San Diego’s outdoor, drive-through art gallery!

A large, welcoming Love City Heights mural greets people along University Avenue near Interstate 15.
A large, welcoming Love City Heights mural greets people along University Avenue near Interstate 15.

There’s a surprising, rapidly expanding outdoor art gallery in San Diego that anybody can freely enjoy. The huge canvases of this unique gallery are the walls of buildings in City Heights, on the stretch of University Avenue between I-805 and I-15.

Eye-catching works of art by noted San Diego and Southern California muralists have recently been painted all along this “drive-through” gallery. And many more will be appearing soon!

I recently enjoyed a walking tour of the colorful murals, led by Carlos Quezada and Edwin Lohr, two members of Love City Heights, an association affiliated with the City Heights Town Council. Carlos and Edwin are both visionaries who are working with local residents, community leaders and businesses to bring new life to this extraordinarily diverse San Diego neighborhood.

An important part of their effort is #theavenuemuralproject. The Avenue Mural Project is using the magic of art to transform University Avenue, which contains City Heights’ Business District, into a vibrant place full of culture, creativity and community pride.

I learned that Carlos has a definite goal. He’d like to have one new street mural painted every month. His hope is that eventually three works of public art will be easily seen from any random spot along “The Avenue”.

I also learned that Love City Heights is collaborating with the City Heights Development Corporation and Mid-City CAN (Community Advocacy Network) to create even more murals east of I-15 through their youth program.

In addition to filling the streets with cool art, Love City Heights is working with business and property owners to transform their historic San Diego neighborhood into a dynamic place where people from all over will come to dine, shop and enjoy themselves. City Heights is the most diverse community in all of San Diego, and is centrally located, with many unique ethnic restaurants that can be found nowhere else. City Heights is uniquely qualified to be an authentic cultural attraction in San Diego.

Would you like to learn more about San Diego’s colorful, rapidly growing “drive-through” art gallery?

Are you an artist, resident or local business owner who’d like to participate in the revitalization of City Heights?

These are some links that you can check out:

Love City Heights on Facebook

#theavenuemuralproject tag on Instagram

TheAvenueSD.com

video about the mural project on YouTube

Do you live in San Diego and want something fun to do? Hop in your car or put on your walking shoes, then embark on a voyage of discovery along University Avenue between I-805 and I-15, where you will enjoy an ever-growing gallery of murals!

Here are a few . . .

The first mural painted by The Avenue Mural Project in City Heights contains joyful swirls of many colors! Endless Summer was designed by artist Erin Bowman.
The first mural painted by The Avenue Mural Project in City Heights contains joyful swirls of many colors! Endless Summer was designed by artist Erin Bowman.
A beautiful sun shines above stylized waves.
The warm San Diego sun shines above stylized waves.
The Endless Summer mural was painted by local school children, whose names appear in one corner, along with many positive messages.
The Endless Summer mural was painted by local school children, whose names appear in one corner, along with many positive messages.
Earlier this year I posted a photo of this mural on my blog. I hadn't realized at the time it's part of a cool outdoor drive-through art gallery in City Heights!
Earlier this year I posted a photo of this mural on my blog. I hadn’t realized it’s part of a cool outdoor drive-through art gallery in City Heights!
I was told this compassionate Amor mural, by @inkpaint and @fabianafoca is a work in progress.
Compassion in a City Heights alley. I was told this Amor mural, by @inkpaint and @fabianafoca, is a work in progress.
The beautiful tile mosaic A is not quite completed.
The beautiful tile mosaic “A” is not quite completed.
VISUAL painted the wall of a MetroPCS store with a cool image of kids communicating with tin cans and a string.
VISUAL painted the wall of a MetroPCS store with a cool image of kids communicating with tin cans and a string.
One business along University Avenue had their building painted with a wonderful mural with images of nature.
One business along University Avenue had their building painted with a pleasing mural containing elements of nature.
Another local store has happy, inviting murals painted on a side of their building.
Another local store now has happy, inviting murals painted on a side of their building.
This fun image depicts kids breaking open a piñata.
This fun image depicts kids breaking open a piñata.
A mural titled The Garden Party by artists Althea Rose Neff, Gilbert Cota and Alex Malone.
A mural titled The Garden Party by artists Althea Rose Neff, Gilbert Cota and Alex Malone.
A closer photo of The Garden Party mural, on the wall of popular Mexican restaurant Super Cocina.
A closer photo of The Garden Party mural, on the wall of popular Mexican restaurant Super Cocina.
Los Angeles muralist Ruben Rojas, co-founder of Beautify Earth, painted LOVE on the side of 7-Eleven in City Heights.
Los Angeles muralist Ruben Rojas, co-founder of Beautify Earth, painted LOVE on the side of 7-Eleven in City 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!

UPDATE: Tweet Street Park becomes more beautiful!

A lush linear park on Cortez Hill, called Tweet Street, has become more and more beautiful with the help of community volunteers!
A lush linear park on Cortez Hill, called Tweet Street, has become more and more beautiful with the help of community volunteers!

People who live in downtown San Diego up on the top of Cortez Hill are lucky. We live next to a wonderful refuge: a garden-like linear park called Tweet Street, which runs along several blocks of Date Street and a couple blocks of Tenth Avenue.

Since my last blog post concerning Tweet Street Park, many improvements have been made. And it’s even more beautiful.

Much of the credit goes to the Friends of Tweet Street Park, a group of community volunteers who work to maintain and improve this neighborhood gem. I often see members of the organization out landscaping, raking, pruning, planting flowers, watering, removing litter, and enjoying San Diego’s sunshine as an added bonus.

Thank you.

If you live on Cortez Hill or simply love San Diego, you might want to check out the Friends of Tweet Street Park page on Facebook by clicking here.

You might also want to visit their brand new Go Fund Me page by clicking here. Your tax deductible donation goes toward buying plants, mulch, decorative bark, gardening tools and other necessary items.

I’d like to share some of that new beauty that I enjoy on many of my walks. Here are a few photos which I took today…

A small section of Tweet Street Park near Eighth Avenue and Date Street which has been improved recently.
A small section of Tweet Street Park near Eighth Avenue and Date Street which has been improved recently.
The hard work of the Friends of Tweet Street Park make this neighborhood refuge a more inviting place!
The hard work of the Friends of Tweet Street Park make this neighborhood garden a more inviting place!
A bit of beauty planted with human hands.
A bit of beauty planted with human hands.
Here's another improved area along Tenth Avenue, near Cedar Street. This was finished just this weekend!
Here’s another improved area along Tenth Avenue, near Cedar Street. This was finished just this weekend!
A generous heart and some muscle make the world a better place for all.
A generous heart and a little bit of muscle make the world a better place for all.

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!

Action photos from Labor Day weekend stickball!

Today I enjoyed watching an action-packed game of stickball in Little Italy.

San Diego’s annual Labor Day weekend stickball tournament has become a big community event, with sponsors and media coverage and people on lawn chairs lining sidewalks watching players crush the spaldeen. A solid swing of the broom handle will launch the ball like a rubber rocket to the other end of the block!

When games are underway, I always make it a point to walk through Little Italy, so I can hang out for a bit and watch the stickball teams compete for fame and glory. The action is intense but it’s all in good fun.

I learned that this year the stickball teams are all local. The game I watched had a number of exciting plays.

Here come photos that capture a bit of the flavor…

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!

A proposal: Celebrate San Diego Day!

Here’s a fun idea!

Yesterday, when I arrived for Silent Movie Night at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I knew almost nothing about Harold Lloyd. I had no idea that this very famous silent movie actor had once lived in San Diego, and had graduated from San Diego High School perhaps a mile from where I sat. As I watched the movie, I recalled that parts of Citizen Kane, often considered the greatest movie of all time, had been filmed in Balboa Park.

And suddenly–out of the blue–a crazy idea popped into my head!

It would be incredible to have a big annual festival in Balboa Park that celebrates San Diego! An enormous parkwide event that celebrates the amazing history, culture and people of America’s Finest City!

Imagine diverse people from every community in San Diego converging on Balboa Park to celebrate our common heritage and shared optimism. Imagine the swell of civic pride and the endless opportunities for education and entertainment!

The special day would celebrate San Diego’s artists, musicians, entertainers, athletes, authors, inventors, scientists, teachers, volunteers, visionaries . . . It would celebrate those who have contributed to our fascinating culture, and honor those who are working today to create an even more dynamic future.

Balboa Park already hosts a number of fantastic annual events, such as EarthFair, Maker Faire, Fiesta Botanica, December Nights and Make Music Day. I propose a parkwide event that celebrates San Diego!

Such an event might include San Diego musicians, Mexican baile folklórico, silent movies featuring Harold Lloyd, readings from Dr. Seuss, local outdoor artists at work, lots of tasty regional food, demonstrations of past and future technologies developed in San Diego, a tribute to Jonas Salk, performances and presentations by school students, samples of Kumeyaay culture, a variety of historical reenactments. . . There might be exhibits concerning Charles Lindbergh, and the birth of naval aviation, and Juan Bandini, and Kate Sessions, and George Marston, and Gregory Peck, and Sally Ride, and Dennis Conner, and Tony Hawk, and Meb Keflezighi, and our world champion Little Leaguers, and the history of San Diego’s tuna fishing industry, and the Palomar Observatory, and Charles Hatfield, and Richard Henry Dana Jr., and Jimmie Johnson, and Tony Gwynn, and Eddie Vedder, and Switchfoot, and Joan Embery, and Alfred Mitchell, and Roger Revelle, and L. Frank Baum, and . . . and . . . and . . . and . . . you get the idea!

The event would be like a small World’s Fair–a San Diego Fair–not unlike the two Expositions held in Balboa Park a century ago for which the park is historically famous.

My guess is an annual event like this would prove enormously popular. Everyone living throughout San Diego who loves our city would be represented and interested.

Anyway–it’s an idea that might be a lot of fun.

What do you think?

How homeless people can get help in San Diego.

Are you homeless?

During a period of my life, many years ago, I was also homeless.

When I was young I suffered from terrible depression. For reasons I’ll keep to myself, my life was incredibly painful. I threw everything away. I just about gave up.

Fortunately, there was a part inside me that never surrendered to the darkness. As I grew older, I found positive ways to overcome my depression.

I know there are many who are homeless and hurting in San Diego. If you happen to be homeless, for whatever reason, and you’d like a helping hand, I’ve learned about a great way to get help.

There’s a phone number that you can call confidentially to get lots of information. That phone number is 211.

Call 211 any time of the day or night and a friendly person will answer who can help you in different ways. The people at 211 are hooked up with over 6,000 community resources, and can assist callers in over 200 languages.

They know all about the shelters around San Diego and what you can do to get off the street. They know where to get medical help, help for emergencies, places to get food, legal help, help to overcome addiction, help for runaways, help for those who’ve been victims of violence, help for veterans who are experiencing a rough time . . . help for all sorts of difficulties that many people face in life. Call 211 and someone will assist you. It’s completely confidential.

If you don’t want to talk to anyone, you can also visit the 211 website by clicking here. Check it out and give the possibilities some thought.

I can say from personal experience that you should never give up hope. Even if your life seems completely hopeless, a path is always there to a brighter, better future. Always.

Colorful new street art in Barrio Logan!

Female face flows like sand through an hourglass. Beautiful street art on a utility box on Cesar E. Chavez Parkway in Barrio Logan.
Female face flows like sand through an hourglass. Beautiful street art on a utility box on Cesar E. Chavez Parkway in Barrio Logan.

Every so often I drive up Cesar E. Chavez Parkway through Barrio Logan. Recently I noticed that there’s a bunch of new street art decorating electrical boxes at intervals along both sidewalks. So last Sunday I took a walk through the neighborhood to check it out.

The photos of street art on walls, doors and windows you see were taken on Main Street just north of Cesar E. Chavez Parkway. The many electrical boxes were observed along the parkway between Main Street and National Avenue.

As I took those final two photos of the painted dogs Princess and Chato, I was startled by a nearby voice. A gentlemen at the nearby house greeted me from over his fence. I learned many of the boxes along the street were painted by various local artists about a month and a half ago. He was pleased that his neighborhood is getting “cleaned up” and graffiti has made way to all the colorful artwork.

I was also surprised to learn Princess and Chato were actual living dogs! As we spoke, a woman came out of the house proudly holding the two dogs! After I departed, I regretted not asking whether I could take photos of their pets. As you can see, Princess and Chato’s street art portraits are very true-to-life!

Street art fuses a human face with elements from the Mexican flag's coat of arms.
Street art fuses a human face with elements from the Mexican flag’s coat of arms.
A pink flamingo painted by a blue door on Main Street in Barrio Logan.
A pink flamingo painted by a blue door on Main Street in Barrio Logan.
Glashaus remains painted on a shipping container long after the nearby art studios were vacated.
Glashaus remains painted on a shipping container long after the nearby art studios were vacated.
Shark painted on wall by Ol' Fashioned Lumber.
Shark painted on wall by Ol’ Fashioned Lumber.
Happy sun painted on a long colorful wall at Perkins Elementary School.
Happy sun painted on a long colorful wall at Perkins Elementary School.
A very flowery Frida Kahlo, painted on a door at The iN Gallery.
A very flowery Frida Kahlo, painted on a door at The iN Gallery.
Tree-like art on a screen door at 1878 Main Street.
Tree-like art on a screen door at 1878 Main Street.
Cool art enlivens a nearby window.
Cool art enlivens a nearby window.
Cesar Chavez art in Barrio Logan on the street that bears his name. His words concerning courage and the non-violent struggle for justice live on.
Cesar Chavez art in Barrio Logan on the street that bears his name. His words concerning courage and the non-violent struggle for justice live on.
Huelga in Spanish means strike.
Huelga in Spanish means strike.
Symbols fill one side of an electrical box. You are in Chicano Park.
Symbols fill one side of an electrical box. You are in Chicano Park.
Fun street art on another side of the electrical box on Cesar E. Chavez Parkway includes a face.
Fun street art on another side of the electrical box on Cesar E. Chavez Parkway includes a face.
Another side. Two birds, a red flower, the moon and sun.
Another side. Two birds, a red flower, the moon and sun.
A poem. Flores para los Muertos - Flores de los Enamorados... Flowers for the Dead - Flowers of the Lovers...
A poem. Flores para los Muertos – Flores de los Enamorados… Flowers for the Dead – Flowers of the Lovers…
Stunning street art in Barrio Logan abundant with ancient symbolism.
Stunning street art in Barrio Logan abundant with ancient symbolism.
A painted calavera among flowers, topped with a hat-like gramophone.
A painted calavera among flowers, topped with a hat-like gramophone.
A Mexican ballet folklórico dancer, with a skirt made of a red rose.
A Mexican ballet folklórico dancer, with a skirt made of a red rose.
One box depicts the mythological Aztec story Quetzalcoatl escapes from Migtlan (a part of the underworld).
One box depicts the mythological Aztec story Quetzalcoatl escapes from Migtlan (a part of the underworld).
Mictlantecuhtli, god of the dead and the king of Mictlan, and his wife Mictecacihuatl seem upset that Quetzalcóatl escaped!
Mictlantecuhtli, god of the dead and the king of Mictlan, and his wife Mictecacihuatl seem upset that Quetzalcóatl escaped!
One box seems to be a work in progress, with a yellow skull and empty white oval.
One box seems to be a work in progress, with a yellow skull and empty white oval.
Colorful prickly pears decorate one utility box.
Colorful prickly pears decorate one utility box.
Another side.
Another side.
Among many symbols in the Barrio Logan street art, I spy the logo of the San Diego Padres!
Among many symbols and motifs in the Barrio Logan street art, I spy the logo of the San Diego Padres!
A corner of one otherwise bare box.
A corner of one otherwise bare box.
RAZA with colorful, dynamic imagery.
RAZA with colorful, dynamic imagery.
Chicano Rocks--looks sort of like an Aztec version of the rock band KISS.
Chicano Rocks–looks sort of like an Aztec version of the rock band KISS.
Legendary musician Santana has a third eye.
Legendary musician Santana has a third eye.
Amazing street art in Barrio Logan. Painting of a face decorated for Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
Amazing street art in Barrio Logan. Painting of a face decorated for Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
Boy carries earthen jug. Agua es vida. Water is life.
Boy carries earthen jug. Agua es vida. Water is life.
Happy dog street art, with tongue hanging out.
Happy dog street art, with tongue hanging out.
Another side of the same box--another happy dog.
Another side of the same box–another happy dog.
Aztec god of the night and conflict, jaguar Tezcatlipoca.
Aztec god of the night and conflict, jaguar Tezcatlipoca.
Scorpion street art in Barrio Logan.
Scorpion street art in Barrio Logan.
Dog's head street art.
Dog’s head street art.
Street art of Princess, an actual dog who lives at a nearby house!
Street art of Princess, an actual dog who lives at a nearby house!
And this is Chato, a second dog who lives at the same house!
And this is Chato, a second dog who lives at the same house!

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!

First Responders to be honored in Little Italy.

First Responders in San Diego will be celebrated this Saturday, August 4th in Little Italy. The event will be held in Piazza Della Famiglia beginning at 5pm, and a special concert at 6pm will feature Marine Band San Diego.

This morning as I walked through Little Italy, I happened to see several banners stretched above the piazza honoring our community’s First Responders, including our Lifeguards, Sheriff, Firefighters and Police.

A big thank you to all of our heroes!