The forgotten public art of a famous artist.

I received a comment this weekend on a past blog post that concerns public art at San Ysidro Park. The Tree of Life is a tile mosaic planter and bench near the center San Ysidro Park, created by internationally renowned artist Victor Ochoa (with the help of some kids, I believe). I posted photos here, where you can also read the comment.

I was informed that a second Tree of Life by Victor Ochoa can be found at Howard Lane Park off Dairy Mart Road, and that the City of San Diego lists neither works on its civic art collection website here.

The reader commented the tree planted in this second Tree of Life planter is dead. Which is quite sad, seeing how Victor Ochoa is an artist who is celebrated around the world, particularly for his murals in historic Chicano Park.

Today I decided to go down to Howard Lane Neighborhood Park in the northwest corner of San Ysidro to check it out.

This is what I discovered…

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A look at Our Lady of Angels in Sherman Heights.

Whenever I drive along California State Route 94, just east of downtown San Diego, I can’t help noticing a yellow church with a tall, old-fashioned steeple rising south of the highway. So I finally decided to take a walk through Sherman Heights to have a better look.

According to this, the Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church originated in 1905. A plaque by the front entrance reads: Church of Our Lady of Angels 1906. I suppose that’s the year of the building’s dedication. I tried to do a little online research, but I can’t find much about the building’s history.

As you can see, the church has a quaint but very distinctive appearance. It is said to be one of San Diego’s best examples of Gothic Revival architecture. (To me, seen from its front, the church appears like an angular yellow rocket!)

Our Lady of Angels stands in the historic old neighborhood of Sherman Heights, which today is filled with numerous picturesque Victorian houses, many of which exist in a state of semi-decay. Our Lady of Angels was San Diego’s second Catholic parish.

I didn’t venture beyond the angelic front doors of the church. The colorful building appeared to be closed the day I walked around it.

Enjoy some photos!

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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Monument to a White Deer in Presidio Park.

A little known monument stands in a remote corner of San Diego’s Presidio Park. It remembers a white deer that once lived there.

From an article in the PRESIDIO PARK RANGER REPORT, QUARTERLY: SEPTEMBER 2006-NOVEMBER 2006…

WHITE DEER

This female white fallow deer roamed the hills of Mission Valley, Mission Hills, and Presidio Park. This doe escaped from the San Diego Zoo around 1965 and wandered free in Presidio Park for the next ten years.

The deer was spotted attempting to cross the I-8 freeway, and some locals reported seeing the deer get hit by a vehicle. Tragically, in the effort to catch the deer, Animal Control used a tranquilizer dart, which ultimately led to the deer’s death in December, 1975.

This treasured deer had been something of a community mascot. This incident led to an outpouring of community grief.

As a result, a citizen’s committee was formed to promote a suitable memorial for the gravesite. In 1976, a monument was placed at the top of the hill at Inspiration Point for the most cherished White deer named “Lucy”. A free standing monument of three native stones designed by San Diego Artist Charles Faust, sits on the hill top for all to remember the White Deer.

Margaret Price (1911-) a local artist involved in converting Spanish Village in Balboa Park to an artists enclave, truly worked diligently to establish the monument for the White deer. Many community members wrote to Price, hoping to have their poem or saying put onto the monument.

A bronze plaque beside the three standing stones reads: Bliss in solitude beneath this tree, formless, silent, spirit free. A Friend

About to head up the hill from the small Inspiration Point parking lot.
About to head up the hill from the small Inspiration Point parking lot.
Heading up under shady trees.
Heading up under shady trees.
Approaching a park bench, and three vertical stones near it.
Approaching a park bench, and three vertical stones near it.
Public art in Presidio Park remembers a White Dear named Lucy that escaped from the San Diego Zoo.
Public art in Presidio Park remembers a White Dear named Lucy that escaped from the San Diego Zoo.
A monument atop a green hill honors natural things.
A monument atop a green hill honors natural things.
Deer tracks approach the sculpted water hole, among the tracks of other wild animals.
Deer tracks approach the sculpted water hole, among the tracks of other wild animals.
A plaque is nearby.
A plaque is nearby.
The white deer of Mission Hills. Bliss in solitude beneath this tree, formless, silent, spirit free. A friend
The white deer of Mission Hills. Bliss in solitude beneath this tree, formless, silent, spirit free. A friend
Monument to a White Deer in San Diego's Presidio Park.
Monument to a White Deer in San Diego’s Presidio Park.

To see this simple but very beautiful monument, turn up the steep driveway off Taylor Street, just east of Presidio Park’s main entrance. The driveway leads to the Inspiration Point parking lot.

Then walk up the nearby hill.

This monument is very close to some homes in Mission Hills, so be quiet and respectful.

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Colorful banners celebrate Italian Americans.

Jim Croce.
Jim Croce.

Occasionally, over the years, I’ve shared photographs of colorful banners hung from street lamps in Little Italy. Many can be found along India Street. Most celebrate famous Italian Americans.

The face you see might be of a popular musician, or an Oscar winner, or an inventor, or a Major League Baseball player, or a religious leader, or a powerful politician or businessman . . . you get the idea.

During walks through Little Italy in the past few weeks I noticed many banners that I hadn’t photographed yet.

In no particular order, here they are:

Mother Cabrini.
Mother Cabrini.

Bruce Springsteen.
Bruce Springsteen.

Jerry Lewis and Frank Busalacchi (San Diego restauranteur).
Jerry Lewis and Frank Busalacchi (San Diego restauranteur).

Vito Marcantonio.
Vito Marcantonio.

Fiorello La Guardia.
Fiorello La Guardia.

Louis Prima.
Louis Prima.

Dana Reeve.
Dana Reeve.

Al Pacino.
Al Pacino.

Francis Ford Coppola.
Francis Ford Coppola.

Jimmy Durante.
Jimmy Durante.

Giada De Laurentiis.
Giada De Laurentiis.

Joe Pass.
Joe Pass.

Russ Columbo.
Russ Columbo.

Robert Mondavi.
Robert Mondavi.

Jennifer Capriati.
Jennifer Capriati.

Roger Enrico.
Roger Enrico.

Ernest and Julio Gallo.
Ernest and Julio Gallo.

Frank Capra.
Frank Capra.

Carlo Vinci.
Carlo Vinci.

Dean Martin.
Dean Martin.

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!

Six names on six benches.

Around noon today I sat down, opened a book.

I’d taken a walk around Cardiff-by-the-Sea and had found a perfect shady bench in Glen Park.

Below in the distance people were darting about the basketball court shooting hoops. One person missed, madly whirled, lunged forward, fell back, reached, barely intercepted, passed, darted, jumped impossibly high, caught, shot again, swished, shouted happily.

Upon finishing a chapter, I got up and gathered my stuff. The bench I’d been sitting on had a plaque. “Gotta go, gotta ride.”

It felt like the perfect small poem.

I found six names on six empty benches.

Every word shined.

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 colorful new Cesar Chavez Park Mural.

During my walk last weekend through Cesar Chavez Park, I was delighted to see a bright new mural painted on the long wall behind the park’s expanse of grass.

When I approached the mural, I noticed it was painted by Pandr Design Co. In my previous blog post you saw another mural that these artists recently painted! That one is on Market Street in downtown San Diego!

This new Cesar Chavez Park Mural was commissioned by the Port of San Diego. According to a nearby sign, this artwork brings color and inspiration to the park, creates a sense of place, and enhances the cultural richness of the Port’s waterfront.

It does!

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 murals in cross-border art exhibition!

An international cross-border exhibition of urban art can now be enjoyed in both San Diego and Tijuana. Nine amazing, newly painted outdoor murals, created by regional artists in Southern California and Mexico, are part of this binational exhibition, which is titled Walls – Cross Border Urban Art/Muros – Arte Urbano Interfronterizo. The event is a collaboration between the San Ysidro community development organization Casa Familiar and the Municipal Institute of Art and Culture of Tijuana.

Yesterday I was given a tour of some of the murals that were created north of the border. My guide was Francisco Morales, Gallery Director of The FRONT, Casa Familiar’s art gallery at 147 W. San Ysidro Boulevard. The FRONT Arte Cultura is a cool community gathering place for exhibitions, concerts, education, and other cultural and artistic engagement.

The FRONT Arte Cultura is an art gallery in San Ysidro operated by the community organization Casa Familiar.
The FRONT Arte Cultura is a gallery in San Ysidro operated by the community organization Casa Familiar.

We began by looking at the following indoor mural, which was spray painted just inside The FRONT gallery by artist Juan Carlos Galindo, who is known as GRVR. His urban art is like graffiti with a surreal pop art quality, full of the color, zest and dynamism of life near the border. I was told that at night the brightly lit mural attracts attention through the gallery’s front window, luring the eyes of those walking or driving by.

We then crossed San Ysidro Boulevard to take a look at the three nearest outdoor murals.

The following amazing artwork by Mary Jhun, an artist representing the Filipino community, is a work in progress. It will be a permanent addition to what used to be an old hotel called La Nola, an historic building that will be renovated and repurposed along with several other nearby buildings.

Next is a colorful mural by Jorge Mendoza, whose very cool Nest Murals in Barrio Logan I once photographed here.

The third mural across the street from The FRONT gallery is by Stephanie “Fifi” Martinez, who is a very talented cartoonist and student at San Diego City College. Her themes often concern emotional turmoil and inspiration, as you can see in this really great mural she painted.

We then walked a short distance down San Ysidro Boulevard to the El Rincon Restaurant, whose outdoor wall was painted by Michelle Ruby, who is also known as Mrbbaby. Her pinata character Chucho is riding with a doll atop a colorful Quetzalcoatl, who appears to be in love with the moon! (I must admit this was my favorite.)

A variety of older murals in the neighborhood are also included in the Walls – Cross Border Urban Art exhibition. You can see a Google map of all the mural locations that are in San Ysidro by clicking here. I happened to photograph two older murals by Sand One and Victor Ochoa on a previous walk. You can see those two great murals by clicking here!

After viewing the above Mrbbaby mural, we walked north up Cypress Drive. I was told by Francisco that this walkable stretch that connects The FRONT gallery to the San Ysidro Branch Library is called the Cultural Corridor.

Near an open park-like space where the annual Día de San Ysidro/San Ysidro Day event is held we paused to admire two more murals on a low wall. The fun swirly one was painted by Luisa Martinez and David Pena during the 2019 community festival; the other was created more recently by Hector Villegas to encourage participation in the 2020 Census.

As you can see, the murals that are included in this binational exhibition are rather amazing. I’m told the murals in Tijuana are equally superb! Unfortunately, as I write this, the border is closed to all but essential workers due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

If you’d like to learn more about the Walls – Cross Border Urban Art/Muros – Arte Urbano Interfronterizo exhibition, or visit Casa Familiar’s very cool The FRONT Arte Cultura gallery in San Ysidro, make sure to go to this web page for much more detailed information!

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!

Girl Scouts work to make a better community!

Believe.
Believe.

Today I enjoyed a tour of a fantastic outdoor mural exhibition in San Ysidro. It was the highlight of my day. I’ll blog about that shortly.

Earlier in the afternoon, I walked a little around the neighborhood and found myself looking at some creative artwork on a fence at the San Ysidro Community Center. I’d stumbled upon the Gold Award project of two local Girl Scouts!

According to a sign on the fence, in 2018 Orian Martinez restored the community center’s outdoor playground, and Sofia Perez-Valles created the Utopia Mural on the surrounding fence, embellishing it with positive messages.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has closed the San Ysidro Community Center and its outdoor area for many months now, so if things look a bit weathered and ragged, you can understand why. But the positive efforts and messages endure.

The actions and leadership of these two Girl Scouts have indeed made the world (and their community) a better place!

Utopia Mural.
Utopia Mural.

Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.
Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.

Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.
Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.

Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.
Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.

Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.
Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.

Courage.
Courage.

More colorful butterflies.
More colorful butterflies.

Action Changes Things.
Action Changes Things.

The future has many names...
The future has many names. For the fearful, the unknown. For the weak, the unreachable. For the brave, an opportunity.

Action is the foundational...
Action is the foundational…

...skill to all success.
…skill to all success.

Fall seven times and get up eight.
Fall seven times and get up eight.

If you do what you've always done, you'll get where you've always gone.
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll arrive where you’ve always gone.

Changes bring opportunity.
Changes bring opportunity.

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!

Your bus or trolley photo on MTS 2021 calendar!

Cool restored Silver Line trolley at Fifth Avenue station.

Do you live in San Diego, or have plans to visit? Are you a rider of the bus or trolley? Are you a photographer at any level who loves a challenge?

San Diego’s MTS (Metropolitan Transit System) might put one of your photographs on their upcoming 2021 calendar!

If you’ve taken a great photo outside or inside an MTS bus or trolley, or perhaps a photo from a station platform, you can submit your image to be considered for inclusion in next year’s official MTS calendar. If your image is selected, you’ll get credit plus your own free calendar.

The deadline for submission is October 15, 2020. Your photos must meet certain requirements, such as being high-resolution and in JPG format. You can learn all about what you need to do on this page.

Why not give it a try?

Sounds like fun!

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!

Neighbor releases butterflies in San Diego park!

A neighbor in San Diego’s Cortez Hill community has released butterflies in a city park. She accomplished this with a paintbrush and stencils!

Take a look!

I learned from Joe Ciavarella of Friends of Tweet Street Park that the beautiful butterflies–and birds, flowers and dragonflies–you see in my photos were painted on planters and stones recently by Victoria Villavicencio, who periodically visits Cortez Hill.

Tweet Street Linear Park at the top of Cortez Hill becomes ever more inviting over time, thanks not only to the friendly workers of San Diego’s Parks and Recreation Department, but to unselfish community volunteers who devotedly plant, tend and clean the garden-like park.

From one who lives a few steps away: Thank You!

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!