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Culture Report: New Public Art Hits North County

One of the best things about living in a city like San Diego is that it’s naturally beautiful. Not a day goes by that my Instagram feed doesn’t feature at least four photos of the sunset. Still, being a world-class city also means beautification by way of awesome public art.

While North County is by no means San Diego’s ugly stepsister, the Utility of Art project is still helping to doll up the lovely neighborhoods of Leucadia, Cardiff and downtown Encinitas. Nine new pieces of public art appearing on SDG&E utility boxes have been commissioned by Leucadia 101 Main Street, the Cardiff 101 Main Street and the Encinitas 101 Main Street groups with grants from the City of Encinitas and Mizel Family Foundation Community Grant.

Cardiff and Leucadia’s first round of utility boxes are all finished, while Encinitas artists are continuing work on theirs. Olive Paccione, project facilitator and program assistant at Encinitas 101 Main Street, estimates those boxes will be done this month.

Among the artists participating are Jessica Brown, Michael “Monstrinho” Amorillo, Daniel Hernandez, Seitaku “TAK” Aoyama and Donna Schicler.

“It’s a beautification project. One of our goals is to revitalize the main street district, and one of ways we’re doing that is through public art,” said Paccione. “We want to give our local artists a chance to showcase a beautiful piece of art that tourists and locals will be able to enjoy forever.”

The Utility of Art project will continue with new artists adding work to different utility boxes each year.

You’re reading the Culture Report, Voice of San Diego [1]’s weekly collection of the region’s cultural news.

Dana Springs is All Ears, Snoopy and More Visual Art

• The San Diego History Center pays tribute to the works on display during Balboa Park’s 1915 California exhibition with a new exhibit highlighting the masterworks from that time [2]. (U-T)

• Dana Springs, the newly appointed director of the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, is looking to shake things up on the local landscape [3]. But first, she has 120 organizations to talk to. (CityBeat)

• A piece of iconic Escondido public art reopens, with a close eye kept on the treasure [4]. (CityBeat)

• California museums need all the financial help they can get, but beloved cartoon character Snoopy is standing in the way [5]. Well, sort of. (KPBS)

A Crime Scene in North Park and More Music and Performance News

• For opera singer Stephanie Blythe, performing is about using what she has within and being in the moment. The powerful performer gives more insight into her craft [6] in a piece by the U-T.

• North Park’s historic Lafayette Hotel will become the site of an elaborate con [7] game and you can be part of it. (U-T)

New Lineup at the Jacobs Center, Balboa Park Doc and More Culture Crumbs

• The East Village has become one of San Diego’s most rapidly changing neighborhood. Once an area that many avoided due to its homeless population (which still exists in small pockets), the East Village was made over after Petco Park was built and many local businesses set up shop. While some see the area as a major example of gentrification, others consider it more of an emblem of urban renewal. Whatever your stance, there are still great places to explore in the area. DiscoverSD handpicked a few [8].

• The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation has added a new lineup of hires that will work to bring positive change to the community [9]. Among them is recent Meeting of the Minds presenter Bennett Peji.

• A new documentary on Balboa Park will begin screening daily at the San Diego History Center [10]. It features actors like Blair Underwood, who performed at the Old Globe’s staging of “Othello” earlier this year, and others talking about the beauty and history that lies in San Diego’s favorite park. (U-T)