Artist Lisa Jetonne was given free rein to explore the San Diego Natural History Museum‘s five floors of exhibitions and vast behind-the-scenes collections.

Her mission: Come up with art projects that help create connections between visitors and the museum’s scientific research, collections and history.

Jetonne is the first artist in residence at The Nat. She started in September and will be working in the museum through mid-December. Folks can find her in the museum working on the first of four participatory art projects that invite visitors to help create art for the museum’s collection.

Lisa Jetonne kicks off the San Diego Natural History Museum's new artist-in-residency program
Photo by Kinsee Morlan

“My goal is to illuminate the connection between art and science,” said Jetonne.

Her first project invites people to sculpt specimens out of clay. Visitors pick a number that correlates to a tag, which includes an open-ended prompt – something like “A fruit many San Diego animals rely on for food” or “An animal we think of as being a good mother.” Visitors then mold small sculptures, which are added to the many drawers in Jetonne’s mobile artist cart and will eventually be fired in a kiln and added to the museum’s collection.

Jetonne said she doesn’t try to hit participants over the head with information about how what they’re doing relates to science and the museum, but she says she often talks to people about the ideas of inquiry, observation and trial and error – all things integral to both art and science.

Robert Rutherford, the audience engagement manager at The Nat, said Jetonne is helping pave the way for the rest of the artists who’ll have residences at the museum by showing how art can be used as a new lens for visitors to view science and history.

“She wants to involve the visitors, and she’s curious about asking them questions about what they collect or what they find interesting, ” Rutherford said. “It’s all about engaging with the visitors in interesting ways.”

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

San Diego’s Tastiest Tacos

VOSD’s Sara Libby interviewed Ralph Rubio for the latest “I Made it in San Diego” podcast episode. The founder of Rubio’s Coastal Grill talked about how he crafted the chain’s fish taco, and how those tacos helped fuel the growth of his business.

Rubio's fish tacos
Photo by Kinsee Morlan

Libby also used her weekly VOSD column to list her favorite San Diego tacos, including the surf and turf taco at Oscars Mexican Seafood and the spicy shrimp at The Taco Stand.

I’m not as much as a taco expert as Libby, but I have to add the Atun Fresco Taco at City Tacos and the Big-Eye Tuna Tacos at Kettner Exchange to the list of tasty tacos y’all should try. I’ve got a thing for raw tuna tacos, but I’m open to foodsploring, so if you have a hook on a local must-try taco, shoot me an email.

A Big Border Picnic, New Opera Season and More Arts and Culture News

• French artist JR hosted a binational picnic in Tecate over the weekend, creating a temporary “Giant Picnic” installation. JR is the artist behind the large-scale image of the little boy peering over the border fence in Tecate. (Hypebeast)

The San Diego Opera kicks off its new season with “Pirates of Penzance,” an operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan. This year marks the first season fully programmed by David Bennett, who joined the company as general director in June 2015 after the opera nearly folded. (Union-Tribune)

The city of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture selected Nate Page to create a permanent public artwork for Cañon Street Park, a new park in Point Loma. Meet with Page Saturday to talk about what you’d like to see in the park.

• KPBS talked to San Diego businessman Dennis Stein about about his new documentary on homelessness in San Diego, “Tony the Movie.”

• Here’s a Q-and-A with Kaori Fukuyama, one of the artists who recently lost studio space when the city shut down The Glashaus in Barrio Logan due to fire and safety concerns. (Union-Tribune)

• Open Studios San Diego is a self-guided tour of artists’ studios throughout the region. It’s happening this weekend.

• Globe for All, The Old Globe’s program that takes Shakespeare on the road to a variety of nontraditional venues around the county is under way. The U-T profiles Globe for All actress Jennifer Paredes, who’s playing Viola in William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.”

• Ry Beloin is the new artist in residence at 1805 Gallery in Little Italy.

• The San Diego International Airport, which has a robust arts program, is putting together a new arts master plan that will guide its programming and public art in the future.

UC San Diego is exploring its Visual Arts Department’s early history in an exhibition opening this week.

South Park artist Mark Bryce has a solo exhibition showing at the Tijuana Cultural Center. (Union-Tribune)

• Alessandra Moctezuma curated a new exhibition focused on border issues that’s showing at the Oceanside Museum of Art as part of the regional “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA” initiative exploring Latin American art and artists. KPBS talked to Moctezuma and one of the artists in the show.

• Learn more about sukkahs, temporary structures that are important to Jewish culture, at a film screening, artist talk and exhibition on Wednesday.

• Next Tuesday, the North County Arts Network is hosting an Arts and Economic Summit to discuss how arts and culture boost economic activity and drive tourism.

• Renowned artist Basil Twist will be giving a talk in City Heights Sunday.

• Here’s a good rundown of the events happening as part of Archotoberfest, the annual celebration and exploration of the region’s built environment. (Union-Tribune)

• ArtPower at UC San Diego kicks off its new season Friday with a performance by Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble.

The annual Festival of German Film is back.

• The Museum of Photographic Arts is holding its annual photo auction Saturday.

• Three artists are exploring sensuality in a new exhibition in Barrio Logan.

Beer, Booze and Food News

•  The Dojo Café, whose owners call it “a safe place for residents of City Heights, especially millennials and minorities,” is celebrating its grand opening Saturday. The new cafe is housed in a solar-powered vintage trailer.

Photo courtesy of Dojo Cafe
Photo courtesy of Dojo Cafe

A new Cuban restaurant in the Gaslamp is channeling Hemingway-era Havana. (Eater)

• You’ve already missed some of the region’s biggest Oktoberfest celebrations, but here’s another chance to drink beer and wear your lederhosen without shame. (SanDiegoVille)

• San Diego beer companies landed 14 of the 293 medals awarded at this year’s Great American Beer festival. (Reader)

• Here’s a roundup of new eateries that incorporate a number into their name. Because who needs useful parameters for food-related listicles anyway? (Union-Tribune)

• Taste North Park on Saturday.

• Is San Diego’s craft beer scene finally and officially oversaturated? (CityBeat)

Kinsee Morlan is engagement editor at Voice of San Diego. Email her at with arts and culture news and tips. 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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