graffiti camp for girls
The Graffiti Camp for Girls at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

Oakland artist Nina Wright wanted to see more girls doing graffiti, so last year she hosted a week-long graffiti camp for girls.

It was meant to be a one-time event to draw attention to the street-art patriarchy, but it quickly exploded into something more.

“It’s been endless camps since then,” said Wright, who goes by Girl Mobb when she’s painting. “There’s a high demand. The idea was to only do one as an art project, but it took off.”

People from around the world started asking Wright to bring her Graffiti Camp for Girls to their cities. Since launching last April, she’s hosted about one camp a week in places like Cincinnati, and even Cambodia.

The five-day Graffiti Camp for Girls came to San Diego last week. One day during the camp, a group of 10 girls, ages 12 to 15, crowded around a large art table in a back room at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park. They had just finished up a large-scale mural behind the museum.

Student Veronica McFarland said she signed up for the camp, in part, because she wanted to help break down the barriers when it comes to women doing street art.

“Most things in the world are dominated by men because of sexism,” McFarland said. “There’s the whole stereotype of the cool, edgy dude who tags old buildings and stuff and I think we’re trying to break that down and be like, ‘Hey, there are girls who do spray paint, too.’”

graffiti camp for girls
The Graffiti Camp for Girls at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

Ava Wadia, who’s signed up for several of the art camps at SDAI, said learning how to use a spray can was difficult, but she liked how graffiti made her feel empowered.

“It’s a mixture of art and badassness,” she said. “This camp is awesome.”

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

The Comic-Con Wrap Stories to Read

Comic-Con has come and gone, but the wave of coverage that comes in its wake has yet to slow. There are so many hot takes on the annual event, I can’t keep up. The one Comic-Con listicle I make a point to read every year, though, is in Rolling Stone. It’s written by former San Diegan and forever-nerd Dave Maass, who was joined this year by local DJ and journalist Arturo Garcia.

As a little experiment, I headed to Comic-Con and timed how long it took me to navigate the crowds and find a local comic book artist inside the exhibition halls. Amid all the national and international exhibitors crammed inside the space, I somehow managed to run into two local artist booths in just four minutes and 13 seconds: artist, writer and publisher Ted Washington and Paul Horn, creator of the “Cool Jerk” comic.

ted washington san diego
San Diego artist, writer and publisher Ted Washington at San Diego Comic-Con International 2018. / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

I asked Washington if he supports the ballot initiative that would tax hotel guests to fund an expansion of the Convention Center, plus homeless services and road repairs. Comic-Con has outgrown the Convention Center, and could leave San Diego in search of a new home unless the facility expands. The measure is being pitched as a way of keeping the convention here.

“Well, I’m not going to vote for Comic-Con to leave, that’s for sure,” Washington said. “As long as they expand by adding on to this building, I’m for it. I was totally against the idea of splitting the Convention Center because I don’t want to be put over in building B. You know they would totally put the artists and small press in building B, and that would be really, really bad.”

• Speaking of local comic artists, the Union-Tribune profiled Ryan Benjamin, a nominee for a 2018 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award at Comic-Con.

• The forthcoming Comic-Con Museum made its convention debut by hosting a panel and asking convention attendees for feedback on what they want to see at the museum, reports KPBS. BTW, it looks like the folks behind the new institution decided to call it a museum after all (last time I chatted with the director, he wasn’t so sure that name appropriately captured the things they plan to do with the space).

La Jolla Music Society’s New Leader, New Public Art and More News for the Culture Crowd

• The La Jolla Music Society has named Susan T. Danis the organization’s new leader. (Union-Tribune)

• San Diego just got two more pieces of art to add to its public art collection. One is by San Diego artist Roman de Salvo, and it’s a rock sculpture and functioning drinking water fountain near the new field station at Mission Trails Regional Park. The other is by Los Angeles artist Roberto Delgado, and the artwork is a four-part mural installation covering the new Fire Station No. 22 in Point Loma.

• A three-day dance festival is headed to San Diego this weekend. The event includes a few free family-friendly performances, plus ticketed dance workshops and shows. (Union-Tribune)

• San Diego Magazine did a Q-and-A with Lynnette Tessitore, the cultural arts manager for the city of Chula Vista.

• Join a discussion with the curator and artists featured in “High-Key: Color in Southern California” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, at the San Diego Art Institute. The main topic of discussion: the role color plays in their art practices. (Times of San Diego)

michael james armstrong san diego
An installation by San Diego artist Michael James Armstrong at the San Diego Art Institute. / Photo courtesy of the San Diego Art Institute

• The art on CityBeat’s cover last week was eye-catching. Here’s more about the artist behind it.

• I recently saw Jake Najor drumming at a show at the Casbah. He’s good. Najor was just named one of the 10 best drummers in San Diego by NBC SoundDiego.

• The folks behind the Urban Discovery Academy charter school in the East Village announced they will be building a new Design Thinking Education Center at 1400 Park Blvd.

• A new exhibition opening in North Park explores stories of home and migration. The art is based on workshops with members of local refugee communities.

The Kinsee Report: Here’s Where I Want to Be This Week

• I haven’t stopped by the Fair at 44 in far too long. No better time than now: The outdoor food and craft market is hosting fun Friday events through the summer.

Jardel Silva food vendor at Fair@44
Jardel Silva, owner of Gaucho Grilling, is one of the vendors at Fair at 44. / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

• Marcos Ramírez ERRE and Jean Lowe, two giants of the local art scene, will be showing their work at Quint Gallery in a new show opening Saturday. If you (like me) can’t make the opening, their work is up through Sept. 8.

• Once upon a time, not too terribly long ago, my husband worked at the carousel in Balboa Park. One of our first kisses happened on that beautiful twirling ride. So perhaps it’s the sentimentalist in me that makes me want to actually celebrate a faux holiday: National Carousel Day on July 25. The Balboa Park Carousel will be marking the occasion with a festival that includes music, food vendors, children’s activities and free carousel rides.

Food, Cannabis, Beer and Booze News

• Dark Horse Coffee Roasters is getting ready to grow again. Its sixth outpost will open soon in La Mesa.

dark horse coffee san diego
A bag of coffee beans at Dark Horse Coffee Roasters in Golden Hill / Photo by Kinsee Morlan

• A festival celebrating additives and chemical-free wine is happening this weekend.

• San Diego chef Claudia Sandoval was the winner of “MasterChef” Season 6. She’s gone on to start her own catering and consulting business and has also raised thousands of dollars for local charities. Now Councilman David Alvarez is proclaiming July 24 “Chef Claudia Sandoval Day.”

• These “doughnut cone” things sound delicious. (Eater)

• Does anyone know anything about the South Bay Fishery opening inside a former food market in Barrio Logan? Email me.

• Two local breweries are set to close for good. (CBS8)

• It’s hot af. That’s why I have recently found myself in two very good cold treat spots: one that serves the famed unicorn shake in Del Mar, and another that dishes up Taiwanese shaved snow on Convoy. Go. Now.

Kinsee Morlan is engagement editor at Voice of San Diego. Email her at with arts and culture news and tips, or submit your question about San Diego arts and culture here. Want to recommend the Culture Report to someone? Share this sign-up link. Subscribe to Voice of San Diego podcasts

Kinsee Morlan

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

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