applied, Titus said, and a few weeks ago a selection panel shortlisted San Diego artist Roman De Salvo; North Carolina artist team Jim Hirschfield and Sonya Ishii; and Colorado artist Madeline Wiener.

A $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will help fund all three artists and teams to come up with a conceptual design. The artists will be doing a site visit and meeting with the community for input on the designs in January and Titus expects to finalize a design as soon as February.

Current funding will only pay for the designs of the artwork, Titus said. The Jacobs Center is actively pursuing other grants and opportunities to fund the actual cost of construction.

“I think once all of these project come to fruition it’s really going to transform the way the community looks at Chollas Creek,” she said. “We’re excited. It’s all real now so every day we can look out from our offices and we actually see the restoration of the creek itself moving along in stages.”

• The Jacobs Center is also in the middle of refreshing its “Community Faces” murals mounted on the  Food 4 Less on Euclid. The center has partnered with nonprofit arts group the AjA Project, and local students who live in the Diamond District neighborhoods in southeastern San Diego will be creating new images that’ll go up on the grocery store in early 2016.

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

Mingei Makeover, a New Mural Museum and Other Culture News

• The Mingei International Museum is embarking on a $15 million renovation with San Diego architecture firm Luce et Studio. (U-T)

• Get to know more about the Art Miles mural project and the new brick-and-mortar mural gallery the couple behind the project just opened in Oceanside. (U-T)

Photo courtesy of Muramid Museum & Art Center
Photo courtesy of Muramid Museum & Art Center

• San Diego Magazine’s Troy Johnson introduces San Diegans to Kindred, the new South Park vegan restaurant in South Park I mentioned last week, where death metal is in heavy rotation.

• NPR profiled Linda Sheridan and her Graffiti Education and Mural Arts  juvenile probation diversion program that I wrote about a few months ago.

• Specialized Snoopy California license plates are expected to raise about $10 million for museums. (U-T)

• Art San Diego released numbers from its annual art fair in Balboa Park. Organizers also announced that they’ll be putting on a new fair in Coachella Valley next year.

• Still struggling to find the right gifts for everyone on your list? San Diego Magazine’s gift guide is handy.

• Parrotheads rejoice: La Jolla Playhouse has plans to bring a Jimmy Buffet musical to the stage in 2017. (U-T)

• The Lot in La Jolla continues to get praise from foodies and film folks (the new spot is a mash-up of both movies and meals). (U-T)

• In case you haven’t seen enough on your social media feeds, the U-T went ahead and rounded up readers’ photos of kids freaked out by being forced to sit on Santa’s lap.

• A local designer wants dog fashion to be a part of next year’s Fashion Week San Diego event. (Kickstarter)

San Diego artist Miki Iwasaki was commissioned by the city of West Hollywood to create a piece of temporary public art. His piece is themed on water and the environment. (Wehoville)

• Remember that Carlsbad bookstore that almost had to close because of code issues? The place is still going strong and, recently, an anonymous person donated a bunch of books to the store but wrapped them in brown paper first and wrote, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” on each one. (Instagram)

• A few local chefs really don’t like Donald Trump. A Trump piñata was the centerpiece of an industry party at a Pacific Beach restaurant last week. (Facebook)

• The U-T’s James Chute profiles Cristina Della Coletta, UCSD’s new dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities.

• The San Diego Zoo’s ready to celebrate its centennial next year and a few Balboa Park institutions will take part by staging zoo-related exhibitions. (U-T)

• CityBeat published its New Year’s Eve guide this week so you planning types can figure out how to properly say goodbye to 2015.

Get Cultured: Things to Do in San Diego This Week

• Malashock Dance, San Diego Ballet and San Diego Dance Theater present the ninth annual Free Day of Dance event, which means ya’ll can partake in free dance classes in Liberty Station on Saturday.

• Tuesday night, skateboards become canvases in Thumbprint Gallery’s annual “Deck the Walls” art show at Basic Urban Kitchen + Bar.

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

• The Nest, an art gallery in Barrio Logan, is closing at the end of the year. The last show is Saturday and it’ll feature works by painter Jorge Mendoza.

• Trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos presents a Billie Holiday tribute show in Little Italy Saturday night.

• San Diego’s most famous Christmas Eve live music tradition, Exile on Kettner, continues this year at The Casbah.

• Carlsbad’s New Village Arts presents Walton Jones’ holiday-themed “The 1940’s Radio Hour” through Dec. 31.

• Hang with other visual artists at the Drawing Social event Tuesday night.

• There’s a holiday party happening in one of Tijuana’s famous artsy alleyways Wednesday night.

Hear Iranian music by the local group Dornob Collective this Saturday.

• Rising Arts Leaders will meet up next Tuesday night at Tiger! Tiger!

Kids Corner

• Petco Park will be transformed into a winter wonderland geared toward families for a few more days.

• Been avoiding Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the rest of  “The Nutcracker” crew? The San Diego Ballet’s got you covered.

Kinsee Morlan is engagement editor at Voice of San Diego. Email her at Want to recommend this culture newsletter to someone? Share this sign-up link.

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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