Honoring those who make the world more beautiful.

Beauty fills and surrounds the Botanical Building in Balboa Park. As do words that honor those who’ve made our world more beautiful.

Seeds that were planted many years ago live on and on.

Last weekend I saw and read a few plaques.

Alfred D. Robinson, Founding President of the San Diego Floral Association in 1907, originated the use of a "lath house" for displaying plants at the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Alfred D. Robinson, Founding President of the San Diego Floral Association in 1907, originated the use of a “lath house” for displaying plants at the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

Ruth C. Smith, founder of the City Beautiful of San Diego, has left a legacy of beauty for all San Diegans to enjoy for years to come.
Ruth C. Smith, founder of the City Beautiful of San Diego, who worked to plant 10,000 trees in San Diego parks, has left a legacy of beauty for all San Diegans to enjoy for years to come.

In Memory of Miss Daisy O. Tompkins, Teacher. This world is a better place because of her.
In Memory of Miss Daisy O. Tompkins, Teacher. This world is a better place because of her.

Barbara Hart McLean. Artist, Scientist, Mother, Friend. She loved life in all of its diversity and color.
Barbara Hart McLean. Artist, Scientist, Mother, Friend. She loved life in all of its diversity and color.

Honoring a man whose vision of a Botanical Building became reality, adding beauty to the lives of millions.
Honoring a man whose vision of a “Palace of Lath” became reality, adding beauty to the lives of millions of Balboa Park visitors for over a century.

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!

Walk under an enormous, historic tree!

Would you like to walk beneath the branches of one of the most impressive and beloved trees in San Diego?

I remember when I was a boy, people used to walk right up to the trunk of the huge Moreton Bay Fig tree in Balboa Park–that enormous tree just north of the Natural History Museum. Kids would even climb about its limbs. But over the years too many feet compacted the soil above the tree’s root system, threatening to kill it. So the historic tree, planted just before the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park, was fenced off to the public.

But there are plans that will allow people to approach this mighty tree once again!

A raised platform is to be built at the base of the Moreton Bay Fig. The structure will not interfere with the tree’s root system, which has been carefully mapped. Once the project is complete, the public will be able to more fully appreciate the beauty and majesty of this amazing 78 feet tall tree.

The Friends of Balboa Park, an organization whose mission is to preserve Balboa Park’s legacy for future generations, is raising money to construct the platform, and they could use a few more donations.

If you’d like to learn more about this cool project, and perhaps help out the Friends of Balboa Park, visit their website here!

Sign in Balboa Park describes Ficus macrophylla, the Moreton Bay Fig.
An old photograph from my blog of a sign in Balboa Park. It describes this particular Ficus macrophylla, or Moreton Bay Fig. The enormous tree is listed as a co-champion with the Santa Barbara Fig in the California Department of Forestry Registry of Big Trees.

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 festival of diverse cultures in Balboa Park!

The House of Scotland Pipe Band marches musically to the stage during the HPR Entertainment Sampler.
The House of Scotland Pipe Band marches musically to the stage during the HPR Entertainment Sampler.

Today many diverse cultures were celebrated in Balboa Park at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. That’s because this Sunday afternoon was the festive HPR Entertainment Sampler!

As I enjoyed San Diego sunshine on the lawn at the International Cottages, I watched different groups dance, sing and play music representing people around the world. Participants in this year’s “HPR Entertainment Sampler” were Queens from the House of Philippines and the House of Peru, plus entertainers belonging to the House of China, the House of Israel, the House of Chamorros and the House of Scotland.

Today’s entertainment was a small sample of the welcoming, colorful culture that anyone can enjoy during a visit to Balboa Park’s International Cottages, which are open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm!

These costumed pipers were providing entertainment as people arrived at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
These costumed pipers were providing entertainment as people arrived at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Queens representing some of the Houses at the International Cottages performed dances during the festival.
Queens representing some of the Houses at the International Cottages performed dances during the festival.
The smiling Queens were obviously enjoying themselves.
The smiling Queens were obviously enjoying themselves.
The Chinese Dance Lover Group of the House of China performs!
The Chinese Dance Lover Group of the House of China performs!
A guitarist representing the House of Israel sings a Hebrew song while people dance happily on the stage.
A guitarist representing the House of Israel sings a Hebrew song while people dance happily on the stage.
Musicians from the House of Chamorros entertained those listening with several catchy, fun songs.
Musicians from the House of Chamorros entertained those listening with several catchy, fun songs.
The big, booming House of Scotland Pipe Band drum keeps rhythm with the assembled bagpipers.
The big, booming House of Scotland Pipe Band drum keeps rhythm with bagpipers.
Many cultures from around the world are celebrated and live in harmony at Balboa Park's unique House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Many cultures from around the world are celebrated and live in harmony at Balboa Park’s unique House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

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WonderCon art at the Comic-Con Museum!

Another super cool exhibition opened this evening in Balboa Park at the future home of the Comic-Con Museum!

Sense of Wonder: The Art of WonderCon Anaheim features a gallery full of original artwork used for the covers of WonderCon program books. Many top comic artists have created these covers over the years, and visitors this evening were admiring sketches, thumbnails and finished pieces by the likes of Jim Lee, Dan Jurgens, and many others.

Before everyone filtered into the gallery, the 2020 WonderCon program book cover by artist Jen Bartel, winner in 2019 of an Eisner Award, was revealed: a stunning rendition of Wonder Woman with her golden Lasso of Truth! There was applause all around!

This great exhibition will be open to public on select dates through May 31, 2020.  If you’re in San Diego and love either WonderCon or Comic-Con, or if you have kids who love superheroes–particularly DC characters like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman–don’t miss it!

Follow the Comic-Con Museum’s Facebook page here for more info!

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!

Exhibit illuminates intersection of art and science.

More, 2019, by Sheena Rae Dowling. Luminous sculpture in a darkened space depicts the scan of a healthy brain with normal rhythmic functions.
More, 2019, by Sheena Rae Dowling. Luminous sculpture in a darkened space depicts the scan of a healthy brain with normal rhythmic functions.

Art and science have much in common. Both explore deep mysteries and seek essential truths. Both often take paths that are complex. Both produce results that are often surprising.

A new exhibition at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park explores the intersection of art and science. Illumination, 21st Century Interactions With Art and Science and Technology features thought-provoking pieces by 26 artists, many of whom were inspired by personal interactions with local scientists and technologists. Themes explored include Global Health and Discovery, Climate Change and Sustainability, and Technology and the Touch Screen.

Many of the pieces concern biology and biotechnology. That isn’t surprising. San Diego is a world center of biotech research. Many of the scientists who’ve inspired this artwork are making breakthrough discoveries at local institutions, like UC San Diego and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

If you want to be stimulated, step through the door of the San Diego Art Institute. Bop about this exhibition like a particle undergoing Brownian motion or a dawning Artificial Intelligence. You’ll encounter illuminating artwork that really opens your eyes and mind.

Don’t be left in the dark! Illumination turns off after May 3, 2020.

Illumination, 21st Century Interactions With Art and Science and Technology, lights up the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park.
Illumination, 21st Century Interactions With Art and Science and Technology, lights up the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park.
Moving through a gallery full of strangeness. Complex mysteries and unseen realities surround and penetrate each of us.
Moving through a gallery full of strangeness. Complex mysteries and unseen realities surround and penetrate us all.
Nucleus 1, 2019, by Anne Mudge. Artistic wire representation of folded strands of DNA, which in reality are about 6.5 feet long and packed inside a cell's microscopic nucleus.
Nucleus 1, 2019, by Anne Mudge. Artistic wire representation of folded strands of DNA, which in reality are about 6.5 feet long and packed inside a cell’s microscopic nucleus.
Leap of Faith, 2019, by Becky Robbins. Art, like science, begins with an idea that leads to questions. Links between considered elements appear. Some connections are obvious, others are vague.
Leap of Faith, 2019, by Becky Robbins. Art, like science, begins with an idea that leads to questions. Links between considered elements appear. Some connections are obvious, others are vague.
building, 2019, by Beliz Iristay. Deaf adults without a linguistic foundation early in life have altered neural structure, with long-term effects on mastery of complex grammar.
building, 2019, by Beliz Iristay. Deaf adults without a linguistic foundation early in life have altered neural structure, with long-term effects on mastery of complex grammar.
Chromosome 22, 2020, by Cy Kuckenbaker. The artwork includes a book-like printout of some 10,000 pages of a data sequence in the smallest of 23 human chromosomes.
Chromosome 22, 2020, by Cy Kuckenbaker. The artwork includes a book-like printout of some 10,000 pages of a data sequence in the smallest of 23 human chromosomes.
Shining Palimpsest, by Young Joon Kwak. I, you, she, he, they, we, it--tangled, twisted, uncertain. Who we are and how we are viewed depends on perspective.
Shining Palimpsest, by Young Joon Kwak. I, you, she, he, they, we, it–words that are tangled, twisted, sometimes uncertain. Who we are and how we are viewed depends on perspective.

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!

Early cherry blossoms promise a new spring.

How the seasons fly.

I saw a few cherry blossoms today during a walk through the Lower Garden of the Japanese Friendship Garden. Next month, from March 16 to March 20, my favorite garden in Balboa Park will host 2020 Cherry Blossom Week.

I suppose I’ll be going again.

The few early blossoms are familiar magic.

Spring soon returns.

Another renewal.

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!

Amazing chromatic ceramics dazzle the eye!

Check out the latest exhibition at Balboa Park’s always amazing Japanese Friendship Garden!

The Chromatic Ceramic Collection: John Conrad features unique ceramic creations whose shining colors dance and change depending on the angle from which they are viewed!

These refractive pieces, which include patterned discs and vases in different shapes, have to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. As you move about the garden’s Exhibit Hall, you seem to the find the end of many rainbows.

According to the Japanese Friendship Garden’s website: “Culminating over 60 years of research and experiments, artist John Conrad developed the spectacular finish that is seen on the Chromatic Collection…The chromatic finish is a combination of metallic flake and silica, which is then adhered onto porcelain using modern plasma technology…”

I was struck during my visit on Sunday how these brilliant ceramics resemble in many respects the holographic paintings of Tom Liguori, another local innovator whose work can be seen here.

I’ve included photographs of a few radiant discs to provide an idea of what you’ll experience. The vases, if anything, are even more beautiful.

Visionary artists continue to find new ways to express and combine form, light and color. It seems the potential for beauty is infinite.

The Chromatic Ceramic Collection: John Conrad can be viewed through April 26, 2020 at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

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!