Butterflies, art and inspiration in National City!

Yesterday, as I waited for the Memorial Day ceremony to begin in National City, I wandered a short distance down 12th Street from the Veteran’s Wall of Honor. I was surprised to encounter colorful butterflies along the median, and lots of art at a bright building on the north side of Kimball Park. The building, I learned, is home to ARTS, which stands for A Reason To Survive.

ARTS is a special community center where youth are inspired to live positive, hopeful, creative lives free from destructive influences and the violence that might attract their peers.

According to their website, the mission of ARTS is “to heal, inspire, and empower youth facing life challenges through therapeutic arts, formal arts education, and college and career preparation…In 2012, ARTS moved to National City and opened a 20,000-sq. ft. ARTS Center in one of San Diego County’s most health-challenged and economically depressed communities…”

I urge you to visit the above link and read about how the ARTS program has gained national fame, and how you might personally contribute, volunteer or become involved.

Here come photographs of murals and other artwork I happened to see outside the building. Painted words encourage non-violence and provide A Reason To Survive.

The nearby butterflies at intervals along 12th Street represent a transformation into something beautiful.

Each butterfly is unique.


I received a great comment concerning the butterflies and their origin. Please read the comments after the upcoming photos…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

7 thoughts on “Butterflies, art and inspiration in National City!”

  1. Sorry to say this but the butterflies Art project in Kimball park, Buttefly park and Palmas park in national city it wasn’t a project commanded by Arts Center. Please do a better research for your article.
    This project was possible as a donation from a private institution (not Arts) and the project was in charge by artist Roberto (I don’t remember his last name) under the administration of former major Don Morrison. There are around of more than 50 butterflies designed both sides by some residents volunteers from
    National City and most of the butterflies were designed by kids from a local art program from Lincoln Acres Library. At that time I, Frances Camaccio was the art instructor in charge of that program supported by library manager Jose Locadiz.
    Please credit the people that was really involved in this project.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Richard! My name is Patty Corona , I’ am the Cooking for Salud Coordinator of Cooking for Salud Program at Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center. I want to thank you for the beautiful article you wrote about the beautiful things National City has to offer to visitors. I will like just to provide some extra information for accuracy and to honor the work the local families make years ago in order to beautify our parks due this is a beautiful story. As you mentioned the butterfly is a symbol of transformation and all these butterflies were the result of the inspiration of the Kitchenistas story. The Kitchenistas are graduates from the Cooking for Salud Program. Please sent me an email to share the story in case you are interested. Arts has been doing great job in the community and the Kitchenistas has been working in most of their projects but the credit for this specific Butterfly Path is for the local artist and sculptor Roberto Salas thanks to the founds of Open Spaces program from the San Diego Museum of Art.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Butterfly Path” 2015
    A series constructed and installed by intergeneration community members of National City.
    Commissioned by the San Diego Museum of Art , Roberto Salas Principal Artist in Residence.“Open Spaces”project. Supported by the James Irvine Foundation grant.

    The installation consists of the use of reflective vinyl to create patterns and textures on aluminum cutouts of butterflies. The sculptures are permanently displayed along three designated parks in National City. During, the day these sculptures are filled with bright hand cut patterns and at the night will be illuminated by car lights.These pieces start in Butterfly Park and link two other parks Las Palm and Kimble park symbolizing the metamorphosis movements on health ,well being and ecology by the “Kitchenistas”of OliveWood Garden & Learning Center in National City.

    Liked by 1 person

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