Memories on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

It’s a special day to remember the wisdom of one who knew that love is always greater than hatred.

Over the years, I’ve taken photographs of events and works of public art inspired by America’s great civil rights leader. I thought I’d share some of these optimistic images.

It’s always a good time to be reminded of our common humanity.

To see many past photographs concerning Martin Luther King, Jr., click the following links:

Optimism and love at the big MLK Parade!

Quotes on the Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.

Sign language Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

Shedding the Cloak sculpture inspired by MLK.

Breaking the Chains on MLK Promenade.

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!

Mural in Imperial Beach speaks against racism.

The other day I spotted this mural on the side of a State Farm office at Palm Avenue and Florence Street in Imperial Beach. It was painted recently by artist Milan Elise Finnie.

Its symbolism makes a statement about diversity in Imperial Beach, and how racism is never acceptable. The mural features the face of Gianna Floyd, daughter of George Floyd.

On the rear of the building, there are hand prints of many colors.

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!

Monuments to freedom by Escondido City Hall.

Several plaques and monuments honoring military veterans can be found around Grape Day Park in Escondido. One tribute, the Wall of Courage, I previously photographed here.

At the east end of the park, between Broadway and Escondido’s City Hall, two marble monuments stand together in the shade of trees.

The four sides of an obelisk display the United States Constitution’s first Ten Amendments, the Bill of Rights, which guarantees our individual rights and liberty. According to a plaque at its base, the obelisk was presented by the Escondido Rotary Club to the City of Escondido on July 4, 1976, during our nation’s Bicentennial.

The second monument honors all veterans who serve to defend that freedom. The memorial was dedicated twenty years later, in 1996 on Veterans Day.

It reads: The eternal gratitude of the citizens of Escondido and the nation is extended to every man and woman, living or dead, who wore the uniform of our military services with honor past, present and future.

A flag flies above both.

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!

Let’s Live, Let’s Love in Lincoln Park!

Lots of fantastic street art can be enjoyed in San Diego’s Lincoln Park community. On Saturday I walked along Imperial Avenue between Euclid Avenue and 49th Street and took photos of colorful artwork painted by many artists.

I saw faded old art and brand new art. All of it contains positive imagery, summed up by the message Let’s Live, Let’s Love. That saying was painted in several places.

As you can see from the photos, there are a variety of artist signatures.

I believe some of the newer street art was created by the Southeast Art Team. (I posted photos of two wonderful murals they recently painted near Imperial and Euclid here.)

The murals showing African American civil rights icons painted on two low walls by Gentry’s Beauty and Barber Headquarters I believe were created in 2016 by William Salas.

The blue painting of people rowing a boat under stars at Imperial Ave Auto Service is by Michael Rosenblatt. When I saw it, I immediately recalled how he showed me a super cool painting of Tony Gwynn during a past Earth Day event in Balboa Park. You can see that (and more) here.

The big fun mural near the end of my photos can be seen at the Community Gathering Place community garden.

Lincoln Park is fortunate to be touched by the hands of many talented creative people–artists who have a hopeful vision of the world, filled with heart. Who encourage us all with the simple but powerful words: Let’s Live, Let’s Love.

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!

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!

Photos of Chicano Legacy mural at UCSD.

During my weekend walk through UC San Diego, I headed to the east side of Peterson Hall to check out some fantastic public art: the Chicano Legacy 40 Años (Years) mosaic. The 17-by-54-foot mosaic was created in 2011 by world-renowned local muralist Mario Torero and UCSD students. Thousands of pieces of colored glass were used to create a permanent mural.

The artwork honors Chicano culture. According to the UCSD website: “It depicts the struggles and dreams of underrepresented communities, pays tribute to social justice and brings a sense of warmth and hope to UC San Diego…”

Click the photo of the plaque and you can read an explanation of the different images contained in the mosaic. The two boldest, which immediately draw your attention, are the Corn Goddess near the center representing Mother Earth, and the large face of civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.

The bright sunlight on glass and the dark shadows cast by nearby trees made taking good photographs a challenge. You really should see this vibrant mural in person.

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!

Messages of love, optimism in La Mesa.

Love is the solution.
Love is the solution.

This weekend I walked a little around La Mesa. I hadn’t been out that way since January of last year.

My heart was warmed to see many messages of love and optimism decorating the chain link fence surrounding property that was destroyed during the late May riot, which was fueled by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis that same month.

The community–mostly young people–produced idealistic artwork full of hope. I saw the heartfelt desire for equality, peace, understanding, and the end of racism. Love and kindness were in most of the messages.

The result of arson during a riot in La Mesa, California.
The result of arson during a riot in La Mesa, California.

Unity in the community.
Unity in the community.

Positive messages of love and equality on a fence in La Mesa.
Positive messages of love and equality on a fence in La Mesa.

Paintings donated by Pink Rose Cafe with support of the La Mesa community.
Paintings donated by Pink Rose Cafe with support of the La Mesa community.

Love sees no color. End racism.
Love sees no color. End racism.

Hopeful images painted by a young person.
Hopeful images painted by a young person.

We are all under the same sun.
We are all under the same sun.

All we need is love.
All we need is love.

Strong. Hope. Heartbeat. Heartfelt.
Strong. Hope. Heartbeat. Heartfelt.

A wise quote about improving the world from Dr. Seuss.
A wise quote about improving the world from Dr. Seuss.

Step into the daylight.
Step into the daylight.

Be positive.
Be positive.

Let us embrace all the colors.
Let us embrace all the colors.

Artwork along the fence represents the optimism of La Mesa residents.
Artwork along the fence represents the optimism of La Mesa residents.

Together friends.
Together friends.

La Mesa kids stand for change, unity, hope, love.
La Mesa kids stand for change, unity, hope, love.

There can be miracles when you believe. Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill.
There can be miracles when you believe. Though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill.

What I'm looking for is not out there, it is in me.
What I’m looking for is not out there, it is in me.

Do justice. Walk humbly.
Do justice. Walk humbly.

We're in this together.
We’re in this together.

A hopeful vision.
A hopeful vision.

Fight for what's right.
Fight for what’s right.

Be kind.
Be kind.

More heartfelt sentiments along the fence.
More heartfelt sentiments along the fence.

Be you. Shine bright.
Be you. Shine bright.

Be the change.
Be the change.

Love and respect for your neighbor.
Love and respect for your neighbor.

We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.
We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.

Listen.
Listen.

Grow through what you go through.
Grow through what you go through.

Love one another.
Love one another.

Fine artwork full of humanity.
Fine artwork full of humanity.

Make the world a better place.
Make the world a better place.

Love wins.
Love wins.

Peace and love. Love will win.
Peace and love. Love will win.

When you focus on good, the good gets better.
When you focus on good, the good gets better.

Shine like stars.
Shine like stars.

Wisdom from Martin Luther King, Jr. Hate cannot drive out hate--only love can.
Wisdom from Martin Luther King, Jr. Hate cannot drive out hate–only love can.

Love not hate makes America great.
Love not hate makes America great.

Peace. Love. Hope.
Peace. Love. Hope.

Believe there is good.
Believe there is good.

Kindness is the sunshine in which everything and everyone can grow.
Kindness is the sunshine in which everything and everyone can grow.

Kindness matters.
Kindness matters.

All black lives matter.
All black lives matter.

The dove of peace.
The dove of peace.

Love. United we stand.
Love. United we stand.

Love grows here.
Love grows 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!

Mario Torero and team restore Civil Rights mural!

A team of local artists works to restore the Civil Rights mural at 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue in San Diego.
A team of local artists works to restore the Civil Rights mural at 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue in San Diego.

Today I headed down to 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue to see the work being done to restore an important mural by internationally recognized muralist Mario Torero. When I arrived several local artists were gathering for the day’s work, and shortly thereafter an energetic Mario Torero himself showed up!

I first posted photos of this Civil Rights mural two years ago here. You can see how it had become faded over many years. Unfortunately, since then the mural had been defaced. If you want to learn more about the history of the mural, check out my old blog post.

The restoration has been ongoing for a couple weeks now, and the Imperial Avenue side of the long mural is nearly finished. There’s still the other side on 32nd Street to finish, and once plans are made work will begin there.

The local artists helping Mario Torero are called the Southeast Art Team. The growing team includes young people who love creating art. The Southeast Art Team has garnered a lot of media attention with this project and are already planning to restore additional murals around San Diego. But they need your help!

Please visit the GoFundMe page of the Mural Restoration Project San Diego by clicking here and help them out!

I learned that a new push is underway to not only restore many old murals, but to create new ones, too! Positive people never cease working to make the world better!

Do you want to be part of this? To pitch in, click here!

Internationally known muralist Mario Torero talks to local artists before commencing work restoring portions of his mural.
Internationally known muralist Mario Torero talks to local artists before commencing work restoring portions of his mural.

A colorful mural depicting Civil Rights icons is lovingly restored by its creator Mario Torero, and other local artists!
A colorful mural depicting Civil Rights icons is lovingly restored by its creator Mario Torero, and other local artists!

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 Cosmic Flight of a world-famous muralist.

Cosmic Flight, a mural in Golden Hill by San Diego muralist Mario Torero.
Cosmic Flight, a mural in Golden Hill by San Diego muralist Mario Torero.

A mural titled Cosmic Flight decorates the east side of Golden Hill Liquor at the corner of 28th Street and B Street. The mural was painted in 1978 by Mario “Torero” Acevedo, whose work can be seen all around San Diego. Over the decades Cosmic Flight has been touched up, altered due to graffiti, then restored. As you can see in the above photo, it has been vandalized again.

Mario Torero is the son of renowned Peruvian artist Guillermo Acevedo who immigrated to San Diego in 1960. The life of a Bohemian was already in Mario’s blood as he and a few others local artists strove to develop a creative community in San Diego decades ago. In 1980 he opened the Sol Arts Gallery in Golden Hill across the street from the Cosmic Flight mural, the corner where Starbucks is today.

Mario Torero frequently uses cosmic imagery and expressive faces in his colorful compositions. His themes typically revolve around the civil rights movement and Chicano activism. He has been instrumental in the founding of important cultural centers in San Diego, including Chicano Park and the Centro Cultural de la Raza. A prolific and important creator of activist art, he has achieved international fame.

I walked past Cosmic Flight yesterday and was struck by the mural’s grouping of faces, which are filled with subtle emotion, including quiet pride and confidence. That’s the powerful element I like most in Mario Torero’s artwork. The humanity.

Over the years I’ve photographed a variety of other murals by Mario Torero around town.

Good examples include Cosmic Train of Wisdom in University Heights, a mural depicting civil rights leaders on Imperial Avenue, the Que Viva Barrio Logan mural, and a couple of murals I spotted during a long walk through Sherman Heights.

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!

The art of Chicano/a/x printmaking, activism.

A collection of bold contemporary art can now be viewed at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. The exhibition is titled: Chicano/a/x Printmaking: Making Prints and Making History – 50 Years of Art Activism.

The many colorful pieces on display include woodblock prints, serigraphs and lithographs. Most of the artwork was created to provide a voice for Mexican-American communities and promote social change. The images urge Chicano/a/x activism, and include themes such as political struggle, racism, poverty and immigration.

According to the SDSU Downtown Gallery website: “Featuring important historical and contemporary examples of printed works on paper, the exhibition highlights printmaking as one of the oldest, most enduring, and widely used processes for Chicano/a/x artists working from the 1940s to today . . . Artists and groups in the exhibition include Yreina Cervantes, Rupert Garcia, Diane Gamboa, Ester Hernandez, Malaquías Montoya, Victor Ochoa, Self Help Graphics & Art, and Salvador Roberto Torres, among others.”

As I journeyed along each gallery wall, I was struck by the emotional potency of the artwork. There are images that depict cultural pride and strength, and images that powerfully convey human suffering.

In addition to thought-provoking political messages, visitors to the gallery can observe the evolution of printmaking and see how ideas are effectively conveyed and magnified using simple posters. The eye-catching designs and the creativity of these prints should intrigue everyone who loves art.

The exhibition will continue at the SDSU Downtown Gallery through April 5, 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!