Paintings by Kadir Nelson exhibited in San Diego.

So Together, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
So Together, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.

An important exhibition of paintings by acclaimed artist Kadir Nelson is now showing at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

On display is the original artwork used to illustrate the picture book Blue Sky, White Stars, this year’s KPBS One Book, One San Diego for Kids Selection. Young students across our city will be reading the picture book this year, sharing their experience together. The author is Sarvinder Naberhaus.

The book’s original paintings by Kadir Nelson contain iconic American imagery, and often include the patriotic red, white and blue of the American flag. Ideals such as Liberty, Justice and Equality proudly live in the faces of his subjects. His powerful, humane artwork has been compared to that of Norman Rockwell.

Kadir Nelson spent his formative years in San Diego, attending Crawford High School. The exhibition at the San Diego History Center includes a few examples of his early drawings.

As an artist of international stature, Kadir Nelson has produced art for many award-winning books, The New Yorker magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Coca-Cola Company, and Major League Baseball. His work appears on United States Postal Service commemorative stamps and on Michael Jackson’s posthumously released album. His paintings can be found in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, The National Baseball Hall of Fame, and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Visit this exhibition at the San Diego History Center and you’ll quickly see that Kadir Nelson is a truly extraordinary American artist, whose striking images linger in your mind. You’ll also perceive the optimism and heart that gives amazing life to his work.

The Spectacle, 2016, gracing the front cover of Blue Sky, White Stars, was painted by Kadir Nelson.
The Spectacle, 2016, gracing the front cover of Blue Sky, White Stars, was painted by Kadir Nelson.
In a short video at the San Diego History Center, Kadir Nelson talks about his work and inspiration.
In a short video at the San Diego History Center, Kadir Nelson talks about his work and inspiration.
Displayed in the exhibition are seven books featuring the bold, powerfully moving artwork of Kadir Nelson.
Displayed in the exhibition are seven books featuring the bold, powerfully moving artwork of Kadir Nelson.
Eight extraordinary The New Yorker covers with artwork by Kadir Nelson.
Eight extraordinary The New Yorker covers with artwork by Kadir Nelson.
A drawing by Kadir Nelson from his teen years. Crawford Horse Sitting on Mascots, 1991, pen and ink on paper.
A drawing by Kadir Nelson from his teen years. Crawford Horse Sitting on Mascots, 1991, pen and ink on paper.
Pioneers (White Rows), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Pioneers (White Rows), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Sew Together (Betsy Ross), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Sew Together (Betsy Ross), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Well Worn: Abe Lincoln, 2016, Kadir Nelson.
Well Worn: Abe Lincoln, 2016, Kadir Nelson.
We Shall Overcome, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
We Shall Overcome, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Stand Proud (Civil War Soldiers), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Stand Proud (Civil War Soldiers), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Cracker Jacks, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Cracker Jacks, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
The Patriot, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
The Patriot, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.

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!

Afrofuture Art Exhibit at Worldbeat Cultural Center.

Miss Universe, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.
Miss Universe, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.

There’s a cool art exhibition now showing inside the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park. The Afrofuture Art Exhibit features some imaginative and thought-provoking pieces that meld the African American experience with an optimistic view of the future.

One highlight of the exhibition is a series of evocative digital collages that place individuals from the past and present in the cosmos, interacting with the planet Earth and other celestial bodies.

I did my best to capture some good photographs. Head inside the Worldbeat Cultural Center to enjoy much more futuristic African American artwork up close and in person, then walk around inside the re-purposed water tower to enjoy one of the most awesome and colorful event spaces in San Diego!

The Afrofuture Art Exhibit will be on display through Summer 2018 at the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
The Afrofuture Art Exhibit will be on display through Summer 2018 at the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
Uhura from the original Star Trek series depicted in futuristic artwork created by @caegallery.
Uhura from the original Star Trek series depicted in futuristic artwork by Weldon May.
Cool artwork on display at the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
More cool art on display at the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
A female face in the cosmos, by @caegallery.
A futuristic female face beneath stars and a streaking meteorite, by Weldon May.
The past, present and future come alive at the Afrofuture Art Exhibit.
The past, present and future come alive at the Afrofuture Art Exhibit.
Tan Man, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.
Tan Man, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.
Atlas, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.
Atlas, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.

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!

San Diego African American fine art exhibition.

Green Tea. Kadir Nelson, giclée on canvas.
Green Tea. Kadir Nelson, giclée on canvas.

If you love fine art, there’s something you really need to see. Legacy in Black is an exhibition featuring the work of local African American artists who enjoy national and international acclaim. You can enjoy this exhibition for free by visiting the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

A number of outstanding pieces represent the work of eight artists who’ve made significant contributions to our city’s cultural life. Many of the artists have produced public art around San Diego and California. Faith Ringgold has had works exhibited in places like The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Museum of American Art, and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Ernest Eugene Barnes Jr. was the official artist of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Kadir Nelson was the lead conceptual artist for Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad, and his work is often featured on the cover of The New Yorker magazine. All eight artists featured in this exhibition are exceptional.

Legacy in Black is a collaboration between the San Diego History Center and the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art. Head on over to Balboa Park before the exhibition closes on March 28, 2018!

Sandlot Football. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on canvas.
Sandlot Football. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on canvas.
Legacy in Black, an exhibition of work by local African American artists, is now on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.
Legacy in Black, an exhibition of work by local African American artists, is now on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.
I'll Fly Away. Manuelita Brown, bronze with painted wood base, 2003.
I’ll Fly Away. Manuelita Brown, bronze with painted wood base, 2003.
Coming to Jones Road Part II #5, Precious, Barn Door and Baby Freedom. Faith Ringgold, acrylic on canvas with fabric border, 2010.
Coming to Jones Road Part II #5, Precious, Barn Door and Baby Freedom. Faith Ringgold, acrylic on canvas with fabric border, 2010.
The Valley. Jean Cornwell Wheat, acrylic on canvas, 2014.
The Valley. Jean Cornwell Wheat, acrylic on canvas, 2014.
Gridiron Hero. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on board.
Gridiron Hero. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on board.

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!

Happiness and togetherness at MLK Day Parade.

People gather along Harbor Drive awaiting the start of the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in San Diego.
People gather together along Harbor Drive and await the start of the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in San Diego.

San Diego’s 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade started this afternoon at 2 o’clock. I arrived a bit early and made my way onto the tall ship Star of India. Best seat in the house!

What all did I see? Read the photo captions!

Lots of friendship and smiles up and down the street.
Lots of friendship and smiles up and down the street.
Some Navy officers gather near the MLK Day Parade's starting area.
Some Navy officers gather near the MLK Day Parade’s starting area.
The San Diego Padres would be in the parade. They were waiting with some baseball balloons by the Maritime Museum.
The San Diego Padres would be in the parade. They were waiting with some baseball balloons by the Maritime Museum.
One benefit of being a member of the Maritime Museum of San Diego--I could watch the parade from atop one of the world's most famous tall ships--the Star of India!
One benefit of being a member of the Maritime Museum of San Diego–I could freely watch the parade from atop one of the world’s most famous tall ships–the Star of India!
Now I'm looking down from the deck above the historic ship's forecastle. Joe who works at the museum and I had the best view of the parade all to ourselves!
Now I’m looking down from the deck above the historic ship’s forecastle. Joe who works at the museum and I had the best view of the parade all to ourselves!
Look at all the folks gathering for the big MLK Day Parade. Every year, it's one of the most popular parades in San Diego.
Look at all the folks gathering for the big MLK Day Parade. Every year, it’s one of the most popular parades in San Diego.
From the Star of India we overlooked the parade's starting point. Lots of groups were waiting by their vehicles, including these Homeland Security guys posing for a picture.
From the Star of India we overlooked the parade’s starting point. Lots of groups were waiting by their vehicles, including these Homeland Security guys posing for a picture.
I also spotted law enforcement officers from around San Diego and the Border Patrol.
I also spotted law enforcement officers from around San Diego and the Border Patrol.
But the politicians manage to always go first. I spotted Todd Gloria, Toni Atkins, Susan Davis and Shirley Weber.
A pigeon joined us on the tall ship’s rigging.  Funny how the politicians manage to always go first. I spotted Todd Gloria, Toni Atkins, Susan Davis and Shirley Weber.
Tending to the flags.
Tending to the flags.
The parade has begun and here comes the Padres' happy mascot, the Swinging Friar!
The parade has begun and here comes the Padres’ happy mascot, the Swinging Friar!
The Chargers might be history, but San Diego's beloved Padres remain a strong part of our wonderful community.
The Chargers might be history, but San Diego’s beloved Padres remain a strong part of our wonderful community.
I think these guys marching are the San Diego County Sheriffs.
I think those guys marching are the San Diego County Sheriffs.
Oh, goodness! It's the Geico gecko.
Oh, goodness! It’s the Geico gecko.
Fellowship and laughter in one group before beginning down the parade route.
Fellowship and laughter in one group before beginning down the parade route.
From our cool vantage point above the starting point, sometimes the big event seemed like two parades in one!
From our cool vantage point above the starting point, sometimes the big event seemed like two parades in one!
It's a small planet. Perhaps we human-types ought to be nice to one another. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that love overcomes hate.
It’s a small planet. Perhaps we humans ought to be nice to one another. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that love overcomes hate.
I realized my small camera struggles at a distance, so after a bit I said bye to Joe and headed down to Harbor Drive to get closer shots.
I realized my small camera struggles at a distance, so after a bit I said bye to Joe and headed down to Harbor Drive to get closer shots.
Here comes the Saint Peter Grand Lodge!
Here comes the Saint Peter Grand Lodge!
Hello!
Hello!
Here comes a bright yellow float carrying some beauty queens!
Here comes a bright yellow float carrying some beauty queens!
Wow--look at all the color. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade is a happy celebration of human diversity and togetherness.
Wow–look at all the happy people. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade is a joyful celebration of human diversity and togetherness.
Here come some drummers!
Here come some drummers!
I believe these guys are students from UCSD. The County Administration Building rises in the background.
I believe these guys are students from UCSD. The County Administration Building rises in the background.
Lots of colorful costumes and finery representing different backgrounds and cultures. San Diego comes together as one family.
Lots of colorful costumes and finery representing different experiences and cultures. San Diego comes together as one family.
Smiles, happiness and togetherness. May the parade go on and on...
Smiles, happiness and togetherness. May the parade go on and on…

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!

Quotes on the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.

Walking past a plaque which is engraved with one of many important quotes by Martin Luther King Jr.
Walking past a plaque which is engraved with one of many important quotes by Martin Luther King Jr.

I frequently walk along the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade in downtown San Diego. Whenever I do, I like to randomly read some of the historic MLK quotes that are engraved in plaques along the long pathway. I’ve never counted the number of quotes. There are easily dozens. Every quote on every plaque is important and powerful, and reflects the intelligence, energy, optimism and wisdom of America’s great civil rights leader.

Here are photos taken at different times of a few of Dr. King’s quotes…

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed.
Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed.
The deep rumbling of discontent that we hear today is the thunder of disinherited masses, rising from dungeons of oppression to the bright hills of freedom in one majestic chorus.
The deep rumbling of discontent that we hear today is the thunder of disinherited masses, rising from dungeons of oppression to the bright hills of freedom in one majestic chorus.
Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.
Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.
We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the Earth like brothers.
We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the Earth like brothers.
Two people walk side-by-side down the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade in downtown San Diego.
Two people walk side-by-side down the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade in downtown San Diego.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
The democratic ideal of freedom and equality will be fulfilled for all--or all human beings will share in the resulting social and spiritual doom...
The democratic ideal of freedom and equality will be fulfilled for all–or all human beings will share in the resulting social and spiritual doom…
The greatest victory of the civil rights period was something internal...We armed ourselves with dignity and self-respect...We straightened our backs up...
The greatest victory of the civil rights period was something internal…We armed ourselves with dignity and self-respect…We straightened our backs up…
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Any law that uplifts human personality is just, any law that degrades human personality is unjust.
Any law that uplifts human personality is just, any law that degrades human personality is unjust.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
Breaking the Chains sculpture, by Melvin Edwards, reminds people on MLK Promenade of the positive legacy of a great civil rights leader.
Breaking the Chains sculpture, by Melvin Edwards, reminds people on MLK Promenade of the positive legacy of a great civil rights leader.

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San Diego Library exhibit: Lincoln and Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln, slavery, the Constitution, dissent, the Civil War, and lingering questions.
Abraham Lincoln, slavery, the Constitution, dissent, the Civil War, and lingering questions.

A thought-provoking historical exhibit is currently on display in downtown San Diego’s Central Library. Titled “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” the large multi-paneled exhibit outlines and discusses a number of controversial issues that arose during the time of America’s Civil War. The exhibit, which has visited a number of different libraries, was created by the American Library Association and the National Constitution Center.

Old photos and texts help visitors to understand the election of Abraham Lincoln, the secession of the southern states, and the Civil War itself; complex topics that are explored include slavery and the plight of African Americans, the Constitution and state sovereignty, and civil liberties.

If you happen to find yourself in East Village, pop into the library. The large display is on the ground floor and very difficult to miss. The traveling exhibit will remain at this location through January 9, 2015.

Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War is on display in San Diego's Central Library.
Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War is on display in San Diego’s Central Library.
Meet Mr. Lincoln. The new American president was viewed by some with uncertainty or distrust.
Meet Mr. Lincoln. The new American president was viewed by some with uncertainty or distrust.
People at San Diego's new downtown public library check out a provocative historical exhibit.
People at San Diego’s new downtown public library check out a provocative historical exhibit.
The Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter after Lincoln decided to resupply the fortification.
The Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter after Lincoln decided to resupply the fortification.
Old envelope depicts a boxing match between Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.
Old envelope depicts a boxing match between Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.
The Civil War, fought for complex reasons, effectively ended slavery in America.
The Civil War, fought for complex reasons, effectively ended slavery in America.
The original Constitution didn't abolish slavery. It left the matter to the states.
The original Constitution didn’t abolish slavery. It left the matter to the states.
Exhibit examines dissent, and Lincoln's choice to suspend the writ of habeas corpus.
Exhibit examines dissent, and Lincoln’s choice to suspend the writ of habeas corpus.
Traveling library exhibit asks about the state of equality, freedom and democracy today.
Traveling library exhibit asks about the state of equality, freedom and democracy today.
It is for us the living...to be dedicated here to the unfinished work.
It is for us the living…to be dedicated here to the unfinished work.

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African-Americans helped to build San Diego.

Public art at Lillian Place shows African-American history in San Diego.
Public art at Lillian Place shows many facets of African-American history in San Diego.

Should you walk through downtown San Diego’s East Village in the vicinity of 14th and J Streets, you might be attracted to several large yellow panels along the sidewalk. This proud display of public art at Lillian Place was raised to commemorate how African-Americans have played an important role in building our diverse and beautiful city.

The artwork is titled “A San Diego African-American Legacy” and represents African-American contributions to San Diego’s development and rich history.

Cast metal parachute recalls the Top Black Owned Business in the United States.
Cast metal parachute recalls 1943’s Top Black Owned Business in the United States.

Here’s a large portion of the text contained on the panels:

People of African decent were present in San Diego as early as the establishment of Presidio de San Diego in 1769, and played a role in settling the area now known as Old Town.

In the later decades of the 1800s, African-Americans began emigrating to Horton New Town, San Diego’s present-day downtown, relocating primarily from the southern US.

Religious institutions were, and continue to be a cornerstone of the African-American community. In 1887, the African Methodist Episcopal Church became the first organized African-American congregation in downtown San Diego, followed soon after by Calvary Baptist and Bethel AME. At the same time, African-American social and civic groups like the Violet Club, Acme Social Club and Fidelity Lodge #10 of the Prince Hall Masons became important organizations in the community.

San Diego was once the center of a thriving jazz, blues, and gospel music scene. The Creole Palace at the Douglas Hotel and the Crossroads Jazz Club were just two of the spots that hosted local and national talent playing to mixed audiences.

African-Americans have always played a major role in amateur and professional sports in San Diego. Local favorite Archie Moore fought at the city Coliseum as did other champions. San Diegan John Ritchey became the first black player in the Pacific Coast League when he was signed as a catcher to the then minor league padres in 1948.

The entrepreneurial spirit of the African-American community flourished through the 20th century with doctor’s offices, hotels and clubs, barbers and beauty parlors, cafes and restaurants, ice cream parlors, laundries, jewelers and pool halls that served the African American community as well as other San Diegans.

During World War II, African-American stunt pilot and businessman Howard Skippy Smith owned the Pacific parachute Company factory on 8th Avenue. Named the Top Black Owned Business in the United States in 1943, Mr. Smith operated an integrated work place that reflected the ethnic and racial diversity of wartime San Diego.

On this block of J Street, African-American Lillian Grant owned multiple buildings, offering rooms to an ethnically mixed clientele during the time of segregation. Next door at the corner of 14th and J Streets sat the Vine/Carter Hotels. Known as the colored hotels, it was owned and operated by African-Americans Alonzo and Katie Carter from the 1930s to the 1950s.

African-Americans helped build religious institutions and community organizations.
African-Americans helped to build religious institutions and community organizations.
Exact duplicate of baseball catcher's mitt from the 1940's made of cast metal.
Exact duplicate of baseball catcher’s mitt from the 1940’s made of cast metal.
Artwork shows San Diego an important center of jazz, blues, and gospel music.
Artwork shows San Diego as an important center of jazz, blues, and gospel music.
Hair curling iron symbolic of thriving African-American entrepreneurs.
Hair curling iron is a symbol of many thriving African-American entrepreneurs.

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