The colorful new Cesar Chavez Park Mural.

During my walk last weekend through Cesar Chavez Park, I was delighted to see a bright new mural painted on the long wall behind the park’s expanse of grass.

When I approached the mural, I noticed it was painted by Pandr Design Co. In my previous blog post you saw another mural that these artists recently painted! That one is on Market Street in downtown San Diego!

This new Cesar Chavez Park Mural was commissioned by the Port of San Diego. According to a nearby sign, this artwork brings color and inspiration to the park, creates a sense of place, and enhances the cultural richness of the Port’s waterfront.

It does!

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A colorful walk from Tuna Harbor to East Village.

People walk and jog along San Diego's Embarcadero near Tuna Harbor.
People walk and jog along San Diego’s Embarcadero near Tuna Harbor.

I did a lot of walking last Saturday! Downtown, Barrio Logan, San Ysidro… If I’m a little less active this weekend, it’s because my poor old legs are still sore!

Please enjoy some photos I took Saturday morning as I headed from Tuna Harbor on San Diego’s Embarcadero to 13th Street in East Village. I passed through Ruocco Park, walked a short stretch down Harbor Drive past Kansas City Barbeque, then turned east on Market Street.

Many of these sights you might have seen in the past on my blog. I did photograph a few new things, however, including the whale street art by Nicholas Danger, some Gaslamp Quarter historical artwork, and a very colorful mural by Pandr Design Co. Read the captions!

The photos you will see are the last I’ve taken with the old Canon Powershot that launched Cool San Diego Sights. Over the course of seven years my trusty friend must have recorded hundreds of thousands of images. But alas, its shutter began to stick and there have been other problems (which you might have already noticed), so I finally bought a shiny, much newer version Powershot, which I already love!

I hope my new camera successfully documents many more walks!

A couple hangs out by the Fish Tree, by artists Zbigniew Pingot and Toby Flores.
A couple hangs out by the Fish Tree, by artists Zbigniew Pingot and Toby Flores.
A vendor was selling lots of colorfully decorated Día de los Muertos skulls.
A vendor on the boardwalk was selling lots of colorfully decorated Día de los Muertos skulls.
Whenever I hear this friendly street musician playing beautiful music, I pause for a bit to listen.
Whenever I hear this friendly street musician playing beautiful music, I rest for a bit on a nearby bench to listen.
Ruocco Park on a late summer's day is very green and inviting.
Ruocco Park on a late summer’s day is very green and inviting.
I'm about to walk through some unique public art titled The Riparium, by artist Roman de Salvo.
I’m about to walk through some unique public art titled The Riparium, by artist Roman de Salvo.
Historical marker indicates the location of the San Diego Barracks from 1850 to 1921.
Historical marker indicates the location of the San Diego Barracks from 1850 to 1921.
Kansas City Barbeque is where a couple of great scenes from Top Gun were filmed.
Kansas City Barbeque is where a couple of great scenes from Top Gun were filmed.
Street art by Mindful Murals, cool people I once met. I saw how they painted positive messages at Edison Elementary School's playground.
Street art by Mindful Murals, cool people I once met. I saw how they painted positive messages on handball backboards at Edison Elementary School’s playground.
Looks like some leaves are turning along Market Street.
Looks like these sunlit leaves along Market Street are turning, anticipating autumn.
Geometric street art near scooters parked in a neat line.
Geometric street art near scooters parked in a straight line.
Someone walks past this fun street art by Nicholas Danger, another cool local artist!
Someone walks past this fun street art by Nicholas Danger, another cool local artist!
Plaque in the sidewalk on Market Street recalls major renovations that were made in the once-seedy Gaslamp Quarter in 1981.
Plaque in the sidewalk on Market Street recalls major renovations that were made in the once-seedy Gaslamp Quarter in 1981.
A mixture of Gaslamp history and present day entertainment in one photo.
A mixture of Gaslamp history and present day entertainment in one photo.
As I passed Fifth Avenue, the hub of San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter, I turned my camera south to take a picture.
As I passed Fifth Avenue, the hub of San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter, I turned my old camera south to take a picture.
The I.O.O.F. Building was built by the Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodges in 1882. Its cornerstone contains a stone recovered from Solomon's Temple!
The I.O.O.F. Building was built by the Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodges in 1882. Its cornerstone contains a stone recovered from Solomon’s Temple!
Eating on the street during the coronavirus pandemic.
Eating on the street during the coronavirus pandemic.
Artwork on a Gaslamp Quarter utility box shows historical photo of the San Diego Mercantile Co.
Artwork on a Gaslamp Quarter utility box shows historical photo of the San Diego Mercantile Co.
Here's a relatively new mural on Market Street that I noticed before but failed to photograph.
Here’s a relatively new mural on Market Street that I noticed before but failed to photograph.
This colorful WOW mural is by Pandr Design Co., who've done work all over San Diego. Their artwork can also be found at various Major League Baseball stadiums!
This colorful WOW mural is by the artists of Pandr Design Co., who’ve done work all over San Diego. Their artwork can also be found at various Major League Baseball stadiums!
Sculpted dog holds open a shop door.
Sculpted dog holds open a shop door.
There's some construction along Market Street as I approach 13th Street.
There’s some construction along Market Street as I approach 13th Street.
I'm greeted by this face on the construction site fence!
I’m greeted by this face on the construction site fence!

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!

Trail to Literacy benches in San Ysidro.

One of two Trail to Literacy benches in San Ysidro Park.
One of two Trail to Literacy benches in San Ysidro Park.

If you notice two colorful benches in San Ysidro Park, go take a closer look. On both you’ll discover a Trail to Literacy.

The benches are decorated with tiles painted by children. You’ll see small works of art that celebrate books and stories that young people love.

This wonderful community project promotes reading. After looking at the tiles, I think I want to visit a library and check out some children’s books. What better way to activate imagination? And relearn wisdom.

The benches stand not far from renowned artist Victor Ochoa’s beautiful Tree of Life, which I photographed while walking around the park last weekend. See those photos here.

Trail to Literacy painted tile bench near a water fountain.
Trail to Literacy painted tile bench near a water fountain.
The Paperboy.
The Paperboy.
Dogzilla.
Dogzilla.
Froggy Gets Dressed.
Froggy Gets Dressed.
The Cat in the Hat.
The Cat in the Hat.
The Gingerbread Man.
The Gingerbread Man.
Flipper and Where the Wild Things Are.
Flipper and Where the Wild Things Are.
Quetzalcoatl on the side of one bench.
Quetzalcoatl on the side of one bench.
A second Trail to Literacy bench at San Ysidro Park.
A second Trail to Literacy bench at San Ysidro Park.
Mulan.
Mulan.
Corduroy.
Corduroy.
La Hermana de Froggy.
La Hermana de Froggy.
Mouse Mess.
Mouse Mess.
Viva Piñata!
Viva Piñata!
Just Imagine with Barney.
Just Imagine with Barney.
El Arbol Generoso.
El Arbol Generoso.
More colorful, imaginative tiles painted by youth.
More colorful tiles painted by creative youth.
Reading activates imagination, teaches knowledge and wisdom, and makes life much more rewarding.
Reading sparks imagination, teaches knowledge and wisdom, and makes life much more rewarding.

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!

Mingei’s lucky Japanese cats visit Friendship Garden.

The Mingei International Museum has a collection of over 150 maneki neko. Maneki neko are Japanese beckoning cats, made of clay, porcelain, metal, rock, wood or other material. They are talismans of good fortune in Japan.

Seventy examples of maneki neko in the Mingei’s collection are now on display in the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden. Both the Mingei and JFG are located in Balboa Park, the cultural center of San Diego. Currently the Mingei’s building–the House of Charm–is closed to the public as it undergoes a major renovation.

This afternoon I visited the Japanese Friendship Garden and viewed this exhibition. It’s simply titled: Maneki Neko – Japan’s Beckoning Cats.

I must admit that until today I knew nothing about maneki neko. While admiring the many beckoning cats, I read some informative signs.

I learned that a maneki neko with a raised right paw indicates a wave of good fortune to a home, and a raised left paw brings luck to a business. The higher the paw, the greater the good fortune!

I learned maneki neko sometime wear colorful bibs, which represent an expression of gratitude for a wish realized. Also, the color of the cat is meaningful. Black symbolizes safety, gold symbolizes money, white symbolizes happiness, red symbolizes protection.

I learned about Hatsutatsu-san, a popular variety of beckoning cat that wears human clothing! (You can see an example in an upcoming photo.)

I also learned about a few of the different kilns in Japan that produce maneki neko, and how each kiln has its own distinctive style.

When you view this exhibition, you’ll probably learn a lot, too! And you’ll be charmed by the beauty and unique personality of every beckoning cat.

Planning a trip to Balboa Park? This wonderful exhibition can be enjoyed at the Japanese Friendship Garden through November 29, 2020.

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!

Surprising art on two Barrio Logan corners!

Some surprising and truly fantastic art can be observed on two adjacent street corners in Barrio Logan. I spotted these during a recent walk through the neighborhood.

I was looking up at some banners hung from a street lamp at Main Street and Beardsley Street when I suddenly noticed some incredible wire art suspended nearby! I have no idea who created this unique sculptural artwork! I think the creature grasping a bug has been up there for a while, because it’s visible on Google’s street view.

Fantastic wire art hung from a street lamp at Main Street and Beardsley Street in Barrio Logan!
Fantastic wire art hung from a street lamp at Main Street and Beardsley Street in Barrio Logan!

The two square mosaic panels at Newton Avenue and Beardsley Street decorate a building of Perkins Elementary School. Colorful ceramic fish swim through water-blue tiles! I don’t know who made this artwork, either. Students perhaps?

If you know anything, leave a comment!

Two mosaics depicting colorful fish outside Perkins Elementary School at Newton Avenue and Beardsley Street in Barrio Logan.
Two mosaics depicting colorful fish, located outside Perkins Elementary School at Newton Avenue and Beardsley Street in Barrio Logan.

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!

The face of one very cool mural in East Village!

Cool face of East Village mural by Carly Ealey and Christopher Konecki of Cohort Collective.
Cool face of an East Village mural by Carly Ealey and Christopher Konecki.

I spotted a very cool face during my walk through East Village last weekend! It was spray painted in a nook that might be easy to miss.

The mural was created in 2019 by Carly Ealey and Christopher Konecki of Cohort Collective. If those names seem familiar, their fantastic art can be enjoyed all over the city. (They have another mural with a similar vibe and palette of colors on nearby Park Boulevard. See photos of that one here.)

You can find this cool face near the corner of 15th Street and K Street, not far from the entrance to the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition.

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!

Birds gather election ballots on a city wall!

On Saturday morning I walked through downtown San Diego’s East Village.

As I headed along Market Street and approached Tenth Avenue, I noticed something interesting on a wall next to the Grocery Outlet parking lot. I had discovered a flock of birds gathering ballots!

The graphic pasted to the wall, which promotes voting in the upcoming general election, was created by Ramzy Masri, a New York based graphic designer, photographer and artist. Click the photograph below and you can more easily read what is written. In a nutshell, the mural is “part of a series inspired by the idea that ‘voting is voice.’ It’s one of five designs for fifty murals currently on view in ten cities across the country…”

The mural is sponsored by the non-partisan Voting Information Center on Facebook, which is found here.

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!

Murals behind San Ysidro’s The Front gallery!

An astonishing abstract face painted on the rear of The FRONT art gallery in San Ysidro!
An astonishing abstract face painted on the rear of The FRONT art gallery in San Ysidro!

As you saw in my last blog post, yesterday I enjoyed a tour of the “Walls – Cross Border Urban Art/Muros – Arte Urbano Interfronterizo” outdoor mural exhibition in San Ysidro.

After Francisco Morales, Gallery Director of The FRONT Arte Cultura, provided a walking tour of the exhibition’s public murals, we took a short walk through The FRONT gallery building itself. When we stepped out back, where there’s a small parking area, my eyes opened wide. More amazing murals!

The dazzling abstract face, which appears to me like a joining of the technological and the spiritual, was painted in 2013 by two popular, well-known artists.

The left half was created by Gibran Isaias Lopez, commonly known as Isaias Crow. His work appears in several places on Cool San Diego Sights. A few weeks ago I posted photos of his incredible mural at Pacific Beach Elementary School here!

The right half of the mural is the creation of Jari “Werc” Alvarez, who was born in Cd. Juárez, Mexico and raised in El Paso, Texas. He spends a lot of time working in New York City. You might have seen a past mural he painted at San Diego International Airport. I took a photo of it four years ago here.

A second, very wonderful mural beside The FRONT’s rear parking area depicts colorful, smiling sea creatures. I learned it was painted years ago by lots of happy kids.

The FRONT Arte Cultura is a very cool gallery operated by the San Ysidro community organization Casa Familiar. The gallery hosts a variety of exhibitions, educational programs and community events.

Check out The FRONT’s website here. If you’re a lover of art, music and culture, you should listen to their series of podcasts!

The FRONT Arte Cultura is an art gallery in San Ysidro operated by the community organization Casa Familiar.
The FRONT Arte Cultura is an art gallery in San Ysidro operated by the community organization Casa Familiar.
This extraordinary mural, created in 2013, can be found behind The FRONT art gallery, beside a parking area. The left side was painted by Isaias Crow, the right side by Werc Alvarez.
This extraordinary mural, created in 2013, can be found behind The FRONT art gallery, beside a parking area. The left side was spray painted by Isaias Crow, the right side by Werc Alvarez.
Francisco Morales, Gallery Director of The FRONT, smiles for a photo by this very cool mural.
Francisco Morales, Gallery Director of The FRONT, smiles for a photo by this very cool mural.

Another fun mural beside the parking area was painted years ago by happy kids. I've never seen so many smiling sea creatures!
Another fun mural beside the parking area was painted years ago by happy kids. I’ve never seen so many smiling sea creatures!

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!

Amazing murals in cross-border art exhibition!

An international cross-border exhibition of urban art can now be enjoyed in both San Diego and Tijuana. Nine amazing, newly painted outdoor murals, created by regional artists in Southern California and Mexico, are part of this binational exhibition, which is titled Walls – Cross Border Urban Art/Muros – Arte Urbano Interfronterizo. The event is a collaboration between the San Ysidro community development organization Casa Familiar and the Municipal Institute of Art and Culture of Tijuana.

Yesterday I was given a tour of some of the murals that were created north of the border. My guide was Francisco Morales, Gallery Director of The FRONT, Casa Familiar’s art gallery at 147 W. San Ysidro Boulevard. The FRONT Arte Cultura is a cool community gathering place for exhibitions, concerts, education, and other cultural and artistic engagement.

The FRONT Arte Cultura is an art gallery in San Ysidro operated by the community organization Casa Familiar.
The FRONT Arte Cultura is a gallery in San Ysidro operated by the community organization Casa Familiar.

We began by looking at the following indoor mural, which was spray painted just inside The FRONT gallery by artist Juan Carlos Galindo, who is known as GRVR. His urban art is like graffiti with a surreal pop art quality, full of the color, zest and dynamism of life near the border. I was told that at night the brightly lit mural attracts attention through the gallery’s front window, luring the eyes of those walking or driving by.

We then crossed San Ysidro Boulevard to take a look at the three nearest outdoor murals.

The following amazing artwork by Mary Jhun, an artist representing the Filipino community, is a work in progress. It will be a permanent addition to what used to be an old hotel called La Nola, an historic building that will be renovated and repurposed along with several other nearby buildings.

Next is a colorful mural by Jorge Mendoza, whose very cool Nest Murals in Barrio Logan I once photographed here.

The third mural across the street from The FRONT gallery is by Stephanie “Fifi” Martinez, who is a very talented cartoonist and student at San Diego City College. Her themes often concern emotional turmoil and inspiration, as you can see in this really great mural she painted.

We then walked a short distance down San Ysidro Boulevard to the El Rincon Restaurant, whose outdoor wall was painted by Michelle Ruby, who is also known as Mrbbaby. Her pinata character Chucho is riding with a doll atop a colorful Quetzalcoatl, who appears to be in love with the moon! (I must admit this was my favorite.)

A variety of older murals in the neighborhood are also included in the Walls – Cross Border Urban Art exhibition. You can see a Google map of all the mural locations that are in San Ysidro by clicking here. I happened to photograph two older murals by Sand One and Victor Ochoa on a previous walk. You can see those two great murals by clicking here!

After viewing the above Mrbbaby mural, we walked north up Cypress Drive. I was told by Francisco that this walkable stretch that connects The FRONT gallery to the San Ysidro Branch Library is called the Cultural Corridor.

Near an open park-like space where the annual Día de San Ysidro/San Ysidro Day event is held we paused to admire two more murals on a low wall. The fun swirly one was painted by Luisa Martinez and David Pena during the 2019 community festival; the other was created more recently by Hector Villegas to encourage participation in the 2020 Census.

As you can see, the murals that are included in this binational exhibition are rather amazing. I’m told the murals in Tijuana are equally superb! Unfortunately, as I write this, the border is closed to all but essential workers due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

If you’d like to learn more about the Walls – Cross Border Urban Art/Muros – Arte Urbano Interfronterizo exhibition, or visit Casa Familiar’s very cool The FRONT Arte Cultura gallery in San Ysidro, make sure to go to this web page for much more detailed information!

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!

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!