Janet Tucker isn’t completely blind, but what little she does see is blurry.

On the bottom floor of the Blind Community Center of San Diego on the outskirts of Balboa Park, Tucker and about a half dozen other people with impaired vision have been working with local contemporary artists Aren Skalman, Francisco Eme and Margaret Noble to create art for an exhibition opening Saturday at the San Diego Art Institute Project Space at Horton Plaza.

“I had to mostly just feel the textures as I was making my piece,” Tucker said during a workshop a few months ago.

The lizard sculpture Tucker created is also a musical instrument. All the sculptures in the show produce sound and are made of materials with different textures – including beans, sandpaper and clay.

Photo by Aren Skalman

The goal, said Skalman, was to provide participants with contemporary art training while also making work people can explore through senses other than sight.

“It’s a way for people to experience the art and approach it in a way that a blind person might,” he said. “So they’ll be feeling and hearing the work.”

The show, funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, will be staged in a way that forces people to use their hands and ears.

Eme also worked with the blind artists to create “sound postcards,” or audio interviews that ask people to think about sounds and memories associated with them. In one, a man brings up the roaring sound of a Harley Davidson and reminisces about his days riding motorcycles before he lost his vision.

“I just remember being able to go wherever I wanted to go, anytime. I’d just jump on, start it up and go,” he said. “And then I started losing sight, so that was the end of that.”

The “Feel the Noise” exhibition will be on view at Horton Plaza through July 22.

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Empowering Paradise Hills With Coffee and Community

A new coffee shop on Reo Drive in Paradise Hills is serving more than just coffee.

Photo courtesy of Enrique Lugo

Project Reo Collective is envisioned as a community gathering space, and the five families behind it have already organized movie nights, clean-ups, mural paintings and other events meant to galvanize their neighbors to revitalize Paradise Hills, a neighborhood in southeastern San Diego.

Enrique Lugo, who’s known as “Chikle” when he’s making his art, is one of the people behind the effort. He said he was tired of adding to a wish list of things he wanted to see happening in his  neighborhood, so he and his partners did something about it.

“Through all the organizing we have done in the past year, we kept hearing people talk about coffee and why we didn’t have a shop in our neighborhood,” Lugo wrote in an email. “So we saw it as a need. … We also wanted to make sure this was a business owned by our own community rather than have someone from the outside come in and capitalize on all of our positive momentum.”

The coffee shop opened June 24, and is already making waves. Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman have stopped by, and more community events are being organized.

The Sandman’s Strange Homecoming, Art’s Economic Impact and Other Arts and Culture News

• A new court ruling will allow a part-time Coronado resident and his sister to sue a Spanish museum to get back a Camille Pissarro painting that the Nazis looted from their Jewish ancestor. (Union-Tribune)

• Alberto Avila, or “Sandman” as he’s better known, has been a fixture in Coronado. The artist, who uses sand to create designs on streets and sidewalks, was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and has been in hospice in his home state of Texas, but Coronado residents raised money to bring him back for the Fourth of July. The Sandman, though, was not welcomed home by the Coronado Police Department, which cited him for drawing on the street. (NBC 7)

• It sounds like the Port of San Diego’s fundraising campaign for a public art project that would light up the San Diego-Coronado Bridge is going well. (Union-Tribune)

• The city’s Commission for Arts and Culture released its annual report on the economic and social impact of the many local arts groups that get city funding. In fiscal year 2016, 89 arts and culture nonprofits received $8.6 million from the city, which resulted in over 5 million free and ticketed arts and culture events, according to the report. The commission also announced the award of $11.8 million to 133 nonprofit arts and culture contractors for fiscal year 2018.

• There’s a new indie publishing company in town.

• So, who didn’t go to the Frida Kahlo art show at La Bodega gallery in Barrio Logan over the weekend? The venue is still capping its capacity while it works on making some fire safety upgrades, which meant the hundreds of people stood in a line that stretched down the block. No one seemed to mind waiting, and the folks behind La Bodega were stoked to see such a stellar turnout.

Photo by Kinsee Morlan

• Speaking of Barrio Logan, there are all kinds of new art studios and shops opening up on Logan Avenue. The Grand Artique is now there, and so are a smattering of small art studios at the corner of Sampson and Logan.

• Community members who live in southeastern San Diego are working to improve the so-called “Four Corners of Death” at Euclid and Imperial avenues. The community had come close in the past to getting a piece of public art installed at the intersection, but the proposal didn’t meet city standards.

• Tijuana artist Charles Glaubitz has a solo show opening at Athenaeum Art Center.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget includes a $6.8 million permanent increase in funding for the California Arts Council.

• San Diego Pro Arte Voices announced its new season.

• Both the California poet laureate and the U.S. poet laureate will be in San Diego this week.

The Women’s Museum of California opened a new exhibit honoring women in the military. (Union-Tribune)

The women-centered Moxie Theatre has a new leader. (Union-Tribune)

• Comic-Con is coming. (KPBS)

• This multimedia exhibition opening in San Ysidro looks interesting.

• San Diego Pride is this week.

• The works of late Escondido photographer Major Morris will be shown at Skyline Hills Library. (Times-Advocate)

Local paper-cutting artist Bhavna Mehta is in residence at Art Produce Gallery in North Park for the next few months.

• The Fleet Science Center’s new video game exhibition “features more than 100 video and arcade games. All of them are playable, and most of them have helpful cheat-sheet instructions posted nearby. You don’t need experience to play, and you won’t need tokens, either.” (Union-Tribune)

• The Timken Museum of Art has a new app.

• I’ve been told that the Palabra poetry and spoken-word event at La Bodega in Barrio Logan is awesome, so put it on your radar.

• The  exhibition showing at Bread & Salt in Logan Heights is cool. Here’s a picture of my youngest son enjoying one of the installations:

Photo by Kinsee Morlan

Food, Beer and Booze News

• Modern Times is now 3o percent employee-owned.

• The San Diego Tourism Authority has teamed up with Bay City Brewing Co. to create the city’s first-ever “official craft beer.” No word yet on how the more than 100 other craft brewers in the city feel about this. (10News)

• Del Mar’s first craft brewery is about to open.

Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone about this new speakeasy in Carlsbad. (Union-Tribune)

• La Mesa is getting super cool and culinary. (Union-Tribune)

• The new Impeachmint cocktail at University Heights’ Madison on Park sounds tasty and sassy (get it; as in impeach President Donald Trump). (San Diego Magazine)

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

Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture...

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