Gray whales breach at Birch Aquarium!

Have you seen those huge gray whales breaching in La Jolla? They emerge from a pool of water near the front entrance of Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography!

The impressive whale sculptures stopped me in my tracks during my visit to the aquarium a couple weekends ago. Together they are titled The Legacy. This awe-inspiring public art was created by artist Randy Puckett.

According to his website: “At the time of its installation in 1996, THE LEGACY was the only life size bronze sculpture in the world of any of the large whales: at 39 feet 10 inches tall, it was the second largest bronze sculpture ever cast in the U.S. This life size work features a breaching Gray Whale and calf, and the diving tail of a third Gray Whale displayed in two fountains….”

Families and kids approaching Birch Aquarium from the nearby parking lot are absolutely wowed by these monumental sculptures. You understand the immense size of a gray whale when you stand right next to them.

I noticed two identical plaques placed at The Legacy…

In Memoriam Edward W. “Ted” Scripps II

“I have long hoped to do something for the institution. I seem to have the same salt in my veins as did my grandfather.”

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

UCSD

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Donal Hord’s Summer Rain at San Diego History Center.

Several wonderful pieces of Donal Hord art are now on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. I noticed them last weekend.

Most prominent is the extraordinary sculpture Summer Rain, Donal Hord’s final commission. Originally sculpted in 1946 from the dense wood lignum vitae, Summer Rain was cast in bronze in 1968 by Homer Dana, his assistant, two years after Hord’s death.

Donal Hord is considered San Diego’s greatest sculptor. He achieved international fame by bringing a variety of materials, including very hard stone, to life. Many of his spiritual, symbol-filled sculptures were inspired from a year he spent in Mexico, where he studied traditional Olmec and Zapotec art. Some of his public sculptures have become iconic landmarks or representations of our city.

Summer Rain stands near the center of the History Center’s fine art exhibition Be Here Now. The work of artists who lived or spent a great deal of time in San Diego fill a large gallery, and visitors are asked to consider what the collected artwork might say about our region.

…Hord’s figure dances on a cloud pushing out the rain, with hair swept up like a thundercloud, and a rattlesnake on top to symbolize lightning…The San Diego History Center collections include examples of Hord’s work in bronze, wood, stone, and plaster along with maquettes (or scale models), preliminary drawings, tools and extensive archival material.

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!

Wonderful sculpture at San Ysidro Health in Chula Vista.

Does anyone out there know anything about this wonderful bronze sculpture of children playing in a tree? It’s located on Third Avenue in Chula Vista, near the entrance to the San Ysidro Health medical building.

As I walked past the beautiful artwork on Saturday I took these photos. I looked for a plaque or any indication of the artist and history. Perhaps I missed it, but I all saw was the sign near its base indicating the sculpture is monitored at all times.

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!

Connecting with beautiful Humanity in Encinitas.

There’s an extraordinary bronze sculpture in Encinitas at a place that overlooks the wide blue Pacific Ocean. It’s titled Humanity.

Head west on J Street until you can go no farther, then up the steps to the J Street Viewpoint. Keep your eyes open.

The beautiful sculpture was created in 2013 by Del Mar artist Maidy Morhous. It was installed in the park in 2018. The sculpture was commissioned by local filmmaker Sue Vicory of Heartland Films, whose film “One” explores human connectivity.

You can read more about this artwork’s inspiration here.

Humanity is part of the Encinitas Public Art Collection.

Look at these photos. Touch them with your eyes.

One touch forever connects us with Humanity.

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!

The Triton Legend at UC San Diego.

The Triton Legend is made visible at UC San Diego in the form of a fountain sculpture. Triton with his trident and conch is located at the bottom of stairs on the south side of Price Center.

I passed the Triton Fountain during a recent walk and took these photographs.

The fine bronze sculpture of UCSD’s mascot was installed in 2008. It was created by artist Manuelita Brown, an alumna of the university.

I’ve photographed two other great sculptures by Manuelita Brown. One, titled Encinitas Child, you can see here. The second small sculpture titled I’ll Fly Away is here.

Triton in Greek mythology is a merman and demigod, the son of Poseidon.

A plaque near the fountain, which was off when I walked past, reads:

The Triton Legend

In Greek mythology, Triton is known as the trumpeter of the deep and son of Poseidon, god of the sea. He is represented as a merman having the upper body of a human and tail of a fish. Like Poseidon, he carries a three prong spear called a trident. However, Triton’s special attribute is the conch shell, which he blows like a trumpet to calm or raise the seas. When blown loudly, its sound is so fearsome, Triton’s rivals imagine it to be the roar of a mighty beast and take flight.

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 horse greets motorists in Bonita!

Earlier this year, a life-size bronze horse sculpture debuted in front of the Greg Cox Civic Complex in Bonita. I saw it for the first time when I walked down Bonita Road last weekend.

The horse sculpture has the unusual title WR This Cats Smart. It’s the name of an actual stallion. An identical sculpture can be found at a ranch in Douglas, Wyoming. The nationally renowned Western artist is Mehl Lawson.

San Diego County has one of the largest per capita populations of horses in the United States. I’ve read that at one time there were more than 1300 horses in Bonita. You can still them today in Rohr Park and in corrals throughout the residential hills. Many streets have names that are related to horses.

I took photographs of this beautiful public art and would like to share them.

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!

Presidio Hill sculptures moved to History Center.

Two remarkable and historically important sculptures were moved recently from Presidio Hill to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

When I visited the History Center today I was surprised to see the two large Arthur Putnam works, because I’d observed them several times in the past during walks through Presidio Park.

An explanation on the gallery wall explains that The Indian (1904) and The Padre (1908) were moved to protect them from the outdoor elements and vandalism. I learned they will be gallery centerpieces as this section of the San Diego History Center receives additional material. Critical context will be provided for these bronze statues.

If you’d like to see photos of the two sculptures when they stood on Presidio Hill, check out past blog posts here and here.

The first link will take you on a walk from Old Town up to the Serra Museum–a walk I made years ago when Cool San Diego Sights was just getting started.

The second link concerns an Arthur Putnam exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art. You’ll learn that he was internationally renowned, particularly for his sculptures depicting animals. And he also had an interesting San Diego connection!

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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Rabbit sculptures find a home in Civita Park.

Walk through beautiful Civita Park in Mission Valley and you’re likely to cross paths with numerous rabbits. Rabbit sculptures, that is!

The bronze bunnies, which are pleasing to children (and the young at heart), can be encountered in surprising places around the spacious public park, which opened in 2017.

The lifelike rabbits were created by Encinitas sculptors T.J. Dixon and James Nelson. Their fantastic work can be viewed all over San Diego. (Click here to see many more of their creations!)

The above photo of a rabbit standing guard by small baby bunnies is located right next to the Civita Park welcome sign. As you can see in the next two photographs, a bronze book containing a story about two rabbits finding their home is perched on another rock nearby.

Finding Home… Once upon a time there were two little bunnies named Franklin and Alta. They were looking for the magic stone that had once covered their little doorway for so long…

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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New public art coming to Balboa Park previewed!

Monumental public art is now being created for the Palisades area of Balboa Park!

Once completed, a pair of life-size grizzly bear sculptures will be placed on the roof of the 1935 California State Building, home of the San Diego Automotive Museum. In addition, a large 12′ x 20′ cold cast bronze panel is destined to greet visitors approaching the front entrance of the 1935 Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries, which today serves as the Municipal Gymnasium.

The two buildings were constructed for the 1935-1936 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.

In 2021, almost a century later, both building exteriors, with the help of local architect Robert Thiele, are undergoing a historic restoration.

Today I was privileged to have an amazing preview!

Take a look at these photographs of a model grizzly bear standing in an indoor work area at Bellagio Precast. The bear, symbol of California, was created by San Diego sculptor Michael Matson and his son Kevin.

As you can see, the huge golden grizzly is ready to be completely cast.

A rendering shows how completed bear sculptures will be positioned atop the two front corners of the San Diego Automotive Museum, overlooking Pan American Plaza, with its proposed Singing Color Fountains.

The large bronze panel to be placed above the front entrance of the Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries building will soon be created out in the yard of Bellagio Precast. Some blocks of ornamentation meant to surround the panel are already finished.

The panel’s design is based on the original 1935 bas-relief designed by Arturo Eneim that was carved out of layers of fragile wallboard.

Imagery in the panel includes an electrical power plant and the gears of industrial machinery. During the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition, crowds marveled at the latest technological inventions. Inside the Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries was the House of Magic, which showcased a “talking kitchen” and television!

The following images show how the building and its panel will appear when all is completed.

A wood framework for working on the very large cold cast bronze panel is ready outside.

I took a photograph of finished blocks of ornamentation that will be installed beneath the panel, along the edge of the building’s marquee.

It will be interesting to follow the progress of these projects, which are made possible by the Balboa Park Committee of 100. It will be really exciting to see the final result!

Is it possible for beautiful Balboa Park to become even more amazing?

Yes!

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!

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.

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!