UC San Diego student art exhibited in Balboa Park.

This weekend I stepped into the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park to view their current exhibition, which is titled Measurements of Progress.

Graduating students (and a couple of professors) from UC San Diego’s 2021 Masters of Fine Arts program have contributed artwork that primarily concerns the ongoing human struggle to achieve certain ideals, particularly peace, liberty, and justice.

Given how the subject matter is largely political, it’s not surprising that some of the student art is ideological and simple. I was drawn to other more subtle, mysterious works that encourage the viewer to look open-eyed at a complex world and inward with questioning wonder.

A couple of pieces I really loved are sculptures made of fabric. Touched by soft light, they seem to hang in space like organic abstractions, sinuous, fragile, evocative, full of memory. One contains poetry.

Another strange, thought-provoking work is a series of prostheses that explores the “limited and flawed nature of human perceptions and the manner in which bodies experience the world…”

Another piece explores the cosmos in the artist’s own body. I’m not exactly sure what the 3-channel video depicts–possibly dyed slides under a microscope–but watching the movement of living cells in our immensely complex selves can make one less political, more philosophical.

Measurements of Progress is well worth checking out if you love endlessly fascinating productions of human creativity–particularly contemporary art.

The exhibition is free and will continue at the San Diego Art Institute through May 30, 2021.

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!

Colorful characters gather for City Heights celebration!

This afternoon I attended an inspirational event in the heart of City Heights. Local artists, community leaders and excited residents gathered for a fun celebration in the newly opened “Characters” outdoor sculpture garden!

You might recall I posted some photos of this cool art installation a while back before it was completed. Since then, more creative sculptures have been installed! I also noticed small signs have been added to each piece, with information about the artist and artwork.

I arrived early and watched as the crowd slowly grew, mingling among the diverse Characters sculptures. And before my eyes the number of smiling characters increased!

Everyone enjoyed food and live music, and there was juggling and stilt-walking by a member of the Fern Street Circus. After a little while various community leaders spoke, including local artist Jim Bliesner, the curator of Characters.

He introduced the neighborhood artists who created each sculpture, and many of the stories were inspirational. Every piece, like every person in the life of a community, is special and unique.

During the event I also learned that in two years this now vacant lot at the corner of University Avenue and Interstate 15 will be developed into affordable housing. When finished, a five-story building, the project of Wakeland Housing & Development and the City Heights Community Development Corporation, will be located conveniently near the City Heights Transit Plaza.

What I learned above all, however, is that City Heights is becoming an ever more vibrant community, with the help of many hands and hearts.

Edwin Lohr poses beside his sculpture Covid Calamity.

The sculpture was created using scarves that belonged to Ruth, a City Heights neighbor, friend, and victim of COVID-19.
Kay Aye poses for a photo by her sculpture titled Speaking for Silent Majorities/Fruit of My Heart.
Kay Aye was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. Her art speaks of the oppression that has been going on for years in her native land.
Member of the Fern Street Circus engages in performance art! Different color paints dribble down 2020 Man, a sculpture made of tangled branches by Jim Bliesner.
Twisted, chaotic broken branches form a human shape. 2020 was a year full of twists and turns!
Art brings even more life to a vibrant City Heights community.

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 short story about life, death and laughter.

I’ve published another very short work of fiction. This piece is titled The Fight. It’s about living and dying . . . and laughter.

Perhaps you’ll enjoy this little story. It includes life experiences that are relatable.

Getting this simple story to work has been a struggle. I published The Fight prematurely a couple weeks ago, then pulled it down. A tale about life and death should be written carefully.

And laughter is a serious matter, too!

Now I hope I have things about right.

Read the story here!

Girl walks with many dogs in La Mesa!

During my walk in La Mesa last weekend I spotted a girl strolling with numerous dogs down the sidewalk!

Happy dogs of every type were walking with her past Village Antiques, as a curious cat watched from the shop window. And all of this was happening at the corner of La Mesa Boulevard and University Avenue . . . on a painted utility box!

I saw that this fun but somewhat faded street art was created by Margo Parks and Yvonne Rose.

As I tried to do a little research about the artists, I made a big discovery. This street art is part of a larger La Mesa beautification project called the Walking Art Trail.

The Walking Art Trail was created by the La Mesa Arts Alliance (LMAA) in partnership with the community. Local artists painted a variety of utility boxes around La Mesa, and a brochure which you can see here shows the locations of each colorful box!

Back in 2017 I photographed a number of these painted boxes without realizing they were all part of a larger project. You can see my photographs here.

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

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A unique Fountain Mountain at Mission Trails!

Very unique public art with an environmental theme can be seen (and activated!) in the northeast corner of Mission Trails Regional Park. Fountain Mountain is located just outside the recently completed East Fortuna Equestrian Staging Area Field Station.

Fountain Mountain was created by renowned San Diego artist Roman de Salvo in 2020. The drinking fountain not only quenches your thirst after a hot day of hiking, but it’s the source of water for two small meandering rivers carved into a mountain-like boulder!

Instead of going down a drain, fountain water that escapes your thirsty mouth comes to life as it streams and sparkles down the small mountain!

According to this page from San Diego’s Civic Art Collection website: “De Salvo’s artwork references the archeological remains of grinding rocks used by the Kumeyaay, who were the first people to extensively live on and make use of the land that became part of the park. For de Salvo, these grinding rocks embody a sense of history, timelessness, and a connection to human activity in the park…”

To learn more about Roman de Salvo, check out this Wikipedia page.

I’ve photographed a number of his works around San Diego. To see more of his inventive, often often playful sculptures and public artwork, including a fun riddle encountered by riders of the San Diego Trolley, click here and here and here and here and 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!

Even more Young Art: Outside the Frame!

The San Diego Museum of Art’s unique project Young Art: Outside the Frame continues to expand!

Today I spotted even more SDG&E utility boxes that are being painted for the outdoor exhibition of youth art!

A total of 25 utility boxes are being painted around downtown by professional artists, taking their inspiration from the San Diego Museum of Art’s biennial exhibition of local student art, which this year is titled Young Art 2021: My World, Our Planet. The super nice people at Mindful Murals are coordinating the various artists.

The past few weeks I’ve posted photographs of many other boxes. To see them, and to learn even more about Young Art: Outside the Frame, click here and here and here and here and here. To see how some of the finished utility boxes compare with the original youth art that is now being exhibited in the museum, click here!

The first of the new boxes I spotted today are located on Broadway just east of Park Boulevard. Three stand together in a group. It appears the middle box hasn’t been started yet. I don’t know who has painted the boxes on either end, but I’ll provide an update when I learn!

The fourth box I spotted today is on A Street between Tenth and 11th Avenue, directly in front of the Shell gas station. It’s by abstract artist T. Jay Santa Ana (@tjaysantaana).

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!

Trust Me . . . it’s a cool downtown mural!

It’s interesting that only a small fraction of street murals I spot around San Diego have a commercial origin. But one such mural that was painted about a month ago I’d like to share, because it’s undeniably cool!

The artwork was created by Evgeniya Golik (@evgola), a Russian born artist who resides in San Diego. She describes her work as pop-surrealist, or Neo-Renaissance. Her fantastic pieces are often on display in local galleries and regional art museums. You can learn more about her artistic inspirations and accomplishments at her website here.

This particular mural can be found downtown on the south wall of Mixon Liquor & Deli, on 1st Avenue just north of Ash Street. It advertises Trust Me Vodka.

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!

Museum’s environmental youth art, reimagined on the street!

The San Diego Museum of Art’s new exhibition Young Art 2021: My World, Our Planet has opened!

At the title suggests, the museum’s biennial Youth Art exhibition has an environmental theme this year. Students from schools all around San Diego County have contributed.

There’s a new twist this time, however!

Professional artists, coordinated by Mindful Murals, are reimagining 25 works of this outstanding youth art by painting SDG&E utility boxes from Balboa Park down Park Boulevard into downtown San Diego. Every utility box “recreates” a canvas painted by a young person!

I’ve already photographed many of the utility boxes. So I was excited to see all the great original youth art hanging on the San Diego Museum of Art’s walls!

Wouldn’t it be fun, I thought, to compare some of the original art with the painted utility boxes? Of course it would!

The professional artists painting the boxes were encouraged to interpret the student canvases in their own unique way. You can see significant differences. (And painting an outdoor utility box that will be seen momentarily by passing motorists and pedestrians is very different than painting a canvas with a fine brush.)

To view photos of many more utility boxes, click here.

So, without further ado, here come the comparisons!

Plastic, Not Dinner, by Anjolie Ly, Westview High School. Large numbers of turtles are killed each year when they mistake plastic waste for jellyfish.
Artist Brise Birdsong. A more perfect ocean environment.
Strong Together, by Chloe Katz, Art Studio Light.
Artist Amanda Saint Claire, mentoring Katie Flores.
Turn Off the Light, by Anqi “Cici” Mei, Solana Pacific Elementary.
Artist Nhuy Reid.
2050, by Sheridan Liew, Sherry Art Studio/Canyon Crest Academy. A future of severe environmental pollution might look like this.
Artist Lucy Helle.
Wind Farm at Sundown on 8 East, by Arianna Larios, Homeschool.
I don’t know the artist at this moment! When I learn, I’ll provide an update. UPDATE! The artist is Sean Hnedak.
Oceana, by Alice Zhu, Westview High School. A girl’s serenity contrasted with her hair as an oil spill.
Artist Alyssa Stewart.

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!

Discovering more Young Art: Outside the Frame!

While walking up Park Boulevard in East Village today I discovered more utility boxes that are being painted for the San Diego Museum of Art’s cool outdoor exhibition Young Art: Outside the Frame!

Most of the boxes you see here are located around Park Boulevard and F Street. Last weekend I discovered other newly painted utility boxes in this same general area and posted those photos here. Click the link and you’ll learn more about this unique, very cool project!

(I noticed some of those earlier boxes are now finished, and I’ll be updating that blog post with additional images shortly.)

To see even more colorful utility boxes painted for the Young Art: Outside the Frame project, you can check out additional blog posts here and here and here!

As you can see in the next photo, the fun goldfish box was painted by Ground Floor Murals. They also created a super cool mural in City Heights celebrating Tony Gwynn. See that here!

For the other boxes that follow, many of which are just getting started, I don’t know the artists yet…

The next three boxes are on the sidewalk adjacent to some very cool East Village murals I blogged about here!

UPDATE!

Here are a couple photos I took several days later…

ANOTHER UPDATE!

And a week or so later I took more photos! I now see the box with the words YOU ARE MAGIC is by artist Amanda Lopez (@amanda.makes.art). The box with the whale in the clouds is by Tory Brooke Marshall (@afrothynothing). And the face with flowing red scarf is by Mindful Murals!

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!

Community sculptures appear in City Heights!

An outdoor sculpture gallery is now springing up in the heart of City Heights!

Today I paused near the intersection of University Avenue and Interstate 15 to feast my eyes on all the colorful artwork!

This very cool outdoor sculpture garden is sponsored by the City Heights Community Development Corporation, the City Heights Business Association and Synergy Arts Foundation. The character sculptures, which might represent a person that is real or imagined, are all created by members of the community, under the curation of local artist Jim Bliesner.

The sculptures have personalities that are funny, or sad, or hopeful, or simply whimsical–and all are super creative! I noticed some refer to the difficult COVID-19 pandemic we are all experiencing.

You can view this unique installation in the vacant lot north of University Avenue just east of Interstate 15. The mixed media sculptures stand behind a fence that is already decorated with hand painted murals that I blogged about here.

The sculptures will be on display in the lot for a year and a variety of community events will be held among them.

I’ll return at a later time to photograph additional sculptures. Stay tuned for an update!

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!