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Balboa Park Beat

Participating museums are slashing their admission prices in half this February for Museum Month 2013, presented by Macy’s. Starting February 1, 2013, free Museum Month Passes can be picked from any Macy’s department stores located in the San Diego Area, Temecula and Imperial Valley.

Each free Museum Month Pass allows up to four visitors half-price admission to any of the 42 participating San Diego Museum Council membership museums ALL MONTH LONG. The following Balboa Park museums and gardens are included:

Japanese Friendship Garden

Marston House & Gardens

Mingei International Museum

Museum of Photographic Arts
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

San Diego Air & Space Museum

San Diego Automotive Museum

San Diego History Center 
Museum & Library
San Diego Model Railroad Museum

San Diego Natural History Museum

The San Diego Museum of Art

Timken Museum of Art
 (always free)
Veterans Museum & Memorial Center

Think of the opportunities! With these great savings, you can make fun family memories interacting with hands-on exhibits, exploring hundreds of...Read The Rest

The Balboa Park Cultural Partnership is hosting a bold experiment that explores the connection between arts-based learning and scientific innovation. The project is called the San Diego Incubator for Innovation. It aims to test if involvement with the arts changes the ability to create, develop and communicate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) based ideas.

Inside the Innovation Incubator, teams of educators, artists, business leaders and students will gather to solve a civic challenge chosen by the residents of San Diego County. Voting is open through January 27; click here for official voting site. Residents can rank the following three challenges in the order they believe most deserves an innovative solution:

21st Century Healthcare --- Utilizing mobile telecommunications in healthcare and biotech industries to advance medical research, healthcare delivery and health information for greater well-being.

Climate Change --- Combating global warming to prevent its devastating effects of rising sea levels, heat waves, droughts, increasing wildfire frequency, severe storms and flooding.

Water --- Finding an answer to increasing water demands so that the region can ensure sustainable, high quality water it needs to support a healthy society, economy and...Read The Rest

What’s it like to be a reporter in Tijuana? Or a gay man in Uganda? A female athlete in Iraq?

For a third year, the Museum of Photographic Arts will host the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, a traveling showcase of thoughtful and engaging documentaries. Convening a brilliant mix of filmmakers, human rights advocates, and internationally-minded San Diegans, it has become one of my favorite annual events in Balboa Park.

You won’t find a bunch of yawn-inducing talking heads; rather, the Human Rights Watch team reviews hundreds of submissions to select the most compelling documentaries.

Girl-Power in Iraq

“Salaam Dunk” follows a group of female Iraqi basketball players at American University in Sulaimani, Iraq. It presents a different view of Iraq than the troubled, sectarian one we see in the news as young women from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds join together to learn a team sport.

Salaam dunk MOPA

The team plays a game of knock-out at the end of practice. (Photo: David Fine)

Director and Editor David Fine spent more than two years working on the film after he learned about the team from a friend of a friend who had gone to Iraq to teach and write a novel, and ended...Read The Rest

The Japanese Friendship Garden has started offering tours of the nine-acre expansion area between the garden and the Prado restaurant. Last Wednesday, I went on a one-hour, docent-led tour with three visitors. We were led up hills and through newly constructed walkways for an up-close look at the progress of one of Balboa Park’s most anticipated additions.

Since the garden’s grand opening in 1991, it has become a Balboa Park staple that offers visitors a chance to drop their to-do lists and get lost in the serene Japanese-inspired atmosphere. The Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego hopes to enrich the peaceful experience by adding many exciting new features.

Additional Koi Pond

 Will allow people to donate their koi to the pond and also let interested buyers purchase fish from the pond.

Outdoor Amphitheater

Provides another venue in Balboa Park where visitors can enjoy live performances. 

Traditional Tea House

Will recreate the experience of a true Japanese tea ceremony.

...Read The Rest

The San Diego Museum of Art has explored aspects of urban life in various ways -- through the 2011 Summer Salon Series theme “What does a city need?”, through the gritty depictions of cities in this year’s German Expressionism exhibition, and now through an interactive exhibition from the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Titled “Beneath the Moon II: Journey Through the City,” the free exhibition is the first experience to take place in a new permanent welcome center at the Museum that UT San Diego writer Jim Chute described earlier this month. The welcome center reflects a trend among museums to offer select experiences outside their walls (or in this case, inside, but free) to reach broader audiences and experiment with new ways of engaging with visitors.

"Our international relationships are key in expanding the variety of art here in San Diego, and offering this interactive experience free to the public provides invaluable access for all,” said Executive Director Roxana Velásquez in a statement.

For this all-ages exhibition, Spanish sculptor and living artist Miquel Navarro re-purposed his sculpture "Beneath the Moon II" as an opportunity for all to learn the fundamental concepts of a city.

Spread out across the gallery floor, the installation consists of a sculpture that has been deconstructed...Read The Rest

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