A group of students and teachers at San Diego State University’s Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education gave Dave Ghilarducci a list of three mathematical equations that, when plotted, make interesting three-dimensional shapes.

Ghilarducci, an artist and electrical engineer known for his electro-mechanical sculptures, was then tasked with bringing the shapes to life. He decided to use nothing but packing tape and scaffolding.

The result is “Taping Shape,” a large installation opening at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center on Saturday that kids and adults are invited to crawl through.

I previewed the piece last week and Ghilarducci walked me through the mathematical concepts he’s realized with his ambitious Scotch tape sculpture.

“We’ve got a torus here,” he said. “Then it opens into this big cathedral-like area, which is called a Schwarz’ P Surface. And the final construct we have is what we call – and I’m not making this up – a pair of pants.”

The whole installation will be lit with LED lights that fade from one color to another.

Ghilarducci, who kept his engineering side separate from his art for years before blending the two, hopes folks who experience the piece will see the value of STEAM educational programs that bring together science, technology, art and math.

“I personally found a lot of happiness when I stopped dividing art and engineering,” he said. “I’d do my art at night and I’d do my engineering during the day. It was really my wife who finally said, ‘Really? You know you could do both.’”

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

The State of Arts Reporting in San Diego

If you didn’t make it to the San Diego Regional Arts & Culture Coalition‘s meeting last week, you missed me and other arts reporters on a panel discussing the state of culture reporting in our city. Reporters and editors from the San Diego Union-Tribune, KPBS, Times of San Diego, San Diego CityBeat and San Diego Story were there. Lots of movers and shakers from the arts world were there, too. Check out this crowd shot I snapped from my seat:


The jaw-dropping moment for me happened when the U-T’s Michael James Rocha put a number behind the trend I’ve been witnessing over the last decade – almost all of my friends who once covered the same beat have moved on to other things. The number of U-T staffers covering arts, culture and entertainment, Rocha said, has gone from about 80 to just four. Four.

He also said the paper would not be officially replacing longtime visual art and music critic James Chute, who retired at the end of last year.

“It was a position I lobbied for, but didn’t succeed,” Rocha said in a follow-up email after the panel. “The visual arts and classical music beats will be covered by a mix of in-house staffers and freelancers. I started out as a reporter many eons ago, so I’m back at it, while keeping my editing duties.”

Airport Art Gets National Attention and Other San Diego Arts and Culture News

The San Diego International Airport officially opened the new Rental Car Center last Wednesday. The prominent public art inside and outside the new facility caught the eye of USA Today.

Have you seen the new public art? Would it be fair to say the airport’s giving the city of San Diego and the Port of San Diego a run for their money when it comes to its public art program? Tell me what you think.

Photo by Pablo Mason
Photo by Pablo Mason

• Well-known restaurateur Ingrid Croce is closing Croce’s Park West. She gave San Diego Eater the news and also slipped in a history lesson while blaming the “piracy and devaluation of music.”

• What happens when parents encourage their children to embrace their artistic skills? Local musician Pall Jenkins and his mom, visual artist Anna Zappoli, share their story of being each other’s biggest fans and supporters. (CityBeat)

• The Lux Art Institute’s current resident artist Sophia Narrett cites “The Bachelor” as one of the pop-culture sources that influences her work. She embroiders scenes from the reality show into detailed compositions that look like paintings made of thread. (U-T)

• If you don’t already know the work of longtime San Diego underground comic artist Mary Fleener, it’s time you got to know it. Her work’s showing at the Encinitas Library. (Encinitas Advocate)

• San Marcos’ Restaurant Row is getting revamped. (U-T)

• The Reader’s Ian Anderson has some big beer news. Thorn St. Brewery is branching out to Barrio Logan and Pure Project’s tasting room in Miramar opens this week.

 Broadway San Diego is going big for its just-announced 40th season. “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Rent” and “Jersey Boys” are included in the lineup (fun fact: Hedwig and I have the same tattoo). (KPBS)

• Move over, Adams Avenue Antique Row, La Mesa Village is more deserving of the cutesy moniker these days. (La Mesa Courier)

Via an email newsletter, the Timken Museum of Art announced that retired San Diego businessman Jessie J. Knight Jr. is the new board president. While the free Balboa Park museum hired a general manager last year, the board has played a more active role in running the institution since losing former director John Wilson in 2014 and hiring a part-time “visiting” director David Bull, who lives in New York, to run the show. I’ve asked who’s handling the curatorial side of things now that Bull’s time is up but haven’t heard anything yet.

• This local musician makes guitars out of old cigar boxes. (YouTube)

• The U-T’s Pam Kragen calls Cygnet Theatre’s “When the Rain Stops Falling” “well-cast” and “mesmerizing.”

•  San Dieguito Art Guild members are currently showing paintings and photos at the Ecke Building at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas. (Encinitas Advocate)

• Businesses can now advertise that they’re open-minded about gay rights and equality thanks to this local graphic designer. (CityBeat)

• This year’s ArtWalk featured artists were announced last week. (San Diego Dining Dish)

• The San Diego History Center is in the middle of installing its new exhibition focused on the San Diego Zoo’s centennial. The show opens in February, but this huge orangutan by artist Brian A. Gibson is already hanging from the center’s ceiling. (YouTube)

Get Cultured: Things to Do in San Diego This Week

• William Shatner is headed for San Diego. He’s a performance artist to be sure.

• The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, or MCASD, is opening exhibitions featuring works by Ed Ruscha and Álvaro Blancarte.

• The Upright & Grand San Diego Symphony Piano Festival continues.

• It’s your last chance to see Shinpei Takeda’s installation at the New American Museum in Liberty Station. This mini documentary offers some insight into Takeda’s piece. CityBeat’s Seth Combs recently reviewed the show.

Photo courtesy of the New Americans Museum
Photo courtesy of the New Americans Museum

 In case you missed all the Shen Yun billboards and posters around town, the classical Chinese dance company is headed to Escondido this week.

The chance to see plays written by young writers doesn’t come up very often.

• Kensington Video closed. Then it opened again. Now the old-school video store is celebrating its grand opening.

• Photographer John Sevigny is giving a talk in La Jolla.

• Leslie and Paul Wilton’s sculptures made of recycled materials are showing at the  Carlsbad Sculpture Garden. The show’s reception is Thursday.

• Get to know Tijuana’s emerging craft brewery scene. Or explore its taco, torta and mezcal offerings.

• Kaori Fukuyama’s showing her work at the Pacific Beach library. The reception for the show is Saturday.

• Kota Yamazaki / Fluid Hug-Hug Dance Company blends butoh, hip-hop, Jamaican dance and other styles. ArtPower’s bringing the group to UCSD Friday.

• CULTURUNNERS is a cultural exchange initiative that’s launching a new tour with a border-themed exhibition at Low Gallery in Barrio Logan, featuring work by international artists including Ahmed Mater, Jenine Sharabi and Faisal Samra.

 Comedians will converge in our city for the annual San Diego Comedy Festival happening this week.

See works by Kathy Nida and James E. Watts in the “Contemporary Crafts” show opening at Grossmont College Hyde Art Gallery.

• New Zealand’s The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra will play at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido next Tuesday.

Local author and former law enforcement officer Neal Griffin will talk about and sign his latest crime thriller.

• Discuss the future of the East Village Thursday morning.

• Storytelling nonprofit So Say We All will be sharing tales themed on the topic of “facing the music” or finally coming to terms with the truth.

• The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center has all kinds of new exhibitions: “The Art of Science Learning,” “Zoo in You,” “Taping Shape” and “Super Cells.”

• Local choreographer Peter Kalivas is a colorful character. It’s no surprise that someone finally made a movie about him.

Artist Steve Valk, the director of the Institute of Social Choreography in Frankfurt Germany, will give a free talk at UCSD Wednesday.

Finger-style guitarists and harp-guitarists Muriel Anderson will perform at the Museum of Making Music.

I officially feel old. I remember well when La Mezcalera, an artsy bar serving mezcal, first opened in Tijuana. Now it’s turning 7.

• The San Diego Black Film Festival is happening this week.

• Nathan Gulick’s solo exhibition, “Finest City,” opens from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday.

• Mirta Zaliauskas’s work focuses on the sensual Tango dance. See it and her Saturday at Alexander Salazar Fine Art.

• An entire show of black-and-white photography is being mounted at La Bodega Gallery in Barrio Logan.

• Four local artists are featured in The Studio Door’s latest show.

The San Diego Fermentation Festival is a thing and it’s happening this week.

• The Greater San Diego Chamber Orchestra celebrates its fifth anniversary with a one-hour concert.

• Get to know more about San Diego’s refugee population, compliments of the Women’s Museum of California.

• Don Porcella’s got a solo show on view in Lemon Grove right now. There’s a reception for it this week.

Kids Corner

• The Carlsbad Winter Festival is a family-friendly affair. There’ll be ice skating, bounce houses and more.

The Kroc offers a free Family Arts & Literacy Night series to introduce kids to arts and culture entertainment. They also give everyone who shows up a book. There’s one happening Thursday night.

Last chance to catch J*Company Youth Theatre’s “Seussical, Jr.”

Kinsee Morlan is engagement editor at Voice of San Diego. Email her at kinsee@vosd.org. 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...

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.