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!

Hidden art in alleys around San Diego!

Over the years, I’ve walked through a variety of “art alleys” around San Diego. Some of these art-filled alleys are well known to those who live in the community; others are not.

It’s exciting to stumble upon this “hidden” street art by pure chance!

Walking into an otherwise unremarkable alley, suddenly surrounded by murals, graffiti and other fantastic artwork, can be like entering a dazzling world of pure imagination! The degree of creativity and devoted artistry can really amaze.

Let’s revisit some of this very cool alley art!

To see lots of colorful photographs, click the following links. I’ve grouped these past blog posts by location in San Diego County:

Vista

Murals in and around Alley Art Man Way!

El Cajon

Step into El Cajon’s super cool Arts Alley!

Logan Heights

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles street art!

Bold urban art in a Logan Heights alley.

Barrio Logan

Cool street art in two alleys on National Avenue.

Cool street art: The Nest Murals near Chicano Park.

Another very colorful mural in Barrio Logan!

Mission Beach

Cool street art in a Mission Beach alley!

Normal Heights

The fantastic graffiti of Flash Alley!

North Park

Three cool murals in a North Park alley!

More fun photos of street murals in North Park.

La Mesa

Murals in urban park celebrate La Mesa volunteers.

Ocean Beach

Two cool murals in an Ocean Beach alley.

City Heights

San Diego’s drive-through art gallery expands!

Painting cool new murals in City Heights!

Old Town

Murals of San Diego history in an Old Town alley.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Discover the Cortez Hill neighborhood loops!

A bunch of stickers were recently applied to sidewalks around the downtown San Diego neighborhood of Cortez Hill. These round purple stickers mark the locations of the Long and Short Loop, where people can walk, jog or ride in wheelchairs, to get some outdoor exercise and fresh air, or perhaps make a short trip to the store.

Today I happened to notice that a sign went up describing the neighborhood’s many Jacaranda trees. The sign provides a good map of the two loops.

I see that the Short Loop is one easy mile. The Long Loop, which passes the place where I live, is a moderate 1.5 miles, including a short but somewhat steep climb to the very top of beautiful Cortez Hill.

If you want a better look at the map, click my photo and the image will enlarge!

Satellite map shows Short and Long Loop in downtown San Diego's Cortez Hill neighborhood.
Satellite map shows the Short and Long Loop in downtown San Diego’s Cortez Hill neighborhood.

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 mosaic wall at the Del Mar Library!

Walk down the sidewalk to the front of the Del Mar Library and you’ll suddenly stop in your tracks. That’s because your eyes will be captivated by the amazing Del Mar Mosaic Wall!

The mixed media mural, created by artists Betsy Schulz and Pat Welsh with the help of community volunteers, was finished in 2003. Found objects, brick and stone were combined with clay forms to produce beautiful images of coastal wildlife, including sea birds and fish. The low walls beside steps climbing to the public library’s front entrance depict dozens of Garibaldi fish, each with the name of a donor to the project.

If the artist Betsy Schulz sounds familiar, that’s because she has created some of the most amazing mosaics around San Diego. If you want to see more of her work, click here or here or here or here or 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!

You can help restore murals around San Diego!

Do you love art? Do you love San Diego’s unique history and culture? Do you want to beautify our city?

Your help is needed!

As you might have read in my previous blog post, local artists have formed a team that intends to restore many of San Diego’s neighborhood murals. Over time street murals can become faded, peeled, dirty or defaced, and need a little love to restore them to their full glory.

The growing Southeast Art Team, led by a super optimistic, smiling Kim Phillips-Pea, has plans to restore various murals in different San Diego communities. But, of course, buying paint and other supplies requires funds. That is where you come in!

You can help to restore beautiful murals around San Diego by visiting the Mural Restoration Project San Diego’s special GoFundMe page here.

Perhaps, like me, you don’t have much skill with a paintbrush, but you can provide a helping hand to mural-restoring artists who do!

Click here!

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!

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Last year, at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s annual Fourth of July celebration, diverse people from our community joined together on stage to read parts of the Declaration of Independence.

People from all walks of life, converging from different places, each with their own unique struggles, ambitions and experiences, remembered some of the enduring principles that underlie a free society.

During the event, anyone in the crowd was invited to come up onto the stage to read, and many did.

Of all the photos I took at the event, the above photograph to me is the most powerful.

Even with all of our human differences–the millions of unique personal beliefs and desires that frequently conflict–there are high ideals that are cherished by one and all.

We all want to live. We all want to be free. We all seek happiness.

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

A graffiti-style Greetings From Serra Mesa!

Graffiti-style mural by @NatronWasHere offers Greetings From Serra Mesa.
A mural by @NatronWasHere offers Greetings From Serra Mesa.

Check out this elaborate graffiti-style mural in Serra Mesa! It was spray painted on the side of San Diego Sandwich Company, next to the Valero gas station on Sandrock Road at Murray Ridge Road.

The message, which can be seen by motorists passing through the nearby intersection, is a friendly: Greetings From Serra Mesa!

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!

Little Saigon mural and colorful street art!

Little Saigon postcard mural on the side of Sin Lee Food Whole Sale on El Cajon Boulevard.
Little Saigon postcard mural on the side of the Sin Lee Food Whole Sale building.

Enjoy these photographs of colorful street art along El Cajon Boulevard between Highland Avenue and Euclid Avenue, the heart of an area in San Diego known as Little Saigon!

I made certain to photograph the 2018 postcard-style Little Saigon mural, which was painted by artist Victor Ving and photographer Lisa Beggs during their extensive Greetings Tour.

(Two other cool Greetings Tour murals can be enjoyed in San Diego. One at Liberty Station here, and one in North Park here!)

Come with me and let’s walk through Little Saigon to see some street art!

An imaginative San Diego version of the famous Chợ Bến Thành market, which is located in the center of Hồ Chí Minh City.
An imaginative San Diego version of the famous Chợ Bến Thành market, which is located in the center of Hồ Chí Minh City.

I believe this faded street art in Little Saigon celebrates the 20th Anniversary of The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association.
I believe this faded street art in Little Saigon celebrates the 20th Anniversary of The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association.
Many diverse languages are spoken here.
Sign in front of a market in Little Saigon. Many languages are spoken here.

I love this dragon street art. I had to add contrast to many of these photos, because much of the artwork has been faded by time and weather.
I love this dragon street art. I had to add contrast to many of these photos, because much of the painted artwork has been faded by time and weather.

Banners, lamp posts and architecture reflect Vietnamese culture in San Diego's Little Saigon.
Banners, lamp posts, and even some examples of architecture reflect Vietnamese culture in San Diego’s Little Saigon.
Planter on sidewalk with tile mosaic depicting a lotus, symbol of divine beauty. The lotus is Vietnam's national flower.
Planter on sidewalk with tile mosaic depicting a lotus, symbol of divine beauty. The lotus is Vietnam’s national flower.
Plaque on side of the planter indicates The Little Saigon District was established on June 4th, 2013. Vietnamese refugees have built a new life here.
Plaque on side of the planter indicates The Little Saigon District was established on June 4th, 2013. Vietnamese refugees have built a new life here.

The oft-photographed Little Saigon mural, near the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and Menlo Avenue, created by @GreetingsTour.
The oft-photographed Little Saigon mural, near the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and Menlo Avenue, created by @GreetingsTour.

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!

Little Saigon Stories in North Park windows.

...You are the bright pearly moon at night...Thousands of distant stars Am I...
…You are the bright pearly moon at night…Thousands of distant stars Am I…

Little Saigon Stories can be glimpsed in the windows of a North Park building, at the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street.

A project of Media Arts Center and The AjA Project, Little Saigon Stories celebrates and recounts the history of the Vietnamese community in East San Diego. Various events were held in 2019, including lectures and the creation of public art recounting the stories of Vietnamese refugees and immigrants.

The area called Little Saigon is generally located along El Cajon Boulevard, in the neighborhood of Euclid Avenue.

Little Saigon Stories in windows at El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street.
Little Saigon Stories in windows at El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street.
Despite living here for so long, I've actually never gone back to Vietnam...
Despite living here for so long, I’ve actually never gone back to Vietnam…

I speak four languages. English, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Chinese...
I speak four languages. English, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Chinese…

I came here under the ODP program, parental sponsorship...I sponsored my son to come here...Now he has a child...
I came here under the ODP program, parental sponsorship…I sponsored my son to come here…Now he has a child…

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!