Sculpted children at the Poway Library.

Two children–a small girl and boy–linger in the outdoor courtyard area near the entrance to the Poway Library. Both are made of bronze.

I spotted the sculptures last weekend during my walking adventure in Poway.

These two works of public art, according to a nearby plaque, were created by Ardel Uvon Bloomquist and are dedicated to children of all ages. In 2000 they were donated by the Poway Woman’s Club.

As the girl sits reading a book, the boy walks along carrying his own book, no doubt checked out from this Poway Branch of the San Diego County Library.

I found an old article that describes the Poway Woman’s Club and their acquisition of this artwork here.

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Restoring history at the Gymnasium in Balboa Park!

The Municipal Gymnasium in San Diego’s Balboa Park is a popular destination for local athletes playing basketball. I like to venture inside during a weekend to watch part of a game.

I often wonder if those playing hoops in the old gym know they’re inside a historically important building that was constructed for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.

The Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries building–today’s gymnasium–still retains an indication of its unique origin. Look down as you approach the front door and you’ll see this artwork in the entry…

I learned yesterday from local architect Robert Thiele (whose many accomplishments include designing the beautiful rotunda fountain inside the San Diego Museum of Art) that big changes are coming to this historic building. Decorative elements of the 1935 Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries are being restored!

Later this summer a fantastic 12′ x 20′ cold cast bronze panel will be hung above the entrance with bands of ornament above and below. You can see the bronze panel in that very first photograph.

Several architectural visualizations show how Balboa Park’s Municipal Gymnasium will appear once the panel is installed. Grand ornamental flourishes will crown both the building’s entrance and panel. Compare the following images.

Quite an amazing difference!

I’ve asked people who might be knowledgeable if this historic building, located next to three important San Diego museums, will continue to be used as a gym in the future, but that seems uncertain at this point. If anyone has more information concerning the Municipal Gymnasium’s fate, please leave a comment!

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!

Sea lion at Chase Bank in Pacific Beach.

A sea lion likes to hang out in front of Chase Bank in Pacific Beach. Perhaps you’ve seen it near the corner of Garnet Avenue and Mission Bay Drive!

I don’t know how I missed this bronze sculpture the day I walked around the bank building to photograph its mosaics back in late January. To see the extraordinary mosaics, which depict figures from San Diego history, click here.

Does anyone out there know the story of this sea lion sculpture? Do you have any memories?

It’s standing on soil covered with wood bark in what might have once been a fountain or pool of water, but I can’t tell. When I walked past the fun sculpture on Saturday, I could find no indication of when it was created or by whom.

Please leave a comment if you happen to know anything!

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!

Community sculpture at entrance to Escondido.

If you’ve ever entered or departed downtown Escondido via West Valley Parkway, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a large, quite interesting sculpture a short distance east of Interstate 15. The sculpture stands at the intersection of Valley Parkway and Tulip Street, right next to the Gateway Shopping Center.

The cast bronze sculpture is titled Community. It was created by local artist Jeff Lindeneau in 1990.

The sun’s light forms dynamic human shapes that are “cut out” of the two triangular sections of Community.

According to a City of Escondido walking tour brochure: “This bronze, copper and locally mined granite sculpture celebrates people living and building together to achieve a common goal. The dramatic sculpture’s shape is reminiscent of the mountains surrounding Escondido with a central passageway depicting the valley.”

I like how you can see trees, hillsides, signs, buildings, light posts and electrical wires inside the human shapes. They, too, are part of Community.

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!

Baby Boomers Google in Del Mar!

Today I enjoyed a North County adventure!

My travels included a quick stop in front of the Del Mar Library, to see if Baby Boomers Google had reappeared.

It had!

Last summer I noticed it was missing, and learned some vandals had damaged it. The humorous sculpture by Del Mar artist Maidy Morhous is back!

Before Google, we old-timers had to pore through volumes of reference books and encyclopedias. Not sure about the golden apple on top. Perhaps that’s for a helpful librarian or teacher!

If you’d like to see a couple other Del Mar sculptures that are nearby, one of which was also created by Maidy Morhous, click here.

If you’re curious about the amazing mosaic wall you see in front of the library, click 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!

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!

Bronze wildlife sculptures at Viejas outlet mall.

Many realistic bronze sculptures representing regional wildlife can be found all around the Viejas Outlet Center in Alpine, California. This unique shopping mall, filled with beautiful artwork inspired by Native American Kumeyaay life and culture, is operated by the Viejas Group of Capitan Grande Band of Mission Indians of the Viejas Reservation.

The wildlife sculptures are found throughout the mall, among trees, on pedestrian walkways, even lurking atop artificial rocks and waterfalls. Families turning corners might encounter a bear, mule deer, mountain lions, a rattlesnake, coyote, river otter, Canada geese, and even desert bighorn sheep. Adult animals are often accompanied by their young. The bronze sculptures depict the animals interacting with each other naturally in their small realistic settings.

The wildlife sculptures were created by award-winning El Cajon artist Robert G. Berry, who began as a taxidermist before turning animal sculptor. His work can also be enjoyed at the San Diego Zoo, Cypress Gardens in Tampa, Florida, and at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor and Interpretive Center, which is also in San Diego. To see a few examples of his half dozen bronze sculptures at Mission Trails, click here!

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Sheltering Wings on the bay in Coronado Cays.

Sheltering Wings is an extraordinary bronze sculpture that I discovered during my Saturday walk through the Coronado Cays.

I had reached the east end of Grand Caribe Causeway and was gazing out toward San Diego Bay when I noticed what appeared to be two herons standing on rocks in Grand Caribe Shoreline Park.

Upon closer inspection, I found this beautiful public artwork, the handiwork of renowned sculptor Christopher Slatoff. Sheltering Wings was commissioned by the Port District of San Diego back in 1996.

You can read the bio of Christopher Slatoff at his website here.

I was interested to learn he created another sculpture, The Illustrated Man, in collaboration with one of my very favorite writers, Ray Bradbury!

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!

Firefighters descend pole outside fire station!

Yesterday I observed two firefighters sliding down a fire pole outside San Diego Fire-Rescue Station 44 in Mira Mesa.

Yes, I said outside!

Strangely, the two rapidly descending firefighters never reached the ground. Why? Because they’re life-size bronze figures and part of an extremely cool sculpture titled Firefighters at 44.

Firefighters at 44 debuted at the new fire station back in 2002. The monumental sculpture was created by artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson, whose work can be enjoyed all over San Diego.

(You can see more of their amazing sculptures by checking out certain old blog posts. To do that, click 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!

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!

Statue of Frankie Laine in Little Italy.

Statue of Frankie Laine, legendary singer, songwriter, actor and entertainer, on India Street in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood.
Statue of Frankie Laine, legendary singer, songwriter, actor and entertainer, on India Street in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood.

A life-size bronze statue of legendary entertainer Frankie Laine (born Francesco Paolo LoVecchio) was dedicated this summer in Little Italy. It now stands in front of Nonna, an Italian restaurant owned by Frankie’s long-time friend Joe Busalacchi. You can learn a little more about this statue at the Team Frankie Laine blog here.

Frankie Lane lived the latter part of his life in San Diego’s Point Loma community and frequently visited Little Italy.

The popular singer scored many big hits in the United States and internationally. Some of his best known songs include That’s My Desire, That Lucky Old Sun, Mule Train, Jezebel, High Noon, Save Your Sorrow, I Believe, Cool Water and Rawhide. Western movie theme songs he recorded include 3:10 To Yuma, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and Blazing Saddles. His rock, jazz, folk and blues recordings made him one of the most popular entertainers in the 1940’s and 1950’s. His hits continued right into the 1970’s.

A small plaque can be found on the outside wall of Nonna next to the bronze sculpture. A larger plaque, depicting Frankie Laine with uplifted arms, is also nearby.

I took a photo of the larger plaque six years ago, when it was located elsewhere on India Street, and I transcribed the words written on it 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!

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Standing woman sculpture at UC San Diego.

There’s an unusual sculpture at UC San Diego rising high in the air between the Medical Teaching Facility and the Basic Sciences Building. I say it’s unusual because it doesn’t feature a “usual” depiction of the human form and I’m not sure how it affects me.

The piece’s title is Standing, and its creator is artist Kiki Smith. The public art was added to UCSD’s Stuart Collection in 1998.

Gazing up at the small, vulnerable figure you’ll notice what appear to be nails sticking out from her upper body. It looks like an example of a surgical procedure in a medical textbook. It makes her look like a passive, punctured thing, not a vibrant human. The form appears tired, aged, fragile, resigned to her inescapable condition. It strikes me the sculpture depicts a confrontation with our human mortality. She stands atop a severed tree trunk. Her face seems to ask: Why me? When the fountain feature is on (it wasn’t when I walked by), water drips from her hands. I almost wonder if the dripping water makes one think of draining blood.

Yet, to me, the sculpture isn’t really that morbid. It’s simply seems a clear-eyed observation of the material human condition.

An interpretation from the website that describes the piece emphasizes certain dualities: “Cast from a live model, the female figure atop Standing calls forth thoughts of human strength and frailty, and both the power and the limits of medicine. Serene and ageless, she stands in a Madonna-like pose that is both vulnerable and generous. Ribbons of water – the source of life – flow from her hands into the rock-lined pond below, with a soothing, mellifluous sound.”

Perhaps my own interpretation is too bleak. It’s hard to see past those nails. They remind me of an earthworm dissection I performed using a square of cardboard and pins in high school. Perhaps if clear bright water was flowing from her hands my feelings would change.

If there is strength and generosity in this sculpture, it comes from within the form, from a place unseen–an organ those sharp painful nails cannot reach. And the water’s sound must be the gentle sound of present living. A sonorous whisper from a human standing.

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!