Tuna fishermen remembered at Piazza Pescatore.

Piazza Pescatore is a beautiful place to relax and linger at the corner of Kettner Boulevard and Fir Street.
Piazza Pescatore is a beautiful place where neighbors can relax and mingle at the corner of Kettner Boulevard and Fir Street.

In Little Italy, at the corner of and Kettner Boulevard and Fir Street, you’ll find Piazza Pescatore. The small community gathering place features a bronze sculpture and beautiful fountain, and plaques that remember the history of the many hard-working tuna fishermen that inhabited this San Diego neighborhood decades ago.

The artists who created this cool public artwork are sculptor Gregory Reade and mosaic artist Kim Emerson.

A bronze sculpture of a tuna fishermen holding his catch. Piazza Pescatore was donated by Bumble Bee Seafoods, which is headquartered in San Diego.
A bronze sculpture of a tuna fishermen holding his catch. Piazza Pescatore was donated by Bumble Bee Seafoods, which is headquartered in San Diego.
A plaque honors the men and women of the tuna industry who helped build San Diego's Little Italy.
A plaque honors the men and women of the tuna industry who helped build San Diego’s Little Italy.
More plaques at Piazza Pescatore honor those who helped to make San Diego the tuna capital of the world during much of the 20th century.
More plaques at Piazza Pescatore honor those who made San Diego the tuna capital of the world during much of the 20th century.
A colorful circle of artwork on the nearby sidewalk shows women with baskets and bountiful fresh fish.
A colorful circle of artwork on the nearby sidewalk shows women with baskets and bountiful fresh fish.

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Photos of The Padre sculpture in Presidio Park.

The Padre, by Arthur Putnam, 1908. The public artwork stands on a patch of grass among trees on Presidio Hill.
The Padre, by Arthur Putnam, 1908. The public artwork stands on a patch of grass among trees on Presidio Hill.

Walk up to the top of Presidio Park from Old Town and you’ll discover a variety of fascinating, historical sights. Possibly the most amazing, apart from the impressive Serra Museum building, are two extraordinary bronze sculptures, The Indian and The Padre, by renowned sculptor Arthur Putnam.

The Padre was cast in 1908. The figure of a Spanish friar stands in a small, quiet space among trees, not far from the spot where Junípero Serra founded Mission San Diego de Alcalá in 1769, which began as a temporary church at the Spanish presidio. Five years later the mission would be moved a few miles east up the San Diego River to its present location.

Here are photos of The Padre which show the sculpture’s quiet beauty.

The Padre stands alone in a green, gentle place.
The Padre stands alone in a green, gentle place.
A Spanish friar seems to walk out of San Diego's very early history.
A Spanish friar seems to walk out of San Diego’s very early history.
The Padre by Arthur Putnam. Given to San Diego Historical Society by the descendants of E.W. Scripps.
The Padre by Arthur Putnam. Given to San Diego Historical Society by the descendants of E.W. Scripps.
Markings at the sculpture's base indicated it was cast by Louis de Rome's bronze foundry in San Francisco, the city where Arthur Putnam lived for many years.
Markings at the sculpture’s base indicated it was cast by Louis de Rome’s bronze foundry in San Francisco, the city where Arthur Putnam lived for many years.
A quiet bronze statue among trees near San Diego's now ruined and vanished Presidio.
A quiet bronze statue among trees near San Diego’s now ruined and vanished Presidio.
A spider's web and small fallen leaves above folded hands.
A spider’s web and small fallen leaves above folded hands.
The Padre seems to be lost in prayer or silent contemplation.
The Padre seems to be lost in prayer or silent contemplation.
Close photo of bowed head of The Padre on Presidio Hill.
Close photo of bowed head of The Padre on Presidio Hill.

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!

Navy Bicentennial Commemorative Plaque–cleaned!

San Diego's historic Navy Bicentennial Commemorative Plaque has been cleaned!
San Diego’s historic Navy Bicentennial Commemorative Plaque has been cleaned!

Look what I spotted recently during a walk along the Embarcadero. The historic Navy Bicentennial Commemorative Plaque, part of the Greatest Generation Walk near the USS Midway Museum, has been beautifully cleaned. The corrosion is gone!

Whoever is responsible–it looks great!

The fascinating origin of this once mysterious Navy plaque, forged in 1975 on fleet repair ship USS Ajax, was revealed here.

In that blog post you can see a photo of the old corrosion, which has now been removed!

Sculpted faces of Greatest Generation at night.

A crew member of U.S.S. San Diego, representing all United States sailors who served their country during World War II.
Sculpted face of a crew member of the U.S.S. San Diego, representing all United States sailors who served their country during World War II.

Yesterday evening, after dark, I walked along the Embarcadero. When I arrived at the Greatest Generation Walk, I paused to gaze at the various illuminated memorials and monuments. I was struck at how light reflected from the bronze figures of military heroes, highlighting their expressive faces.

I took many photos of those faces. I kept my flash off. Some of the faces were insufficiently lit for my camera, but the photographs you see here, of mostly ordinary people courageously serving our country–primarily in World War II–came out quite well. I sharpened the images a bit, but that’s all.

The first photo was taken at the U.S.S. San Diego (CL-53) Memorial, created by artists Eugene Daub and Louis Quaintance.

The next seven photographs were taken at the National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military, created by artists Eugene Daub and Steven Whyte.

The next three photographs were taken at the Homecoming sculpture, created by artist Stanley Bleifeld.

The final two photographs were taken at the Aircraft Carrier Memorial, which was created by artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson.

Bob Hope as he appeared in the 1940s, entertaining the troops on a USO tour.
Bob Hope as he appeared in the 1940s, entertaining the troops on a USO tour.
A World War II Marine Corps Sergeant depicted as a patient from the 44th Field Hospital.
A World War II Marine Corps Sergeant depicted as a patient from the 44th Field Hospital.
A World War II naval aviator.
A World War II naval aviator.
A Korean War sailor.
A Korean War sailor.
World War II Navy Machinist Mate John Ibe, who survived the loss of the USS St. Lo during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
World War II Navy Machinist Mate John Ibe, who survived the loss of the USS St. Lo during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Korean War Private from the 45th Infantry Division.
Korean War Private from the 45th Infantry Division.
A World War II fighter pilot. One of the Tuskegee Airmen.
A World War II fighter pilot. One of the Tuskegee Airmen.
A sailor embraces his wife upon his return from a deployment far from home.
A sailor embraces his wife upon his return from a deployment far from home.
A supportive wife hugs her sailor husband.
A supportive wife hugs her sailor husband.
Love endures.
Love endures.
A sailor who serves aboard an aircraft carrier.
A sailor who serves aboard an aircraft carrier.
A naval aviator who flies from an aircraft carrier.
A naval aviator who flies from an aircraft carrier.

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 share and enjoy!

Sculpture of girl remembers Ellen Browning Scripps.

Bronze sculpture of young girl dipping finger into shallow basin of water. The Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial is located at the La Jolla Recreation Center.
Bronze sculpture of young girl dipping finger into shallow basin of water. The Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial is located at the La Jolla Recreation Center.

During my recent walk around La Jolla, I paused for a bit to admire a beautiful bronze sculpture at the La Jolla Recreation Center. The life-size likeness of a girl dipping a finger into a basin of water is officially called the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial. Created by artist Mary Buckman and dedicated in 1997, the gentle artwork remembers a very important figure in San Diego history: Ellen Browning Scripps.

If you live in San Diego, you surely recognize the name Ellen Browning Scripps. She and her brother created a vast business empire as newspaper publishers. During her life she gave most of her wealth away to good causes. She spent much of her life in La Jolla. Indeed, she lived right across Prospect Street from the present-day sculpture; her old residence is now home to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla.

This sculpture by Mary Buckman is dedicated to the memory of Ellen Browning Scripps. June 28, 1997. A beloved sculpture by James Tank Porter occupied this site from 1926 until its disappearance in 1996.
This sculpture by Mary Buckman is dedicated to the memory of Ellen Browning Scripps. June 28, 1997. A beloved sculpture by James Tank Porter occupied this site from 1926 until its disappearance in 1996.
People enjoy a nearby bench at the La Jolla Recreation Center on a sunny December day.
People enjoy a nearby bench at the La Jolla Recreation Center on a sunny December day.
Inscription on the bench is from Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses. I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.
Inscription on the bench is from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.
A beautiful work of art remembers San Diego journalist and philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps.
A beautiful work of art remembers San Diego journalist and philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps.

Here are several photos I took at a later time…

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I wrote a short story about a girl gazing into a fountain. Would you like to read it? To feel a mixture of joy and sadness, click here.

Amazing animal bronzes at San Diego Museum of Art!

Dog Gnawing Bone, Arthur Putnam, 1904. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Dog Gnawing Bone, Arthur Putnam, 1904. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.

Wow! I enjoyed another awesome visit to the San Diego Museum of Art last weekend, courtesy of my docent friend Catherine! She provided a spellbinding tour of several exhibits!  The one I liked most–possibly because I love animals and because the artist has a San Diego connection–concerned the bronze sculptures of Arthur Putnam.

The exhibition, titled Ferocious Bronze, features artwork so utterly amazing that Arthur Putnam has been called the American Rodin. He was such a gifted sculptor that his pieces have sometimes been mistaken for those of Frederic Remington. Most of his bronzes depict animals in the wild:  hunting, in mortal combat, at play or at rest.

Arthur Putnam lived from 1873–1930 and was considered one of the greatest sculptors of his era. At the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco he won a coveted Gold Medal.  During his lifetime his work was exhibited in major cities, including New York, Chicago, Paris and Rome. Many of his monumental public sculptures still stand in San Francisco, Monterey and San Diego.

Check out these photos! They provide a small taste of what you’ll experience should you visit Ferocious Bronze. You can get an idea of Putnam’s tremendous artistry. The superb realism is partly due to the fact that he personally loved the outdoors, and spent many days observing animals in the wild and at zoos. A mostly self-taught artist, Putnam even worked for a brief time at a slaughterhouse. (Yuck!)

Did I mention Arthur Putnam’s unique San Diego connection? His very first commission was from newspaper magnate E. W. Scripps, which he received at the Scripps Ranch located in Miramar. In addition, two of Putnam’s monumental works stand today near the spot where San Diego was founded–the very place where European civilization took root in California.

(I’ve included my own photos of the two splendid sculptures that now grace San Diego’s Presidio Hill.  I wrote a blog several years ago that concerned a fun walk past these sculptures.)

Ferocious Bronze, curated by Dr. James Grebl, showcases 28 of Putnam’s amazing animal pieces.  They were selected from the over 100 pieces that the San Diego Museum of Art has in their collection. This special exhibit was inspired by another Balboa Park institution: the world famous San Diego Zoo! They are now celebrating their centennial year!

If you happen to be in San Diego, and if you love fine art or have a special place in your heart for wild animals, I recommend that you head over to see Ferocious Bronze at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park! This very cool exhibition runs through October 11, 2016.

Big Combat, Arthur Putnam, undated. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Big Combat, Arthur Putnam, undated. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Ambling Bear, Arthur Putnam, 1910. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Ambling Bear, Arthur Putnam, 1910. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Fighting Buffalo, Arthur Putnam, 1900. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Fighting Buffalo, Arthur Putnam, 1900. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Lynx Ready to Spring, Arthur Putnam, 1909. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Lynx Ready to Spring, Arthur Putnam, 1909. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
The Indian, Arthur Putnam, 1905. This amazing sculpture stands today on San Diego's Presidio Hill beneath the Serra Museum.
The Indian, Arthur Putnam, 1905. This amazing sculpture stands on San Diego’s Presidio Hill beneath the Serra Museum.
The Padre, Arthur Putnam, 1908. This sculpture stands among some trees on San Diego's Presidio Hill beneath the Serra Museum.
The Padre, Arthur Putnam, 1908. This sculpture stands among some trees on San Diego’s Presidio Hill beneath the Serra Museum.
Wild Cat, Arthur Putnam, 1908. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Wild Cat, Arthur Putnam, 1908. Photo courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! 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 fun photos for you to enjoy!

Do you like to read short pieces of thought-provoking fiction? You might enjoy checking out Short Stories by Richard.

Ship’s bow splashes water into Civic Center Plaza!

A ship's bow splashes water into downtown San Diego's Civic Center Plaza!
A ship’s bow splashes water into downtown San Diego’s Civic Center Plaza!

This evening my route home included a meandering stroll through downtown San Diego’s Civic Center Plaza, which is home to the City Administration Building, the San Diego Community Concourse and the San Diego Civic Theater. I observed that the extremely popular musical comedy The Book of Mormon is playing at the theater tonight. I hope the arriving theatergoers watched their step. Because I also noted a large ship’s bow was splashing water right into the center of the plaza!

But seriously, the iconic bronze water fountain called Bow Wave, created by Malcolm Leland in 1972, was looking beautiful as dusk fell and the lights of surrounding buildings began to glow. It seemed the mysterious ship was arriving just in time for the performance!

The unique water fountain Bow Wave, by Malcolm Leland, 1972. Outward splashing water tricks the eye and the bronze sculpture seems to move forward!
The unique water fountain Bow Wave, by Malcolm Leland, 1972. Outward splashing water tricks the eye and the bronze sculpture seems to move forward!
A strange ship seems to pull into a downtown plaza, to dock beside the San Diego Civic Theater!
A strange, dark ship seems to pull into a downtown plaza, to dock beside the San Diego Civic Theater!
People arrive to watch The Book of Mormon as night approaches and lights come on in downtown San Diego.
People arrive to watch The Book of Mormon as night approaches and lights come on in downtown San Diego.
An iconic water fountain in the heart of San Diego is yet another cool sight!
An iconic water fountain in the heart of San Diego is yet another cool sight!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you like to read short pieces of thought-provoking fiction? Please click Short Stories by Richard.