Stones painted with love, optimism, dreams.

Paint a rock. Leave it here.
Paint a rock. Leave it here.

My walk around Cardiff-by-the-Sea today included a very short stretch of the Cardiff Rail Trail. I walked north from where this popular bike and pedestrian trail crosses Chesterfield Drive, just west of San Elijo Avenue.

As I walked I noticed what first appeared to be many small smooth stones spilled to one side of the path. Upon closer inspection, I discovered a treasure trove of colorful gems!

Scattered on dead leaves I found brightly painted butterflies and hearts. I read words expressing love and optimism. I saw painted dreams.

It appears these precious jewels were created by many generous hands.

Dream and smile.
Dream and smile.

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!

Trail to Literacy benches in San Ysidro.

One of two Trail to Literacy benches in San Ysidro Park.
One of two Trail to Literacy benches in San Ysidro Park.

If you notice two colorful benches in San Ysidro Park, go take a closer look. On both you’ll discover a Trail to Literacy.

The benches are decorated with tiles painted by children. You’ll see small works of art that celebrate books and stories that young people love.

This wonderful community project promotes reading. After looking at the tiles, I think I want to visit a library and check out some children’s books. What better way to activate imagination? And relearn wisdom.

The benches stand not far from renowned artist Victor Ochoa’s beautiful Tree of Life, which I photographed while walking around the park last weekend. See those photos here.

Trail to Literacy painted tile bench near a water fountain.
Trail to Literacy painted tile bench near a water fountain.
The Paperboy.
The Paperboy.
Dogzilla.
Dogzilla.
Froggy Gets Dressed.
Froggy Gets Dressed.
The Cat in the Hat.
The Cat in the Hat.
The Gingerbread Man.
The Gingerbread Man.
Flipper and Where the Wild Things Are.
Flipper and Where the Wild Things Are.
Quetzalcoatl on the side of one bench.
Quetzalcoatl on the side of one bench.
A second Trail to Literacy bench at San Ysidro Park.
A second Trail to Literacy bench at San Ysidro Park.
Mulan.
Mulan.
Corduroy.
Corduroy.
La Hermana de Froggy.
La Hermana de Froggy.
Mouse Mess.
Mouse Mess.
Viva Piñata!
Viva Piñata!
Just Imagine with Barney.
Just Imagine with Barney.
El Arbol Generoso.
El Arbol Generoso.
More colorful, imaginative tiles painted by youth.
More colorful tiles painted by creative youth.
Reading activates imagination, teaches knowledge and wisdom, and makes life much more rewarding.
Reading sparks imagination, teaches knowledge and wisdom, and makes life much more rewarding.

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!

Victor Ochoa’s Tree of Life in San Ysidro!

Victor Ochoa is a world-famous muralist, activist and pioneer of the Chicano art movement whose work can be found throughout San Diego, particularly in Chicano Park. You can learn more about him here.

Should you stroll through San Ysidro Park, between West and East Park Avenue, just north of the San Ysidro Civic Center, you’ll probably see what appears to be a raised square platform in the middle of the grass. As you move closer this colorful public art, titled Arbol de la Vida (Tree of Life), comes into focus. It’s a tile mosaic planter and bench that surrounds a tree!

I can find almost nothing about this public art when I search the internet. Written on the tiles is the following:

Arbol de la Vida by Victor Ochoa, 1995. Commissioned for the community of San Ysidro and the citizens of San Diego through the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. Tree of Life.

It appears the overall design was created by Victor Ochoa and the tiles were painted by local children.

Do you know more about his wonderful public artwork? If you do, 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!

Amazing public art in Vista’s Civic Center Park!

I was pleased to discover some truly amazing public art inside Vista’s Civic Center Park last weekend. The small but beautiful park is situated adjacent to the Civic Center complex, and was very quiet on an early Sunday afternoon.

In addition to a fantastically strange and wonderful sculpture titled Wind Beams, I found four very fine bronze sculptures of children reading and at play!

I’ve tried to determine who created the bronze sculptures of children, but I can find nothing on the internet, and I could find no artist’s name on any plaque. If anyone knows the artist, leave a comment! The sculptures depict a small girl reading a book, a child riding a bike with arms outspread, kids and their friendly dog crossing a curved bridge or log, and two small children riding a large tortoise. The plaque that I photographed, which is mounted near the reading girl, explains these four bronze sculptures were dedicated in October 2012 as a tribute to retired Vista City Manager Rita L. Geldert.

The extremely cool Wind Beams sculpture was created by artist Robert Rochin. The year given is 2010. It’s an unbelievable thing made of four 10 feet long I-beams that move about in the slightest breeze. All I can say is these heavy steel beams must be well lubricated and perfectly balanced! Watching the beams move silently about like immense metal arms whirling in the sky is really strange, even surreal!

Wind Beams, by artist Robert Rochin, 2010.
Wind Beams, by artist Robert Rochin, 2010.

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!

Art outside Vista Library celebrates learning!

Colorful artwork that encourages reading greets visitors to the Vista Library.
Colorful artwork that encourages reading greets visitors to the Vista Library.

Many fantastic works of art outside the Vista Library celebrate learning!

An imaginative sculpture and colorful murals greet the eyes of those who draw near this branch of the San Diego County Library. The art inspires us to read books, pursue knowledge, and fulfill our dreams!

I walked past the library yesterday and was absolutely amazed by what I discovered!

I took photos…

Front entrance to the public library in Vista, California.
Front entrance to the public library in Vista, California.
Sculpture at library's parking lot entrance. Climbing into Adventure, by Rick Randall and Jaydon Sterling-Randall, 2012.
Sculpture at Vista Branch Library’s parking lot entrance. Climbing into Adventure, by Rick Randall and Jaydon Sterling-Randall, 2012.
Up in the sky are many colorful wonders toward with the children together climb.
Up in the sky are many fantastic wonders toward with the children ascend.
A fantastic mural near front door of the library. Kids activate their imagination and ambitions with a book.
A fantastic mural near front door of the library. Kids activate their imagination and ambitions with a book.
The mural on the other side of the entrance, with a window to the library bookstore. Students pursue scientific knowledge.
The mural on the other side of the entrance, with a window to the Friends of the Library bookstore. Students pursue scientific knowledge.
Even a painted mouse in the mural is reading a tiny book.
Even a tiny painted mouse in the mural is reading a book.
Bike rack spells READ.
Cool bike rack spells READ.
Abstract mosaic near roof seems to depict bodies in our solar system.
Abstract mosaic near the library’s roof seems to depict bodies in our solar system.
A second mosaic glass mural. All three are titled Interconnected. Created by Cherrie LaPorte.
A second mosaic glass mural. All three are titled Interconnected. Created by Cherrie LaPorte.
The third mosaic glass mural. Abstract design shows how every element in the universe is interconnected.
The third mosaic glass mural. Abstract design shows how every element in the universe is interconnected.
Learning is celebrated with amazing artwork at the Vista Library.
Learning is celebrated with truly amazing artwork at the Vista Library!

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!

Santee street art shows kids by the river.

This afternoon I went for a walk by the beautiful San Diego River in Santee.

As I headed up Cuyamaca Street approaching the river and a sign indicating Mission Creek Trail, I noticed a large electrical box painted with faded street art. Its sides depict kids by the river playing, fishing or skipping stones.

Part of the image on the box’s street side is blotted out; another side was jammed against some bushes, making photography without scratched arms problematic.

I hope you enjoy these two photos that I was able to capture!

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!

Stuff the Bus online to help students in need!

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Stuff the Bus campaign is being held entirely online this year!

You can help San Diego students who are in need–including those who are homeless–by providing them with school supplies. SDCCU has partnered with the San Diego County Office of Education to make your participation easy. Simply go to this GoFundMe page and make a donation!

Funds received will purchase backpacks full of school supplies like pencils, pens, binders and crayons for those kids who might otherwise go without. The backpacks will be distributed to schools all around San Diego County.

Last year, over 6,800 backpacks filled with school supplies were handed out!

The SDCCU Stuff the Bus campaign runs through July 31, 2020.

Visit the donation page here!

Kids learn while having fun with pop culture!

What’s the best way for kids to learn?

By having fun!

The very cool Comic-Con Museum@Home web page continues to grow and grow! It’s now bursting with fun activities for kids–educational activities that relate to the popular culture!

Not only are there oodles of downloadable, printable Fun Books, which are jam-packed with word puzzles, mazes, instructions on how to draw comic art, and fantastic coloring pages (including some by prolific San Diego muralist Gloria Muriel), but now you can watch lots of cool videos, too!

A brand new series of videos this summer will be showing kids how to create superheroes and other pop culture characters out of folded cardboard! The tutorials are by Connor and Bauer Lee. You might remember seeing their fantastic creations during December Nights here!

The first cardboard character kids can create by following a YouTube video is Wall-E!

The Comic-Con Museum has also partnered with Balboa Park’s Fleet Science Center for a series called Pop Culture Science. Celebrating the anniversary of the popular character Sherlock Holmes, there’s a video about how TV crime shows accurately or imaginatively portray real forensic science. Additional activities include how to detect fingerprints and write with invisible ink!

Learning is always best when it’s fun!

Check out the Comic-Con Museum web page with all of these great activities by clicking here!

Happy art and the Escondido Students’ Tile Mural.

Do you ever blink your eyes at an oh-so-serious adult and wonder what they were like as a small child? Before growing up and becoming terribly sophisticated, did they love to draw simple things like hearts, flowers and smiles?

I saw this amazing tile wall in Escondido last weekend as I walked from the California Center for the Arts toward Grape Day Park. A plaque states it’s the 1994 Escondido Students’ Tile Mural. Hundreds of names from local schools appear on this happy, quilt-like mosaic.

The tiles were painted 26 years ago.

I have no doubt that many who painted their tile with small hands long ago still love hearts, flowers and smiles.

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!

Help others! Join virtual Red Shoe Day online!

The 11th Annual Red Shoe Day is almost here! But this year it will be different. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the gathering of donations for Ronald McDonald House in San Diego will be entirely online!

Instead of plunking your spare change into a big red Ronald McDonald shoe held by a volunteer at a busy intersection, there’s going to be a virtual Red Shoe Day on June 4, 2020 that everyone can safely take part in and share online with others!

Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, according to their mission statement: provides a “home-away-from-home” for families with children being treated for serious, often life-threatening conditions at local hospitals.

Put yourself in the shoes of a family with a seriously ill child and imagine how important this would be. You could spend much more time with your child as they undergo super scary medical treatment at a big, scary hospital. Read more about what Ronald McDonald House Charities does here.

And here is what you can do!

Click here and join this year’s virtual Red Shoe Day!

Recruit friends, coworkers and family members! Form a winning team!

Look at all the smiling volunteers I photographed in past years, before the coronavirus pandemic…

Click here to join Red Shoe Day and make a huge difference in people’s lives!

You’ll feel good, too!