Music is definitely the main attraction at KAABOO, but the visual art exhibit inside the annual festival at the Del Mar Fairgrounds has quietly grown to become a big deal, too.

“There’s nothing else like it here,” said Jason Gould, who owns an art supply shop and gallery in North Park and has rented booth space at the KAABOO art fair for the last two years. “The organizers are taking the art seriously and trying to get reputable galleries and artists into the mix, and they are really carefully curating it.”

Photo by Jason Gould
Photo by Jason Gould

The fest, which launched in 2015, has focused on gourmet food, craft beer and other amenities outside of just music – it’s the current music fest trend and what event organizers have to do if they want to stand out and survive. But KAABOO, like Coachella, has taken the art element a step beyond most music festivals that try to include art. The event includes a mix of live murals and public art installations, plus a contemporary art fair.

From Sept. 15-17, big-name visual artists like Brazilian duo Bicicleta sem Freio and Los Angeles artist Erin Yoshi will be at KAABOO alongside the likes of Weezer and Alanis Morissette. Some San Diego’s artists will be there, too: Carly Ealey, Spenser Little, Gloria Muriel, Melissa Walter, Michael Carini and others.

San Francisco muralist Amandalynn is the festival’s art director. She said this year she’s hired about 20 muralists and installation artists from around the world, and the art fair will include over 100 artists and several galleries.

“We just keep expanding every year,” Amandalynn said. “The whole event was started with the idea that the art would have as important of a platform as the music. It’s a definitely an integral part of the whole experience.”

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

New High-Tech Public Art, Women Behind the Old Globe and Other Culture News

The city attorney’s office put out a press release about The Glashaus, the arts venue that was shut down due to fire and safety concerns. That means the rest of the media finally jumped on the story I’ve been covering for weeks.

• Thirteen women who’ve contributed to the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park are being recognized in a new exhibit at the Women’s Museum of California. (Union-Tribune)

The San Diego International Airport is set to officially unveil its latest public art project Wednesday. Called “DAZZLE,” the installation on the airport’s Rental Car Center is by the artist team Ueberall International and includes more than 2,100 high-tech tiles that change from black to white to create various designs.

"Dazzle" at the San Diego International Airport
Photo by Pablo Mason

• San Diego’s art scene is notoriously hard on itself. Read the latest criticisms, complaints and a few praises here.

• Hear music by a 23-year-old San Diego musician and composer who’s quickly gaining acclaim.

• Make Good, a South Park store that sells locally made arts and crafts, is closing.

• The Union-Tribune’s James Hebert calls La Jolla Playhouse’s world premiere of “Wild Goose Dreams” an unusual and imaginative “rare and strange bird.”

• Artist Sammy Jean Wilson has a unique eye for art, which she’s using to explore black femininity. (CityBeat)

• A large installation on the border wall in Tecate, Mexico, by French artist JR is getting people’s attention. (New York Times)

This week, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is opening “Memories of Underdevelopment: Art and the Decolonial Turn in Latin America, 1960-1985,” its exhibition that’s part Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, an effort to explore art and artists from Latin America. On Sunday, folks can see the show for free.

• The city’s Commission for Arts and Culture hired Leticia Gomez Franco as an arts and culture services coordinator who will help manage the city’s public art collection, coordinate public art commissions and more. Mayor Kevin Faulconer also appointed Janet Konstantin Poutré to chair the Commission for Arts and Culture. The current chair, Larry Baza, is termed out.

• The Environmental Health Coalition nonprofit has teamed up with Councilman David Alvarez, Barrio Logan residents, local artist Alicia Maria Siu and others to paint a new mural in Chicano Park.

• A San Diego sunglasses company and a local nonprofit that works to increase access to visual arts education in San Diego County schools teamed up to raise $25,000 to support arts education programs.

• Friday is PARK(ing) Day, an annual event wherein folks across the country create pop-up parks and other installations in public spaces to draw attention to the need for more urban open space.

• Here’s how you can see five of Claude Monet’s nature paintings in Balboa Park. (KPBS)

• This guy does custom curb paintings (mostly address numbers for homeowners) that glow in the dark.

• San Diego artist Skye Walker is asking folks to help him name the goddess in his new mural outside the Star Theatre in Oceanside.

• Architect Manuel Oncina has designed several public libraries in the region. Hear him talk about his work on Saturday.

• Fashionable skater kids in San Diego made it into the New York Times thanks to the photos of John Francis Peters.

• The San Diego Foundation announced its new requirements for artists interested in its innovative Creative Catalyst Program grants.

• A new ceramics exhibition opening at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park includes the opportunity to drink coffee brewed with cinnamon in cups made from clay deposits found in Balboa Park by Canadian ceramicist Maggie Boyd.

• Young kids will dig this pirate fest at Seaport Village.

• The 20-member voice ensemble SACRA/PROFANA announced its 2017-2018 season.

• See a new feature film produced in San Diego and featuring an all-local cast at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park this week.

Beer, Booze, Weed and Food News

• The proliferation of brewery tasting rooms is hurting local bars and restaurants that sell craft beer, argues Karen Barnett, owner of Small Bar in University Heights. Barnett told San Diego Magazine that “tasting rooms are capitalizing on the culture that we’ve helped to build.”

• Speaking of tasting rooms, here’s a roundup of the newest ones to open in neighborhoods that didn’t already have one. (Reader)

• Here’s another listicle featuring kid-friendly restaurants. (There San Diego)

• The Barons Market food panel sounds like an exclusive club of which I want to be a member. (Union-Tribune)

• What it’s like when a family member goes vegan. (CityBeat)

• The Mercado del Barrio mixed-use development in Barrio Logan finally filled another of its vacant commercial spaces with – you guessed it – a new brewery.

• If you have no idea why foodie folks are so jittery with excitement over the upcoming opening of San Diego’s first Shake Shack, you can find out more about the chain at a pre-opening pop-up at Modern Times Beer’s Fortress of Ratitude space.

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...

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