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ARTS WATCH

Satellite Due In Center City

August 20, 1986|HILLIARD HARPER | San Diego County Arts Writer

SAN DIEGO — The center city art district stands to get a high-class shot in the arm, and the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art will get a downtown satellite, when it opens Paramaters 8 on Oct. 18 at 715 8th Ave.

"We wanted a tougher space," an urban change from the museum's emotionally cool galleries, Director Hugh Davies said at a press briefing last week. The space, which will be entered through the Inside Gallery, is in the heart of the art quarter, an area generally east of the Gaslamp Quarter, that is zoned for commercial or light industrial uses and is home to many galleries, artists' studios and lofts.

Davies said the new gallery--the first downtown annex the museum has opened in its 45-year history--will not compete with commercial and not-for-profit galleries. Parameters 8--the eighth project of the museum's Exhibition Parameters series--is devoted to lesser-known artists.

The first show will feature works by local artists from the museum's permanent collection including Robert Ginder, Helen and Newton Harrison, Russell Forrester, Ernest Silva, Italo Scanga and Roy McMakin.

At least two more shows, currently unnamed, are planned. "We'll have to see what happens," Davies said regarding the future of the annex, which is funded for 10 months.

NO ART IS BETTER THAN . . . : Contemporary art, an enigma to local politicians, took another blow last week when the Carlsbad City Council voted, 3-2, to scuttle the first public commissioning in its cultural arts program. The city's arts commission had recommended that the City Council fund a 6-foot-high, $10,600 sculpture by internationally known artist James Hubbell of Santa Ysabel for the city's new Safety and Service Center. But three council members were against the abstract artwork, giving reasons ranging from it being too sophisticated and inappropriate for the front of the Police and Fire departments' building to it being too costly.

Two council members who voted against the sculpture--Buddy Lewis and Mark Pettine--had earlier voted against the ordinance setting up the public art program, calling it a poor use of city revenues.

But life goes on. After the defeat, the commissioners met to assess the situation.

"They thought it brought a whole lot of attention to the Carlsbad public arts program," said Connie Beardsley, cultural arts manager. "Now no one in Carlsbad hasn't heard of the program. Obviously we have to work more on education."

In the wake of the Aug. 12 vote, Beardsley is shortening her public arts slide presentation to 15 minutes so it will better fit the program slot of public service clubs.

The commission is setting aside consideration of artwork for the Safety and Service Center site. The commission told Beardsley to ask the City Council "to clarify the approach they want us to take" before going back to the drawing board.

REVE-NEWS: David Atherton, San Diego Symphony music director, has agreed to forgo next year's salary increase, called for in his contract with the symphony. The English maestro responded to a request by Symphony President Herb Solomon, who is money-belt-deep in contract negotiations with the orchestra's musicians.

Because of lower revenues than were once projected, the symphony has requested that the musicians cut the current 45-week performance contract to 38 weeks, the 1984-85 figure. By also working at last year's fee-per-concert level, Atherton will be paid $40,000 to $50,000 less than his contract called for. Musicians had protested loudly management's request to reduce their season in light of Atherton's contracted minimum pay raise. His minimum contracted salary this year is $138,000. It was supposed to go to $237,500 in 1986-87. Actually Atherton will earn more than $200,000, Solomon said, because he will have conducted 17 concerts instead of the 10 required in the contract. The proposed 38-week contract would not affect the announced 1986-87 season, nor Atherton's schedule of increases that call for a 1989 salary of $312,000.

GLOBE FEST: The three new plays in the Old Globe Theatre's Play Discovery Festival, Oct. 13 to Nov. 9, have a decidedly East Coast slant. Two of the playwrights are from New York, one from Philadelphia. No Californians are represented.

The main reason, literary agent Mark Hofflund said, is that most writers' agents are in New York and that's where the writers are. "There are some Los Angeles agents. We get some submissions from them," Hofflund said.

Although the Play Discovery Project takes no unsolicited manuscripts, one-page synopses are accepted and the interesting ones result in invitations to submit a play. "Generally, of course, these are from the less advanced, less mature and less skilled writers," Hofflund said.

The plays in the festival are Joel Gross' "Mesmer," about the "father of psychotherapy," Anton Mesmer; "The Boiler Room," Reuben Gonzalez's tale of a New York Puerto Rican family living in an apartment building boiler room, and James Penzi's "The Gentlemen of 5th Avenue," about the reclusive and macabre Collyer brothers, who died leaving 140 tons of odds and ends in their New York brownstone.

MEDIA BEATS: The San Diego Symphony's Radiothon kicks off Friday for three days of fund-raising over KFSD (FM 94.1). The fund-raiser will be broadcast live from University Towne Centre. . . . KTTY (Channel 69) launches the first of six half-hour specials Saturday at 4 p.m. with "High Tech: A New World at Your Fingertips." The programs, ranging from county water projects to the plight of the homeless, will focus on the quality of life in San Diego.

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