Uptown Briefs – April 10

Posted: April 10th, 2015 | News, Opinion & News, Uptown Briefs | No Comments

Spreckels Organ to be world’s largest after renovations

San Diego has an impressive pipe organ on display operating on a regular basis at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion. The organ has been expanding its number of pipes in phases over the last two years, helped along by generous donors. At 4,859 pipes, the organ is currently one of the largest in the world.


The Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park
(file photo)

Recently the Spreckels Organ Society announced that its fifth and final phase is nearly complete, adding the 8-foot Crommorne and an 8-foot Solo Vox Humana, each with 73 pipes, equaling 146. That number will give the 100-year-old Spreckels organ a total of 5,005 pipes, causing it to edge the 4,948 pipe Heroes Organ in Kufstein, Austria, as the largest.

Each rank costs $25,000, and donations are still needed. Robert Palmer, an organ enthusiast and a recent member of Spreckels Organ Society, was the donor that put the “Drive to 5,000” campaign in its final stretch, while an anonymous donor has offered to match every donation, pipe by pipe, to allow completion of the final phase. To donate, visit

“With the goal in sight, it is our hope to announce the completion of this exciting project before the end of the Centennial Summer International Organ Festival in August 2015,” stated George Hardy, president of the Spreckels Organ Society in a press release. “Every pipe sponsored gets us that much closer to that objective.”

Balboa Park’s Centennial celebration was the impetus for the Drive to 5,000 campaign, which has so far consisted of four funding phases: Centennial Tuba, for which $72,826 was raised; Gamba and Gamba Celeste, $41,578; Percussion effects, $15,500; and the 8-foot Geigen Celeste and 4-foot Violina Celeste at $41,996. When the $50,000 for the fifth phase has been reached, a total of $221,900 will have been raised to expand the total number of pipes in the Spreckels Organ.

An additional $20,000 has also been raised to restore the organ’s iconic gold pipe façade. For more information about the organ, the organ society, upcoming special events as well as the schedule for spring and summer concerts at the organ pavilion, visit

Live performances slated for The Artist Odyssey launch party

3RDSPACE (4610 Park Blvd., University Heights) is hosting a party to launch The Artist Odyssey’s (TAO) Kickstarter campaign on Saturday, April 18.


(Courtesy of The Artist’s Odyssey)

TAO is “an arts network that interviews artists and supports arts education,” according to a press release. The launch party’s live music performances will include folk singer-songwriter, artist and poet Roy Ruiz Clayton, who will also showcase his paintings, and Americana singer-songwriter Nena Anderson. Visual artists Mimi Wada (Shodo/Japanese calligraphy), Trinh Mai (mixed media) and more will demonstrate their work as well. The event is from 7 – 10 p.m. and free with RSVP or $5 at the door. Visit to RSVP and for more information.

Progressive event space to open near Old Town

The Grassroots Oasis will open its doors April 25 as an event space for “progressive grassroots, art and cultural events,” according to a press release.

The space includes indoor and outdoor areas plus a stage with a sound system and lighting. The location near Moore and Rosecrans streets gives accessibility from I-5 and the Old Town Transit Center. The grand opening event will be from 7:30 – 11 p.m. and feature a concert by celebrated San Diego musician Steve Poltz. General admission is $30.

Organizers will also launch a crowdfunding campaign on April 20 with perks ranging from t-shirts to space rental. Keep up-to-date with Grassroots Oasis on their Facebook page.

Photo contest celebrates nuptials in Balboa Park

MyBalboaParkWeddingPhotowebThe Balboa Park Cultural Partnership is asking for photo entries for their “My Balboa Park Wedding” contest.

The contest commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the Panama-California Exposition at Balboa Park and all the weddings that have been held in the park since. Couples can share photos and stories of their wedding, engagement or anniversary online and ask friends and family to vote. The contest began in February and will end May 25.

Top prizes include a $10,000 custom anniversary jewelry piece by Charles Koll Jewelers and round-trip Southwest Airlines tickets. Visit for rules and to enter the contest.

Rep. Davis encourages local students to participate in art competition

The Congressional Art Competition has been held annually since 1982 for high school students within each district, with winners having their art displayed at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego) is encouraging high school students in her 53rd district — which covers La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley and parts of San Diego, El Cajon and Chula Vista — to compete for the chance to have their talent showcased in the Capitol’s Cannon Tunnel an entire year. Last year’s winning piece was “Dignity,” by Amelia from Grossmont High School in El Cajon.

“As the former director of a youth leadership program in San Diego, I know that young people are often the most thoughtful and creative members of our community,” stated Davis in a press release. “Art expands the mind and encourages innovation and critical thinking. I hope students in my congressional district will take advantage of this unique opportunity.”

Only open to high school students, the contest also awards a winner from each district scholarship opportunities and two round-trip airfare tickets so the winner can travel to D.C. for the exhibit’s ribbon cutting.

The deadline to submit artwork is April 20. For competition rules and to download the submission and release form, visit

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