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Best Of 2011 Arts


Best Theatre Company: La Jolla Playhouse & The Old Globe

La Jolla Playhouse mounts a wide range of productions, from glossy musicals to dramas, that explore the human spirit. This imaginative theatre takes risks, turning out collaborative workshops and polished performances on its three stages. (858/550-1010, www.lajollaplayhouse.org)


Mix classic American plays with Shakespeare,  add the Grinch and beautiful musicals — the result is an ebullient celebration of theatre. This season, the Globe has given us the glorious and melodic Jane Austin’s Emma — A Musical Romantic Comedy. There’s something for everyone to love. (619/234-5623, www.theoldglobe.org)


Best Musical Arts Organization: San Diego Symphony

In its centennial season, San Diego Symphony’s musical programming is first rate. Concerts by the symphony and guest performers uphold a very high standard of excellence. Along with great music, the symphony maintains a robust educational program. (619/235-0804, www.sandiegosymphony.org)


Best Dance Company: Malashock Dance

Founded in 1988, Malashock Dance has deepened its choreography and performances. Distinctive collaborations with other arts and cultural institutions are hallmarks of this forward-moving company. Productions have been seen on KPBS TV

and UCSD TV. (619/523-0603, www.malashockdance.org)


Best Live Music Venue: The Belly Up Tavern

The Belly Up in Solana Beach is a go-to local hangout and a major rock venue. Its large stage is close to the dance floor and the building itself is just a few blocks from the ocean. Here, aspiring musicians mix with music legends. (858/481-8140, www.bellyup.com)


Best Local Band/Musical Artist: Switchfoot

This very popular alternative pop-rock band is a repeat readers’ favorite, and now also a Grammy winner. Switchfoot has added another crowd pleaser to its full life, the annual Switchfoot Bro-Am charity event at Moonlight Beach to support local chapters of StandUp For Kids. (www.switchfoot.com)


Best Museum: San Diego Natural History Museum

Sited at the east end of the Prado in Balboa Park, the Natural History Museum occupies an impressive building. In it are all kinds of fascinating exhibits, many of which are interactive. Choose from activities, lectures, films, and field trips. (619/232-3821, www.sdnhm.org)


Best Art Gallery: Aaron Chang Ocean Art Gallery

Aaron Chang brings, quite literally, a world of experience to his Ocean Art Gallery in Solana Beach, where he has joined painter Wade Koniakowsky. Familiar with the cultures of more than 40 countries, Chang’s photographs have graced the covers of more than 100 magazines. (858/345-1880, www.aaronchangoceanart.com)


Best Local Artist: S.W. Gillen & Andrea Rushing

Painter S.W. Gillen is interested in portraits, art nouveau, and Japanese art. He describes his work as “art in motion.” See his collection at the Coronado Tina Christiansen Art Gallery. (858/688-2695, www.artbyswgillen.com)


Interested in examining human nature, Andrea Rushing’s paintings may involve rich symbolism, or, at other times, be graceful portraits. His paintings are featured in galleries in San Diego and L.A. (619/501-2068, www.andrearushingfinearts.com)



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