Cool photo memories from May 2016.

Public events in San Diego are gradually making a comeback as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. As more residents and visitors become vaccinated, hopefully our beautiful city will return to something more like normalcy before too long.

Five years ago the situation was quite different! During the month of May so many unique events were recorded on Cool San Diego Sights that it’s difficult to choose just a few to revisit!

Click the upcoming links and you’ll find all sorts of colorful photographs that I took back in May of 2016.

You’ll see photos of newly opened Horton Plaza Park, the San Diego Zoo’s big centennial festival, the steepest part of a Tour de California bicycle race, a Women’s National sailing race on San Diego Bay, a floral wagon parade in Balboa Park, a fun stickball game in Little Italy, an inspiring Memorial Day at Fort Rosecrans, and more.

I was even invited to observe the recording of a cool live local TV show!

Click the following links to enjoy lots of photographs…

History is made–and remembered–at Horton Plaza Park!

Cool knight in golden armor stands guard in San Diego!

Fun photos of San Diego Zoo Centennial Festival!

Tour de California elite bicyclists race up Laurel Street hill!

Cool entertainment: a live television talk show in San Diego!

Fun photos of San Diego’s Bike to Work Day!

College sailing: Women’s National race on San Diego Bay!

Floral Wagon Parade at Balboa Park’s Garden Party!

San Diego stickball: Sidewalk Slammers vs. Street Rookies!

Photos of Memorial Day ceremony at Fort Rosecrans.

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.

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!

Photos of Cinco de Mayo fiesta in Old Town!

Cinco de Mayo is being celebrated this weekend in Old Town!

A good crowd was enjoying the colorful fiesta along San Diego Avenue when I arrived today in the early afternoon.

In addition to vendors selling food, crafts, assorted gifts and goodies, Mexican baile folklórico dancers and mariachis could be found along the street providing lively entertainment! And I spotted friendly local chalk artist Cecelia Linayao creating some art by one sidewalk!

Lots of diners were at the various Mexican eateries that line San Diego Avenue, and I was sorely tempted to buy a fresh handmade tortilla!

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t completely over, so everyone at the popular Old Town festival is asked to wear a face mask and engage in social distancing.

I took these photos to capture some of the fun!

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.

Oil Painters of America comes to Escondido!

What is Left Unsaid, by artist Daniel Gerhartz.

An extraordinary exhibition of oil paintings by some of America’s finest artists opened at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido a couple weeks ago.

Yesterday I headed into the Center’s Museum to check out dozens of superb pieces that were created by members of the Oil Painters of America.

The Oil Painters of America has several thousand members who excel at representational oil painting, an art that has seen some decline in modern times. According to this page of their website: “Oil Painters of America was founded in 1991 by Shirl Smithson primarily to focus attention on the lasting value of fine drawing, color, composition and the appreciation of light…”

Think of those old masters in a fine art museum. Some of the exquisite works I saw yesterday appear to belong right beside them.

Contemporary art can be amazing, other mediums can be fantastic, but if you want to find a profound sense of humanity and subtle emotion in a canvas, this type of painting is hard to beat.

The exhibition is titled the 30th Annual National Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils. The California Center for the Arts, Escondido is privileged to have these works on display. I noticed many of the pieces are for sale.

I loved so many of these fine paintings, it was hard to select a handful to give you an idea of what you’ll see when you enter the museum.

Whatever you do, be sure to pass through the California Center for the Arts’ Museum doors by May 16, 2021, when this fantastic exhibition of traditional oil painting draws to an end.

Taos Light, by artist Huihan Liu.
Considerations, by artist John Michael Carter.
Carpe Diem, by artist Jeff Legg.
Mother, by artist Kathie Odom.
Port Clyde Harbor, by artist Jim Carson.
Saffron In Blue Ridge, by artist Brandon Gonzales.
Into the Sun, by artist Sarah Kidner.

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!

San Diego library mosaic: To Light the Way Within.

An extraordinary work of public art welcomes curious eyes in southeast San Diego.

To Light the Way Within is a colorful glass mosaic mural that greets visitors as they approach the front entrance of the Malcom X Branch Library and Performing Arts Center in Valencia Park. It was created by local artist Jean Cornwell Wheat in 1995.

Last weekend I captured photographs of the 40-foot outdoor entry wall mural, working my way from left to right. The complex imagery relates the story of human language–its history and evolution. Ancient drawings, pictographs and symbols seem to mix and dance forward together when you examine the mural closely.

According to what I’ve read, the mural, created in collaboration with another San Diego artist, Raul Guerrero, incorporates a lantern, a symbol of enlightenment that lights up when it becomes dark. I’ll have to check that out one evening.

Learn more about artist Jean Cornwell Wheat at her website here.

A few days ago I posted photographs of her truly remarkable “hidden” public sculpture Dragonfly Dreams. See that here.

Several years ago I also blogged about an African American fine art exhibition at the San Diego History Center. Check that out here and you’ll see one of Jean Cornwell Wheat’s canvases, along with other great works by renowned San Diego 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!

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!

Monument to historic radio station KCBQ in Santee.

I remember listening to KCBQ 1170 as a youth. For decades it was one of San Diego’s leading radio stations, featuring radio personalities that are legendary, including “Shotgun Tom” Kelly and Charlie Tuna.

This groundbreaking AM radio station has had a complicated history, its many different owners moving the studio about from time to time and playing everything from contemporary music to country music. A detailed Wikipedia article can be found here.

A monument to the original KCBQ, which was influential in popularizing the Top 40 music format for the rest of the nation, now stands at the radio station’s old Santee transmitter site. It was dedicated on August 28, 2010. You can find the monument on Mission Gorge Road just east of Carlton Hills Boulevard, in front of an In-N-Out Burger fast food restaurant.

Scan the list of past on-air personalities and you’ll see names that have been well known in San Diego radio for decades. Personally, I easily recall the unique voices of Frank Anthony, Gene Knight and Gary Kelley, not to mention “Shotgun Tom” Kelly.

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!

Colorful murals at new Old Town Urban Market!

Some very colorful murals have recently appeared in Old Town at the corner of Twiggs Street and Congress Street!

The two newly decorated walls used to enclose Miranda’s Courtyard, which I blogged about many years ago here. The property is being redeveloped into Old Town Urban Market, which is scheduled to open this summer.

The artwork was painted by “memuco” Guillermo Munro, whose other murals can be enjoyed here.

The murals depict Frida Kahlo, a tree full of positive messages, Día de los Muertos imagery, and some of the historical buildings in Old Town San Diego.

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!

New tile murals at Automotive Museum debut!

Today was an historic day! Four long-anticipated murals have debuted above the entrance of the San Diego Automotive Museum!

Yesterday’s scaffolding has been removed, revealing beautiful tile artwork that will be enjoyed by visitors to Balboa Park for many decades–perhaps even centuries–into the future!

I first blogged about the project back in late 2017. You can read what I wrote here.

As I explained, these permanent tile murals “…are based on murals that decorated the (California State Building) during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition….Much of the California State Building’s original ornamentation no longer exists, including the four original murals. They were created for the exposition by Hollywood set designer Juan Larrinaga. Painted on fiberboard to appear like tilework, they depicted California’s commerce, scenic beauty, agriculture and industry.”

The exquisite tiles were created by RTK Studios in Ojai, California.

Those who enjoy at visit to the San Diego Automotive Museum, or the newly opened Pan American Plaza in front of the museum, will now be able feast their eyes on these four truly remarkable works of public art!

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!

Young Art: Outside the Frame at Balboa Park!

The San Diego Museum of Art, in partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric and Mindful Murals, will soon showcase an inspiring community project titled Young Art: Outside the Frame!

Twenty five SDG&E utility boxes near Balboa Park and along Park Boulevard into downtown are now being painted with artwork selected from the museum’s biennial exhibition of local student art.

The museum’s upcoming exhibition is titled Young Art 2021: My World, Our Planet.

I was walking up Park Boulevard by Balboa Park’s Pepper Grove Playground this afternoon when I noticed one of the utility boxes is now being painted! San Diego artist Amanda Saint Claire was mentoring Katie Flores as the two created some beautiful new public artwork!

I was shown how the youth art that was selected for this particular box appears. You can get an idea with the following photo:

All the boxes are being painted by professional artists, under the coordination of Mindful Murals. (You might remember I saw some of Mindful Murals’ inspiring work at Edison Elementary School in City Heights a couple years ago and posted photos here.)

The 25 utility boxes should be finished by March 22. The San Diego Museum of Art’s exhibition Young Art 2021: My World, Our Planet will be on view March 26 to May 9, 2021.

A map showing the location of each utility box will be provided!

Stay tuned for more!

UPDATE!

I walked past the box early the following morning and saw more progress has been made. I didn’t have a chance to go by later in the day, but I’ll visit it again in the next few days to see if it’s completed! Here are the photos…

As you can see, butterflies have appeared on top of the box!

SECOND UPDATE!

I went by the next morning, too, and this is what I saw! I’m not sure if the box is finished, but it looks great!

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!