Girl Scouts work to make a better community!

Believe.
Believe.

Today I enjoyed a tour of a fantastic outdoor mural exhibition in San Ysidro. It was the highlight of my day. I’ll blog about that shortly.

Earlier in the afternoon, I walked a little around the neighborhood and found myself looking at some creative artwork on a fence at the San Ysidro Community Center. I’d stumbled upon the Gold Award project of two local Girl Scouts!

According to a sign on the fence, in 2018 Orian Martinez restored the community center’s outdoor playground, and Sofia Perez-Valles created the Utopia Mural on the surrounding fence, embellishing it with positive messages.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has closed the San Ysidro Community Center and its outdoor area for many months now, so if things look a bit weathered and ragged, you can understand why. But the positive efforts and messages endure.

The actions and leadership of these two Girl Scouts have indeed made the world (and their community) a better place!

Utopia Mural.
Utopia Mural.
Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.
Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.
Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.
Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.
Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.
Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.
Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.
Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.
Courage.
Courage.
More colorful butterflies.
More colorful butterflies.
Action Changes Things.
Action Changes Things.
The future has many names...
The future has many names. For the fearful, the unknown. For the weak, the unreachable. For the brave, an opportunity.
Action is the foundational...
Action is the foundational…
...skill to all success.
…skill to all success.
Fall seven times and get up eight.
Fall seven times and get up eight.
If you do what you've always done, you'll get where you've always gone.
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll arrive where you’ve always gone.
Changes bring opportunity.
Changes bring opportunity.

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!

Victor Ochoa’s Tree of Life in San Ysidro!

Victor Ochoa is a world-famous muralist, activist and pioneer of the Chicano art movement whose work can be found throughout San Diego, particularly in Chicano Park. You can learn more about him here.

Should you stroll through San Ysidro Park, between West and East Park Avenue, just north of the San Ysidro Civic Center, you’ll probably see what appears to be a raised square platform in the middle of the grass. As you move closer this colorful public art, titled Arbol de la Vida (Tree of Life), comes into focus. It’s a tile mosaic planter and bench that surrounds a tree!

I can find almost nothing about this public art when I search the internet. Written on the tiles is the following:

Arbol de la Vida by Victor Ochoa, 1995. Commissioned for the community of San Ysidro and the citizens of San Diego through the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. Tree of Life.

It appears the overall design was created by Victor Ochoa and the tiles were painted by local children.

Do you know more about his wonderful public artwork? If you do, leave a comment!

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Your bus or trolley photo on MTS 2021 calendar!

Cool restored Silver Line trolley at Fifth Avenue station.

Do you live in San Diego, or have plans to visit? Are you a rider of the bus or trolley? Are you a photographer at any level who loves a challenge?

San Diego’s MTS (Metropolitan Transit System) might put one of your photographs on their upcoming 2021 calendar!

If you’ve taken a great photo outside or inside an MTS bus or trolley, or perhaps a photo from a station platform, you can submit your image to be considered for inclusion in next year’s official MTS calendar. If your image is selected, you’ll get credit plus your own free calendar.

The deadline for submission is October 15, 2020. Your photos must meet certain requirements, such as being high-resolution and in JPG format. You can learn all about what you need to do on this page.

Why not give it a try?

Sounds like fun!

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!

A golden sunrise walk through downtown.

The sun was newly risen this morning as I walked through downtown. I meandered through East Village and the Gaslamp Quarter, and eventually ended up at the Convention Center trolley station.

Slanting rays of early sunlight reflected from the windows of surrounding buildings. Warm light slipped down sleepy streets and alleys, painting a golden morning.

Early morning golden light touches a face inside a window of the Sparks Gallery.
Early morning light illuminates face inside a window of the Sparks Gallery.

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Creating a bike lane on Fifth Avenue.

A segment of Fifth Avenue in downtown San Diego will soon have a dedicated bike lane. I paused to watch work on the separate new lane as I walked to a trolley station this morning.

This particular project is on the north edge of downtown. The segment you see in my photos will connect with the already finished bike lane in Bankers Hill, which is a short distance farther north.

Once everything is completed, bicyclists will be able to safely head up Fifth Avenue, from downtown through Bankers Hill to Hillcrest.

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!

A tasty celebration of National Guacamole Day!

What's this?
What’s this?

Hip-hip-hooray! The big day has arrived!

Today, September 16, is officially National Guacamole Day! That means you can consume huge quantities of the yummy green ambrosia with pride and unabashed guilt-free enthusiasm!

Besides, it’s probably a good thing to shovel gallons of guac into one’s gullet. At least, that’s what I tell myself! Avocados are a superfood, right?

Let the tasty celebration begin!

Oh, wow! It's chips and guacamole from Roberto's!
Oh, wow! It’s chips and guacamole from Roberto’s!
Open wide!
Open wide!

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!

Neighbor releases butterflies in San Diego park!

A neighbor in San Diego’s Cortez Hill community has released butterflies in a city park. She accomplished this with a paintbrush and stencils!

Take a look!

I learned from Joe Ciavarella of Friends of Tweet Street Park that the beautiful butterflies–and birds, flowers and dragonflies–you see in my photos were painted on planters and stones recently by Victoria Villavicencio, who periodically visits Cortez Hill.

Tweet Street Linear Park at the top of Cortez Hill becomes ever more inviting over time, thanks not only to the friendly workers of San Diego’s Parks and Recreation Department, but to unselfish community volunteers who devotedly plant, tend and clean the garden-like park.

From one who lives a few steps away: Thank You!

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Cool sights along Third Avenue in Chula Vista!

Colorful art painted high on a building that is for lease on Chula Vista's Third Avenue.
Colorful art painted high on a building on Chula Vista’s Third Avenue.

Two years ago I walked along Third Avenue in downtown Chula Vista during the annual Lemon Festival. At the time I took a few photos of murals and public art that I happened to notice. To see those photographs, click here.

Last weekend I walked along Third Avenue again and discovered all sorts of cool sights that are either new or that I hadn’t seen previously. (Or, in the case of the street clock and big landmark sign, that I hadn’t thought to photograph.)

As you can see, downtown Chula Vista has a very friendly vibe. And the village appears to be getting even more inviting. I noticed that improvements along Third Avenue’s median are underway.

Forgive me if I don’t know who created much of the artwork. All of it is very cool, however!

Inspiring mural painted by Jorge Mendoza in Chula Vista. This is a message of strength and love.
Inspiring mural painted by Jorge Mendoza in Chula Vista. This is a message of strength and love.
Cool sculpture that I spotted in front of an office occupied by attorneys.
Cool sculpture that I spotted in front of an office occupied by attorneys.
Chula Vista mural on Davidson Street with the names of local businesses and residents. I believe this was also created by Jorge Mendoza.
Chula Vista mural on Davidson Street with the names of local businesses and residents. I believe this was also created by Jorge Mendoza.
This tasteful little mural is at the entrance to Groundswell Brewing Co.
This tasteful little mural is at the entrance to Groundswell Brewing Co.
Abstract paintings by Rich Walker in the window of Art on Third.
Abstract paintings by Rich Walker in the window of Art on Third.
Beneath a window at Art on Third. I see a red door and I want to paint it black.
Beneath a window at Art on Third. I see a red door and I want to paint it black.
A large colorful mural at the Third and F office and retail complex.
A large colorful mural at the Third and F office and retail complex.
A street clock near the intersection of Third Avenue and F Street in Chula Vista.
A street clock near the intersection of Third Avenue and F Street in Chula Vista.
The street clock was dedicated on April 28, 1984.
The street clock was dedicated on April 28, 1984.
The arching Third Avenue landmark sign welcomes visitors to Chula Vista's historic downtown.
The arching Third Avenue landmark sign welcomes visitors to Chula Vista’s historic downtown.
According to a plaque on its base, downtown Chula Vista's Third Avenue landmark sign debuted on September 5, 2003.
According to a plaque on its base, downtown Chula Vista’s Third Avenue landmark sign debuted on September 5, 2003.
Fun graphic in the window of Teriyaki Grill.
Fun graphic in the window of Teriyaki Grill.
Check out the unique, attractive architecture of the El Primero Boutique Hotel!
Check out the unique, attractive architecture of the El Primero Boutique Hotel!
Old photo on AT&T building shows a scene from Chula Vista's early history.
Old photo on AT&T building shows a scene from Chula Vista’s early history.
I spotted this graffiti wall a block east of Third Avenue at Alvarado Street.
I spotted this graffiti wall a block east of Third Avenue at Alvarado Street.
Cool sculpture near intersection of Third Avenue and H Street in Chula Vista.
Cool sculpture near intersection of Third Avenue and H Street in Chula Vista.

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

An amazing center for creativity in Chula Vista!

Interior photo of Chula Vista's Art on Third, courtesy Rich Walker.
Interior photo of Chula Vista’s very unique Art on Third, courtesy Rich Walker.

Check out the amazing interior of Art on Third in the heart of Chula Vista!

I was walking down Third Avenue on Saturday, taking photos of interesting things, when I peered through the windows of what appeared to be a colorful art gallery. And out comes Rich Walker, the super friendly artist who runs the place!

We talked. He showed me inside his fantastic Art on Third. I learned that it’s far more than a gallery. It’s a creative space and cultural event venue, where there are concerts, poetry readings, and a whole variety of community gatherings. It’s a place where eyes are dazzled no matter which way they turn! I felt as through I had stepped into a completely different world. A world of uninhibited freedom, joy and creativity!

Take a look at these photographs!

Rich explained he’d like downtown Chula Vista to become even more dynamic–to become a magnet for artists and those who love the arts. To become a popular, widely-known destination.

I don’t see why that shouldn’t happen. There are cool eateries and intriguing little shops up and down Third Avenue’s historic business district. Chula Vista has plenty of artists. And there’s the ideal location. Chula Vista sits smack dab in the middle of two major international cities: San Diego and Tijuana.

And, of course, there’s the very unique Art on Third–a truly amazing place with a smiling proprietor who believes in the following: Enjoy Life. Be Creative. Laugh Often.

At Chula Vista's cool Art On Third, love should be the loudest voice!
At Chula Vista’s cool Art On Third, love should be the loudest voice!
Photo of creative space Art on Third, courtesy Rich Walker.
Photo of creative space Art on Third, courtesy Rich Walker.
Crowd comes together for a concert at Art on Third, photo courtesy of Rich Walker.
Crowd comes together for a concert at Art on Third, photo courtesy of Rich Walker.

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!

Girl Scout’s inspiring community mural project!

Mural painted in City Heights inspires those who see it to register to vote.
Mural painted in City Heights inspires those who see it to register to vote.

Check out this great new mural in City Heights!

The mural was painted this weekend to inspire members of the community to vote in this year’s election. It’s the Girl Scout “Gold Award” project of Lauren Crane!

She and a team of volunteers have painted a portion of a wall at Mid City Wash on University Avenue with a cool red, white and blue design that asks: Are you registered to vote? A nearby table, presided over by a couple of other friendly Girl Scouts, provided voter registration information for anyone who might pass by on the sidewalk.

I met Lauren today, as well as the folks of the organization Love City Heights, who’ve helped to make this awesome project a reality. Painting such a public mural requires the approval, resources and coordination of many people, and earning a Gold Award is all about leadership . . . and using that leadership to actually make the world a better place.

Not only does this project provide great experience for an up-and-coming leader, but it provides inspiration to all of those who are associated with it, and encourages those who happen to see the mural to become more involved in their community, too!

Is this awesome, or what?

Girl Scout Lauren Crane is responsible for this Gold Award mural project.
Girl Scout Lauren Crane is responsible for this Gold Award mural project.
Community volunteers pitch in to help paint the inspiring mural.
Community volunteers pitch in to help paint the inspiring mural.
Here are some of the people who have volunteered and made a real difference.
Here are some of the people who have volunteered and made a real difference.
A Guide to Voting in California pamphlets on a nearby table.
A Guide to Voting in California pamphlets on a nearby table.
An important community project brought to life by a Girl Scout, working to make the world a better place.
An important community project brought to life by a Girl Scout, working to make the world a better place.

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!