Sunflowers in Escondido help Ukrainian refugees!

An effort is underway in Escondido to help refugees who’ve fled Ukraine during the Russian invasion.

I saw numerous beautiful paintings of sunflowers on display at the 2022 Escondido Street Festival today. Sunflowers are the national flower of Ukraine.

The bright, optimistic paintings were created by artists who belong to the Escondido Art Association. Their project is called Sunflowers for Ukraine. Purchases and donations go to World Central Kitchen, which is feeding displaced Ukrainians.

Want to learn more?

Visit the Escondido Art Association’s website by clicking here! They’ve already raised ten thousand dollars!

Feeling inspired by this project? But you don’t live in Escondido? Certainly there are many artists who can paint sunflowers where you live! You can grow sunflowers like these, too!

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!

Would you like to read a happy short story about sunflowers and spreading kindness? Then click here!

Poetry transcends perception at Liberty Station.

One seldom observes public art that features poetry. It’s even more rare when the poems are composed by people who are frequently ignored.

Transcending Perception is public art that debuted in Liberty Station back in October, 2020. I hadn’t seen this installation until last weekend, when I walked down a pathway on the east side of THE LOT movie theater.

The images of Transcending Perception, according to the nearby information sign, “were created in a series of workshops that combined theater, poetry, and photography with the intention of ‘returning the gaze’ on both current and historical representations of those who are often excluded or misrepresented in the dominant media…”

This artwork was created by Josemar Gonzalez/Diana Cervera/The AjA Project.

Should you visit Liberty Station in Point Loma, you might want to read these potent words and consider what they mean and why they were written.

We all lead unique lives, with our own experiences and assumptions. It’s enlightening to put yourself in another’s shoes.

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!

Create a superhero and win 4 Comic-Con passes!

With less than a week to go, Comic-Con International logos have appeared all over the San Diego Convention Center!

Do you know any kids who’d like to win 4 valuable passes to San Diego Comic-Con this year? Listen up!

I just learned there’s a contest underway that ends tomorrow, put on by the Comic-Con Museum and Feeding San Diego. It’s called the Hunger Action Hero Art Contest.

Students from K to 12 are invited to create a hunger fighting superhero! Artwork and a brief superhero origin story are required to enter the contest, but kids must do so by April 22, 2022–that’s tomorrow! Fortunately, submissions can be made easily online.

Various prizes will be awarded for the top ten entries, in addition to 4 Comic-Con passes for the contest winner. To learn more, click 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!

Standing with Ukraine in San Diego.

I walked a little through downtown San Diego this morning and this evening. And the first thing I photographed was the above sign We Stand With Ukraine.

Later, I’d see other instances of San Diego businesses and residents standing in solidarity with the Ukrainians, who have been suffering for a month now during the brutal Russian invasion orchestrated by Putin.

The civilized world has been watching the shocking events in Ukraine with horror and great sadness.

May reason, compassion, and human liberty prevail.

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!

Love is an Action in San Ysidro!

A newly opened art exhibit in San Ysidro provides hope and inspiration in these difficult times. It’s titled Love is an Action – Amor en los Tiempos de Pandemia (Love in Pandemic Times).

The exhibition features works by regional artists. Positive themes are plentiful, including compassion, acceptance, hope and healing. Most of the artwork concerns female experience and empowerment.

Love is an Action is the 15th Día de la Mujer Art Exhibition at Casa Familiar’s The FRONT Arte & Cultura museum.

I was struck by the power of many of these pieces. They are full of human feeling and authenticity. You can sense how many artists were uniquely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which threw us all into isolation and uncertainty.

You can also clearly see that art can help us through life’s difficulties–to remind us of what is good and what is important–to make us feel alive once again.

This is just a small sample of what you’ll see…

Postcards that visitors can write a message of kindness or encouragement upon. They will be sent anonymously when the exhibition ends.
Breakfast, 2021, Lourdes Araiza. Photograph mounted on wood. Image of Mom eating breakfast, whose loving smile full of gratitude was a blessing.
Amor a lo Natural, 2020, Paola Segura. Oil on canvas. Pride and power, struggle and frustration are often depicted through the artist’s pieces.
The Graduate, 2022, Monica Nunez Aragon. Acrylic.
Tu Sola Alondra, 2022, Alondra Zamora. Acrylic on canvas. The artist’s love letter to her culture as a Mexicana.
Prayer, 2022, Betty Bangs. Acrylic on canvas.
Healing, 2020, Veronica Aranda. Mixed media on canvas. An image that came to the artist of a world healing without pollution.
Re-Member Her site specific installation by Collectivo XoQUE. Imagery of Aztec goddess Coyolxauhqui explores women living on the border, and seeks to “create intimacy in the attempt to pick up the fragments of our dismembered womanhood and reconstitute ourselves in harmony with nature, body and soul, and the mind and spirit.”
Braiding a Message of 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!

Join the San Diego River March in Mission Valley!

A beautiful morning photo of the San Diego River taken from Mission Center Road. This spot often floods and traffic must be diverted.

Would you like to help clean up the San Diego River? There’s a volunteer event coming up that might interest you!

I was in Mission Valley this morning when I saw a poster promoting the First Annual San Diego River March. This coffee, walk and cleanup is being put on by the Ecological Servants Project, a newly formed organization based in El Cajon.

The founder of the Ecological Servants Project writes in a newsletter how his difficult life was transformed, in part by an encounter with nature’s boundless beauty. He came to understand that life itself is beautiful.

I do know the San Diego River could use many helping hands.

The date for the volunteer cleanup is Friday, March 18, 2022.

You can find all of the details at their website 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!

A new Peace Pole comes to Balboa Park.

A hopeful new Peace Pole has been installed in Balboa Park near the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

The Peace Pole, which contains the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in many languages, is the project of Rotary E-Club of San Diego Global, San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club and the international Peace Pole Project.

I saw the unique yellow signpost for the first time early this morning during a walk through Balboa Park.

I stumbled upon a similar pole a couple years ago during a walk through Rotary Lane in Vista, California. See that one here.

This new Peace Pole has debuted just as war in Ukraine gets underway.

I don’t know whether the hope for enduring world peace is vain, given various aspects of human nature and the resulting conflicts. But if we don’t hope for peace, and desire peace, and make peace, and treat each other kindly, then there is no hope for humanity.

I choose to hope.

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!

Aero Drive’s other name in the Convoy District.

While driving through Kearny Mesa, have you glimpsed something mysterious above an Aero Drive street sign?

I saw this unique “Honorary Deegan and Stephen Lew Drive” sign last weekend. I was walking down a sidewalk through the Convoy District.

Pausing at the corner of Convoy Street and Aero Drive, I took this photograph.

When I got home, I found a press release from San Diego District 6 Councilmember Chris Cate.

I learned that the 7900 block of Aero Drive was dedicated last summer to two brothers who were members of the Asian American community. Both were “…incredibly active civically, culturally, and philanthropically…”

I also learned this is the very first street sign in San Diego written in both English and Chinese.

I don’t recall seeing the dedication event on the news, and indeed a search of Google News turns up nothing.

I’m glad I happened to see the sign. I learned a little about two people who were loved by many, and who contributed to the life of our city.

“San Diego is a better, more kind, and compassionate place because of Deegan and Stephen.”

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 Are Not Alone in San Diego.

I saw this new mural the other day while walking along West Morena Boulevard, at the south end of San Diego’s Bay Park neighborhood. It’s near the new Tecolote Road trolley station.

Nobody in this world should ever feel alone. Even if you have no family. Even if you have difficult problems. Even if you’re feeling depressed or hopeless.

San Diego–and indeed every community in the world–has friendly, compassionate people. Find them.

I see the mural’s artist is Catherine Carlton.

If you are elderly or disabled, San Diego has a You Are Not Alone program that will call you regularly to see if you’re doing okay. Learn more about it 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!

A special message from Santa Claus for San Diego!

I’ve just been contacted by Santa Claus. He has an important message for all of San Diego!

Merry Christmas, San Diego.

I hope you have a safe and dry Christmas Day with family and loved ones. Omicron is worse than getting coal in your stocking. Get vaccinated and wear a mask.

Santa hopes the pandemic will end and we all can return to “December Nights in the Park” next year.

Santa held his COVID-19 Vaccination Card during 2021 “Taste of December Nights.” (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
After “Taste of December Nights,” Santa went to visit the Nativity scenes at the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
A week later, a well-dressed Chihuahua sporting a stylish Mohawk posed with Santa at Harry’s Coffee Shop in La Jolla. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
This cute little girl came to visit Santa while he was eating breakfast at Harry’s. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
… and this little guy was impressed with Santa’s baseball card. We want the Padres to win the World Series in 2022. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)

Be good to one another. Have fun. Laugh and be joyous, but also remember the meaning of the season.

Your friend,

Santa Claus