City dwellers looking for respite often make their way to the waterfront. The end of a pier in downtown San Diego can offer a few quieter, calmer moments – a quick escape from the bustling city.
Adam Belt is playing up those restful waterfront moments with his new public art piece opening this week. The artist is building a temporary pop-up installation at the end of Broadway Pier called “Sojourner.” The artwork was commissioned by the Port of San Diego through its public art program.
“It will be a meditative place,” Belt said. “I’ve kind of taken this experience of a visual element of the water rippling and I extracted it and then made it more of a poignant moment.”
Inside the space will be a small reflecting pool surrounded by walls of mirrors. A light will shine onto the water, and people who walk into the installation will see the reflection of rippling water picked up in the mirrors, making it look like the ripples expand infinitely.
Artist Yayoi Kusama’s famed mirror-room installations might come to mind, but a more apt comparison is Belt’s own past installations. For instance, one of his pieces, which is currently part of the traveling “Wonderspaces” pop-up exhibition that was staged last year in Mission Valley, is an immersive dark room that uses hundreds of tiny rays of light to allow visitors to explore the connections between the cosmos and spirituality.
Belt is becoming known for building art that reflects the beauty of the natural world and pushes viewers to think about how experiencing quietness while surrounded by beauty makes them feel.
“I think as we’re growing more and more secularized, people are looking for these – religious experience is probably taking it too far – but these kind of moments where they’re experiencing the other, and I think more and more people are looking toward art for that.”
“Sojourner” will be on exhibit on Broadway Pier from April 13-29. The Port is hosting two special events at the installation from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. April 19 and April 26. Attendees can meet Belt, hear music by violinist Kristopher Apple and participate in a free yoga class.
Belt’s piece is just one way the Port’s public art program is headed in a new direction. For years, the Port was known for its more traditional sculptures along the waterfront. Now the agency, which oversees San Diego’s waterfront, is taking a more contemporary approach and commissioning artists to respond to specific bay-front sites and make art that helps people connect to the region’s waterfront.
“These type of public art pieces don’t always work, but a lot of times they do and magic happens and all of a sudden you’ve got something exciting,” he said.
You’re reading the Culture Report, Voice of San Diego’s weekly collection of the region’s cultural news.
Beer Talk: Rising From the Ashes of Alpine
The craft beer world mourned the news last week that Green Flash Brewing Company and Alpine Beer Company had been sold to a venture capital firm after Green Flash couldn’t make payments on a $20 million loan.
Pat McIlhenney, co-founder of Alpine Beer Company who sold it to Green Flash in 2014, made some news on this week’s episode of San Diego Beer Talk Radio.
Last month, when Green Flash announced it was closing an East Coast facility that got it into financial trouble, McIlhenney said he offered to step in and help improve the company’s reputation as it restructured.
“I said, ‘Green Flash has lost so much credibility, it needs an image refresh, it needs something to infuse a better public image, and I am offering my name and abilities to walk into the brewhouse and touch every recipe, and make every change necessary, to make every beer relevant, and tasty and superior again,’” he said. “And I never heard another word from anyone. I offered them a way out, to save something.”
Beer fans are now concerned the company that owns what remains of Green Flash and Alpine is going to sell them to a larger company like Anheuser-Busch InBev.
“As a matter of fact, that is a possibility,” McIllhenney said. “And there’s indicators that, why wouldn’t it be considered, considering the people involved? It all kind of depends on what they bought the assets from the bank for.”
There was one piece of good news. McIllhenney said he had never signed a non-compete agreement or anything like it when he sold Alpine.
In other words, he could start another brewery some day.
— Andrew Keatts
Plays by Prisoners, Secrets at the Museum of Man and More Arts and Culture News
• The San Diego Symphony announced its new season, and the Union-Tribune’s music critic says it’s got a lot of musical flavors.
• Students at Mesa College curated “Art That Cuts,” an ambitious exhibition featuring 30 artists from Southern California and Tijuana. The show opens Thursday.
• Through good behavior, inmates at Donovan Correctional Facility can earn the right to be in a new section of the prison that allows them to talk to counselors, attend classes and more. The San Diego arts nonprofit Playwrights Project offers one of the classes in the new yard, and this week plays written by the inmates there will be presented at SDSU. (Union-Tribune)
• The Women’s Film Festival San Diego is happening this week.
• The PGK Dance Project is putting on a free dance performance Wednesday at Horton Plaza Park.
• This year’s Live Arts Fest featuring experimental dance is happening April 13-22 at Liberty Station Arts District.
• Barrio Logan is jam-packed with art this weekend. Check out this, this, this and this.
• San Diego’s Transgender Day of Empowerment is Friday, April 13.
• Here are some details about the giant rabbit sculptures that have been hopping around the Gaslamp over the past several months.
• UC San Diego’s two-year series of exhibitions marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the university’s visual arts department continues this week with a new show featuring alumni artists who’ve made an impact on the art world.
• The Museum of Man’s big “PostSecret” exhibition is open. Folks can explore thousands of real secrets from people from across the world.
• San Diego artist and illustrator Susie Ghahremani, whose brand is called boygirlparty, made news two years ago when she sued a company she said was ripping off her work and the work of other artists. She posted an update on the lawsuit on Instagram this week.
• Two San Diego professors have been awarded the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship grants. (Times of San Diego)
• This North Park bookstore wants you to help it make a poetry book.
• Artist and activists are planning on hosting a protest picnic near the border wall prototypes in Otay Mesa.
• Arts education can make people’s lives better. (CityBeat)
• Space 4 Art is still plugging along toward building its new, permanent home in Sherman Heights, but in the meantime folks are invited to explore the innovative art space’s interim home.
• Quartyard, the pop-up park in the East Villlage that had to move to a new location, is reopening Friday and throwing a big party to celebrate the occasion.
• Family-friendly arts event alert (there are not nearly enough arts events in town that cater to kids).
Food, Cannabis, Beer and Booze News
• San Diego rapper MC Flow talked with VOSD’s Jesse Marx and me about her new album, which is all about legal weed. She discusses the complexity of consuming cannabis while raising a child, explains how weed helps her creative process and more. Listen to the interview in a new episode of the Potcast, Voice of San Diego’s podcast covering cannabis culture and policy.
• San Diego CityBeat is out with its annual Beer Issue. Don’t miss Ryan Bradford’s ode to 40 oz. bottles of beer.
• An interactive avocado experience is coming to San Diego. I’m not kidding. Tickets went on sale this week. (Delish)
• Eat your way through Hillcrest Saturday.
• Join a casual choir that loves craft beer.
• San Diego Magazine rounded up five of San Diego’s best burgers.
Kinsee Morlan is engagement editor at Voice of San Diego. Email her at email@example.com with arts and culture news and tips. Want to recommend this culture newsletter to someone? Share this sign-up link. Subscribe to the San Diego Culturecast podcast.