A shining Flame of Friendship from Mexico.

Flame of Friendship sculpture at Convention Center.
Flame of Friendship sculpture at Convention Center.

The Flame of Friendship burns near the heart of the city. You’ll find it on a prominent stair landing of the San Diego Convention Center, overlooking the Marriott Marina and San Diego Bay. The flame is a silvery stainless steel sculpture presented to San Diego by Mexico. In Spanish it is Flama De La Amistad.

Many eyes have been dazzled by this sunlit symbol of friendship. The artist who created the interesting abstract form is Leonardo Nierman, of Mexico City.

I walked around it and took several pics from different angles!

Light reflects from shining sculpture.
Light reflects from shining sculpture.
Flame of Friendship from another angle.
Flame of Friendship from another angle.
Cool sight at the San Diego Convention Center.
Cool sight at the San Diego Convention Center.
Friendship between San Diego and Mexico.
Friendship between San Diego and Mexico.
Sunlight glow behind silvery work of art.
Sunlight glow behind silvery work of art.
Tangled arcs of light in the San Diego sky.
Tangled arcs of light in the San Diego sky.
Flame of Friendship with hotels in background.
Flame of Friendship with hotels in background.

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A few cool sights around Mercado del Barrio.

Cool mural in new Barrio Logan development.
Cool mural in dynamic new Barrio Logan development.

Mercado del Barrio is a relatively new retail development on Cesar Chavez Parkway just south of downtown San Diego. It was designed to help revitalize Barrio Logan. You can find it situated near the base of the Coronado Bay Bridge, right next to Chicano Park. A number of very colorful murals add life to the new buildings. Some of the art can be seen when driving over the bridge.

Walking around the area I took a few cool pics that you might enjoy!

Artwork on a new building close to Chicano Park.
Artwork on a new building close to Chicano Park.
Face on bold mural at Mercado del Barrio.
Face on very colorful mural at Mercado del Barrio.
Looking up beneath the Coronado Bay Bridge.
Looking up beneath the Coronado Bay Bridge.
Construction fence street art along Cesar Chavez Parkway.
Construction fence street art along Cesar Chavez Parkway.
Street art on transformer claims commercial area is part of Chicano Park.
Street art on transformer claims commercial area is part of Chicano Park.
Colorful art above a store's glass door.
Colorful art above a store’s glass door.
Beautiful artwork near door of Estrella del Mercado Apartments.
Beautiful artwork near door of Estrella del Mercado Apartments.
Eye-catching artwork adds color to a new shopping center.
Eye-catching artwork adds color to a new shopping center.
Light and shadow add complexity to a fun abstract image.
Light and shadow add complexity to a fun abstract image.
These dancers are visible when driving over the Coronado Bay Bridge.
These dancers are visible when driving over the Coronado Bay Bridge.
Mercado del Barrio building seen in distance behind a mural in Chicano Park.
Mercado del Barrio building seen in distance behind bold artwork in famous Chicano Park.

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The iconic Guardian of Water sculpture.

Guardian of Water sculpture faces San Diego Bay.
Guardian of Water sculpture faces San Diego Bay.

Two of San Diego’s most iconic sights can be found in close proximity. The Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship, attracts tourists just a few steps down the Embarcadero from Donal Hord’s classic Guardian of Water sculpture.

Postcards and brochures promoting San Diego are often graced with this elegant granite sculpture. Since 1939 it has stood facing San Diego Bay at the foot of the County Administration Building.

In part funded by the Works Progress Administration, the famous sculpture depicts a simple pioneer woman holding a jug of water. Pictured in the mosaic tiles and basin are cloudlike water-bearing nudes, a dam, an orchard of citrus fruit trees, dolphins, fish and sea snails!

Donal Hord sculpture debuted in 1939.
Donal Hord’s sculpture debuted in 1939.
Side view of the iconic Guardian of Water.
Side view of the iconic Guardian of Water.
County Administration Building in background.
County Administration Building stands in background.
Sea snail on basin of the Guardian of Water.
Sea snail on basin of the Guardian of Water.

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A fanciful bit of public art on Shelter Island.

Pacific Portal on Shelter Island by James T. Hubbell.
Pacific Portal on Shelter Island by James T. Hubbell.

Should you ever drive to Shelter Island, you’ll probably see a large, very unusual gazebo between the central traffic circle and San Diego Bay. It’s just one part of the large collection of public art lining the narrow island.

The Pacific Portal is a sculptural gazebo made of sprayed, reinforced concrete. It was erected eight years ago, replacing an old, more traditional Rotary Club pavilion. Nearby you’ll also find a small trellis structure and an interesting sculpture made of wrought iron.

The artist, James T. Hubbell, also designed the Pearl of the Pacific, the colorful public artwork featured in Pacific Rim Park at the southern end of Shelter Island.

While Pacific Portal is officially said to be a community gathering place, it’s located off the beaten track where few people walk, and offers few places to sit and relax. It seems to be more ostentatious than functional. Which strikes me as rather unfortunate.

Fanciful gazebo by the water is made of concrete.
Fanciful gazebo by the water is made of concrete.
Mosaic adds color to the curved interior of Pacific Portal.
Mosaic adds color to the curved interior of Pacific Portal.

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Mexican clay art in San Diego’s Old Town.

Miranda's Courtyard in San Diego's Old Town.
Miranda’s Courtyard in San Diego’s Old Town.

Everywhere you go in San Diego’s Old Town there are touristy shops selling Mexican curios. As I walked along one typical street last Sunday, I was struck by the dazzling array of patio ornaments on display outside a place called Miranda’s Courtyard.

I took several photos from the sidewalk. According to reviews on Yelp, Miranda’s Courtyard sells Mexican religious art, terra cotta suns, Talavera clay pottery, and just a huge bunch of colorful knick knacks.

Photo of suns and moons taken from sidewalk.
Photo of suns and moons taken from sidewalk.
Lots of colorful trinkets and home decorations.
Lots of colorful trinkets and home decorations.
Seems you could spend a whole day at this place!
Seems you could spend a whole day at this place!
Lady checks out Mexican curios at Miranda's Courtyard.
Lady checks out Mexican curios at Miranda’s Courtyard.

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Bibbey’s crazy, cool pop culture mural!

Bibbey's mural includes Finding Nemo and SpongeBob.
Bibbey’s mural includes Finding Nemo and SpongeBob.

Bibbey’s gift shop, which sells sea shells, rocks and other great stuff, is located across the street from the Imperial Beach pier. It’s hard to miss. The building is one big crazy mural! Check out the wild creativity which blends images from television, movies and the popular culture.

Cosmic ocean imagery in an Imperial Beach mural.
Cosmic ocean fantasy and an Imperial Beach mural.
Fierce octopus guards door of cool gift shop.
Fierce octopus guards door of cool gift shop.
A mermaid, the Lorax and other fun elements.
A sexy mermaid, the Lorax and other fun elements.
Kung Fu Panda and a surfing dragon!
Kung Fu Panda and a surfing dragon!
Madagascar penguins and Patrick.
Madagascar penguins and Patrick.
Someone enters Bibbey's gift shop.
Someone enters Bibbey’s gift shop.
Another great section of Bibbey's crazy mural.
Another great section of Bibbey’s crazy mural.
Shark spotted on wall of Imperial Beach building!
Shark spotted on wall of Imperial Beach building!

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The Spirit of Imperial Beach surfer sculpture.

Bronze surfer holds surfboard in Imperial Beach.
Bronze surfer holds surfboard in Imperial Beach.

A short walk north of the Imperial Beach pier takes you to this delightful sculpture. The Spirit of Imperial Beach is 18 feet high and incorporates many fun elements. The sandcastle at its base and the child with a pail recall the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition, which used to be held yearly in Imperial Beach. (Several years ago the competition was replaced by the Sun and Sea Festival.)

Child rides a fish near the beach.
Child rides a fish near the beach.
Spirit of Imperial Beach by James A. Wasil.
Spirit of Imperial Beach by James A. Wasil.
Crabs, shells, fish, sandcastle and girl with a pail.
Crabs, shells, fish, sandcastle and girl with a pail.
Closer look at amazing detail.
Closer look at amazing detail.
Spirit of Imperial Beach sculpture is north of the pier.
Spirit of Imperial Beach sculpture is just north of the pier.

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