Cool photo memories from October 2015.

Ready to relive some amazing memories? October 2015 was a very eventful month for Cool San Diego Sights!

Among other things, I took photos of San Diego’s first ever Maker Faire in Balboa Park, including a gigantic fire-breathing robot; a religious procession through Little Italy as the tuna fleet received its traditional yearly blessing; and colorful Balboa Park-themed chalk art at Little Italy’s Festa.

I also had my first look at the seldom visited USS Bennington Memorial Grove in Balboa Park and the historic Mason Street School in Old Town, and I learned about the history of a Navy plaque near the USS Midway Museum that nobody seemed to know anything about!

Click the following links to revisit blog posts from five years ago and enjoy lots of cool photos!

Super cool photos of San Diego’s first Maker Faire!

Photos of Little Italy procession to bless tuna fleet.

USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park.

Amazing Balboa Park chalk art at Little Italy’s Festa!

Creating a plaque: Navy history in San Diego revealed!

Life in 1865 at Old Town’s Mason Street School.

Unusual new public art at Little Italy trolley station.

Thriller flash mob scares Balboa Park visitors!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

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A beautiful October day in Balboa Park!

Enjoy these photographs taken this afternoon in Balboa Park.

It’s a Wednesday in early October. The summer tourists are gone. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 goes on. Not surprisingly, few people were about.

As always, the park was very beautiful.

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!

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!

Dappled beauty at Japanese Friendship Garden.

This afternoon I enjoyed a new exhibition of beautiful cultural artifacts at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. The exhibition, featuring pieces in the collection of the Mingei International Museum, concerns Japanese maneki neko, which are beckoning cat figurines believed to bring good luck.

Beforehand and afterward, I walked about the garden. Everywhere I turned I saw dappled light and shadow–in trees, on rocks, on the grass. So I took these photographs of the surrounding beauty…

If you love the Japanese Friendship Garden and would like to walk with them as they grow, read the above sign.

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!

Life returns to Balboa Park one strange summer.

It’s late summer. It has been a very strange year.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted almost every aspect of our lives. But even though we still wear face masks and keep our social distance, there’s a sense in Balboa Park that a more normal life is slowly returning.

Earlier in the spring and summer the park was eerily quiet. But in the past week I’ve noticed growing numbers of visitors. There seems to be a desire to recover a small part of a disrupted summer.

Some of the museums have reopened. Vendors and street performers along El Prado are back. Picnics on the grass have become numerous. People are once again posing for pictures by the lily pond.

The sunshine and beautiful flowers never went away.

I took these photographs during walks through Balboa Park yesterday and on Labor Day.

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!

See how amazing the Comic-Con Museum will be!

Are you wondering how amazing the Comic-Con Museum will be when it has its Grand Opening in Balboa Park in 2021?

It promises to be super amazing!

Check out this web page to see a video fly-through of the future museum’s layout and features. Numerous renovations and additions to the museum will continue from it’s Opening Day in 2021 through 2024.

The Comic-Con Museum is going to be the place where pop culture fans of all ages go for a wide range of unique experiences–to be dazzled, learn, create and simply have fun.

Students will have access to an Education Center where STEAM learning will be emphasized. The museum will have multiple rotating art galleries, areas where fans can participate in panels, movie nights, workshops and a variety of special events, a super cool lounge area above it all for social gatherings, tabletop gaming, book club meetings and more, plus a cafe with ever-changing themes, and a store filled with comic books, graphic novels, and all sorts of cool, collectible merchandise. There will also be an Online Museum for those fans who can’t make it to San Diego, or who’d like to enhance their visit!

And much of the Comic-Con Museum’s programming will be determined by the community of fans!

Does that sound pretty amazing to you?

Check out this web page for all the details!

An artist's rendering of what the entrance to the Comic-Con Museum will appear like when it opens in San Diego!
An artist’s early rendering of what the entrance to the Comic-Con Museum might appear like when it opens in San Diego!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! And I’m an excited Comic-Con Museum charter member! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A fine art salon at the San Diego History Center!

Several museums in Balboa Park have reopened this Labor Day weekend. Among them is one of my favorite destinations–the San Diego History Center.

I ventured inside the museum this afternoon and discovered an amazing exhibit that I hadn’t yet experienced.

Revealed: The San Diego History Center’s Fine Art Collection presents many great examples of art in the San Diego History Center’s permanent collection. Dozens of paintings are arranged on several large walls in a salon style exhibition. A wide variety of important regional artists are represented, including Belle Baranceanu, Ivan Messenger, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, Dan Dickey, Dorr Bothwell, Alfred R. Mitchell, Maurice Braun, and Charles Reiffel.

What I enjoyed most about his exhibition was an amazing video documentary projected against one wall that concerns the creation of San Diego’s iconic sculpture, Guardian of Water. The video follows the conception and painstaking production of this extraordinary public artwork by renowned San Diego sculptor Donal Hord.

If you’ve ever wondered how that beautiful fountain and sculpture ended up on the waterfront side of the San Diego County Administration Building, you want to view this documentary!

Are you planning a visit to Balboa Park? Look for the Casa de Balboa near the east end of El Prado and step through the door of the San Diego History Center. Admission is free, but a donation is greatly appreciated. And while the COVID-19 pandemic persists, make sure to bring a face covering!

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!

Music education fund honors past Civic Organist.

The Spreckels Organ Society has announced that their increasingly important music education fund is now named after beloved past Civic Organist Jared Jacobsen.

According to the Spreckels Organ Society website’s page concerning this news, the Jared Jacobsen Educational Fund: “…underwrites the visits made by elementary school class groups to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion for mini-concerts and a peek backstage…” In addition, new financial support offered up in honor of Jared has allowed the Spreckels Organ Society to produce “a foundation on which to plan more ‘distance learning’ options for educational programs, identifying projects that can introduce the organ to students everywhere…”

There are certain things I especially love in San Diego that I blog about repeatedly. The Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park is near the top of that list. I can’t tell you how much enjoyment and inspiration I’ve received while attending free Sunday organ concerts over the years.

Indeed, thousands of music lovers in San Diego and around the world are inspired by the great Spreckels Organ. And by San Diego’s extraordinary Civic Organists, too!

So, during this period in time when we’re all trying to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, I was excited to learn the Spreckels Organ Society is planning to implement more distance learning. Music in our schools, and in the life of young people, should thrive no matter the present circumstances! Don’t you think?

Imagine. Kids have the amazing opportunity to learn from Raúl Prieto Ramírez, one of the world’s recognized top concert organists! That’s pretty special.

If you’d like to make a donation to the Jared Jacobsen Educational Fund, click here then scroll down for more detailed information.

Memories from the San Diego Museum of Art.

Exquisitely beautiful art shines at the Nancy Lorenz-Moon Gold exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art.
Exquisitely beautiful art shines at the Nancy Lorenz-Moon Gold exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art.

One terrible thing about the COVID-19 pandemic is the ongoing closure of so many great cultural institutions. Including museums.

One of my very favorite museums is the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Not only does SDMA feature masterpieces by important artists from all around the world, but it draws major exhibitions to our city. (Plus, my museum docent friend provides awesome tours!)

I’ve blogged about events and exhibitions at SDMA many times over the years. Because I miss visiting the museum–and perhaps you do, too–I figured now would be a good time to revisit some memories. Click the upcoming links to take a look at past exhibitions that I personally really enjoyed!

If you want to visit the San Diego Museum of Art virtually while it’s temporarily closed, check out their online activities page by clicking here! You’ll find podcasts, a cool app that allows you to remotely view the galleries, videos of lectures and performances, creative ideas for artists and art students, a book club, and a whole lot more!

Child Holding Book, Los Angeles, 1983, Guy Crowder.
Child Holding Book, Los Angeles, 1983, Guy Crowder.

Here come the links!

Black life and civil rights in Southern California.

Moon Gold shines in San Diego Museum of Art!

Alfred Mitchell’s fine paintings of San Diego.

Rare exhibition of Modern Masters from Latin America.

The fantastic art of Richard Deacon in San Diego!

Bathing, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, undated.
Bathing, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, undated.

The Native, oil on canvas, ca. 1936. Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mexican, 1871-1946.
The Native, oil on canvas, ca. 1936. Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mexican, 1871-1946.

Across this room soars Like a Bird. Laminated wood, 1984. Richard Deacon creates spacious wonders that tickle the mind and expand the spirit.
Across this room soars Like a Bird. Laminated wood, 1984. Richard Deacon creates spacious wonders that tickle the mind and expand the spirit.

Early American quilts: amazing color and patterns!

Amazing animal bronzes at San Diego Museum of Art!

The Art of Music lives in San Diego!

Museum exhibit brings Coney Island to San Diego!

Amazing modern masterpieces visit San Diego.

Fighting Buffalo, Arthur Putnam, 1900. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Fighting Buffalo, Arthur Putnam, 1900. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.

Amazing early American quilts on display at the San Diego Museum of Art feature beautifully contrasted colors and abstract designs.
Amazing early American quilts on display at the San Diego Museum of Art feature beautifully contrasted colors and abstract designs.

Vincent Van Gogh, The Old Mill, 1888, courtesy the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
Vincent Van Gogh, The Old Mill, 1888, courtesy the Albright-Knox Art 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!

Balboa Park celebrates anniversary of 19th Amendment.

The California Tower in Balboa Park is lit purple and gold to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
The California Tower in Balboa Park is lit purple and gold to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

This week the California Tower in Balboa Park will be lit purple and gold at night. It’s part of a nationwide celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees women the right to vote.

The Forward Into Light campaign has asked that monuments across the nation be lit up to mark this important anniversary, which officially takes place tomorrow. The 19th Amendment was certified on August 26, 1920.

In addition to the California Tower, every night this week the San Diego Convention Center’s sails and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument will be turned purple and gold.

This morning I walked from downtown up to Balboa Park to see the tower just before sunrise. The California Building’s elaborate facade was illuminated with soft purple light, and a golden Museum of Us was splashed upon the tower. The Museum of Us is the new name for the Museum of Man, which occupies the iconic building that was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

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!