Art, Color and Fiesta in Balboa Park!

The San Diego School of Ballet performs during Arte, Color y Fiesta, a special event in Balboa Park celebrating Mexican Independence Day.
The San Diego School of Ballet performs during Arte, Color y Fiesta, a special event in Balboa Park celebrating Mexican Independence Day.

This evening I enjoyed a special event at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. The House of Mexico presented Arte, Color y Fiesta, a cultural program rich with dance, music and patriotism celebrating Mexican Independence Day.

I successfully photographed the first few groups that provided entertainment before daylight waned. Many smiles shined into the evening.

To learn more about the House of Mexico, and perhaps become a member, or provide a donation as they prepare to build their new cottage among the existing House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, visit their website here!

The colorful program at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion was presented by the House of Mexico, member of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
The colorful program at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion was presented by the House of Mexico, member of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages in Balboa Park.
A poster on display during the event showed construction plans for the House of Mexico's cottage in Balboa Park.
A poster on display during the event showed construction plans for the House of Mexico’s new cottage in Balboa Park.
Los Chinelos De Morelos dance in Balboa Park. The traditional dance of the State of Morelos, Mexico includes Carnival-like costumes and masks.
Los Chinelos Unidos por Siempre de San Diego dance in Balboa Park. The traditional dance of the State of Morelos, Mexico includes fantastic Carnival-like costumes and masks.
During the program, a color guard advanced the Mexican flag to the stage, and the traditional Grito Mexicano was shouted. Viva México!
During the program, a color guard advanced the Mexican flag to the stage, and the traditional Grito Mexicano was shouted. Viva México!
Mariachi Juvenil de San Diego perform during an event that celebrates Mexico's independence from Spain.
Mariachi Juvenil de San Diego, a musical group composed of local high school students, perform during an event that celebrates Mexico’s independence from Spain.
Meanwhile, in the nearby Plaza de Panama, the Flavor Company dance group had people dancing the Conga for Balboa Park's Food Truck Friday.
Meanwhile, in the nearby Plaza de Panama, the Flavor Company dance group had people dancing the Conga for Balboa Park’s Food Truck Friday.
Life, color and joy thrive in San Diego at Balboa Park's Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Life, color and joy thrive in San Diego’s amazing Balboa Park.

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’s outdoor, drive-through art gallery!

A large, welcoming Love City Heights mural greets people along University Avenue near Interstate 15.
A large, welcoming Love City Heights mural greets people along University Avenue near Interstate 15.

There’s a surprising, rapidly expanding outdoor art gallery in San Diego that anybody can freely enjoy. The huge canvases of this unique gallery are the walls of buildings in City Heights, on the stretch of University Avenue between I-805 and I-15.

Eye-catching works of art by noted San Diego and Southern California muralists have recently been painted all along this “drive-through” gallery. And many more will be appearing soon!

I recently enjoyed a walking tour of the colorful murals, led by Carlos Quezada and Edwin Lohr, two members of Love City Heights, an association affiliated with the City Heights Town Council. Carlos and Edwin are both visionaries who are working with local residents, community leaders and businesses to bring new life to this extraordinarily diverse San Diego neighborhood.

An important part of their effort is #theavenuemuralproject. The Avenue Mural Project is using the magic of art to transform University Avenue, which contains City Heights’ Business District, into a vibrant place full of culture, creativity and community pride.

I learned that Carlos has a definite goal. He’d like to have one new street mural painted every month. His hope is that eventually three works of public art will be easily seen from any random spot along “The Avenue”.

I also learned that Love City Heights is collaborating with the City Heights Development Corporation and Mid-City CAN (Community Advocacy Network) to create even more murals east of I-15 through their youth program.

In addition to filling the streets with cool art, Love City Heights is working with business and property owners to transform their historic San Diego neighborhood into a dynamic place where people from all over will come to dine, shop and enjoy themselves. City Heights is the most diverse community in all of San Diego, and is centrally located, with many unique ethnic restaurants that can be found nowhere else. City Heights is uniquely qualified to be an authentic cultural attraction in San Diego.

Would you like to learn more about San Diego’s colorful, rapidly growing “drive-through” art gallery?

Are you an artist, resident or local business owner who’d like to participate in the revitalization of City Heights?

These are some links that you can check out:

Love City Heights on Facebook

#theavenuemuralproject tag on Instagram

TheAvenueSD.com

video about the mural project on YouTube

Do you live in San Diego and want something fun to do? Hop in your car or put on your walking shoes, then embark on a voyage of discovery along University Avenue between I-805 and I-15, where you will enjoy an ever-growing gallery of murals!

Here are a few . . .

The first mural painted by The Avenue Mural Project in City Heights contains joyful swirls of many colors! Endless Summer was designed by artist Erin Bowman.
The first mural painted by The Avenue Mural Project in City Heights contains joyful swirls of many colors! Endless Summer was designed by artist Erin Bowman.
A beautiful sun shines above stylized waves.
The warm San Diego sun shines above stylized waves.
The Endless Summer mural was painted by local school children, whose names appear in one corner, along with many positive messages.
The Endless Summer mural was painted by local school children, whose names appear in one corner, along with many positive messages.
Earlier this year I posted a photo of this mural on my blog. I hadn't realized at the time it's part of a cool outdoor drive-through art gallery in City Heights!
Earlier this year I posted a photo of this mural on my blog. I hadn’t realized it’s part of a cool outdoor drive-through art gallery in City Heights!
I was told this compassionate Amor mural, by @inkpaint and @fabianafoca is a work in progress.
Compassion in a City Heights alley. I was told this Amor mural, by @inkpaint and @fabianafoca, is a work in progress.
The beautiful tile mosaic A is not quite completed.
The beautiful tile mosaic “A” is not quite completed.
VISUAL painted the wall of a MetroPCS store with a cool image of kids communicating with tin cans and a string.
VISUAL painted the wall of a MetroPCS store with a cool image of kids communicating with tin cans and a string.
One business along University Avenue had their building painted with a wonderful mural with images of nature.
One business along University Avenue had their building painted with a pleasing mural containing elements of nature.
Another local store has happy, inviting murals painted on a side of their building.
Another local store now has happy, inviting murals painted on a side of their building.
This fun image depicts kids breaking open a piñata.
This fun image depicts kids breaking open a piñata.
A mural titled The Garden Party by artists Althea Rose Neff, Gilbert Cota and Alex Malone.
A mural titled The Garden Party by artists Althea Rose Neff, Gilbert Cota and Alex Malone.
A closer photo of The Garden Party mural, on the wall of popular Mexican restaurant Super Cocina.
A closer photo of The Garden Party mural, on the wall of popular Mexican restaurant Super Cocina.
Los Angeles muralist Ruben Rojas, co-founder of Beautify Earth, painted LOVE on the side of 7-Eleven in City Heights.
Los Angeles muralist Ruben Rojas, co-founder of Beautify Earth, painted LOVE on the side of 7-Eleven in City Heights.

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!

Javier Marín and the human search for identity.

Visitors to the San Diego Museum of Art enter Gallery 15, where many human figures sculpted by Mexican artist Javier Marín stand horizontally upon a large wall.
Visitors to the San Diego Museum of Art enter Gallery 15, where many human figures sculpted by Mexican artist Javier Marín stand horizontally upon a large wall.

Yesterday, during my walk through Balboa Park, I stepped from the Panama 66 outdoor cafe into Gallery 15 of the San Diego Museum of Art . . . and look what I saw!

Upon one large wall stand numerous small sculptures of the human body, created by Victor Javier Marín Gutiérrez, a Mexican artist whose celebrated work has been exhibited internationally.

The organic sculptures stand on the wall in poses of naked expression, casting dynamic shadows that crisscross in every direction. There is anguish and joy and perplexity and care and simple, wonderful being. There is flesh and there is soul. There is that ongoing internal search for human identity.

According to the San Diego Museum of Art’s website: “Javier Marín’s work, above all, is about beauty, a particularly human beauty that reflects what the poet José Emilio Pacheco described as ‘the terrible miracle of being alive.’”

Looking across at the wall containing many small sculpted human forms is like gazing down from above upon the mass of naked humanity. It’s like a Creator gazing down upon his living, breathing, dancing Creation.

This astonishing wall is an example of the Javier Marín sculpted work now on display in the San Diego Museum of Art’s free Galleries 14 and 15.

The exhibition will be officially kicked off with a special event on Thursday, September 27, 2018. Culture & Cocktails: Art of the Body includes a VIP pre-tour with the artist himself.

The exhibition will continue through March 3, 2019.

Javier Marín's fleshy sculpted forms include every sort of human expression.
Javier Marín’s fleshy sculpted forms depict every sort of human expression.
Gazing at representations of our mysterious selves.
Gazing at many representations of our mysterious selves.

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 Labor Day in Balboa Park.

A street musician smiles on a sunny Labor Day in Balboa Park.
A street musician smiles on a beautiful Labor Day in Balboa Park.

Labor Day in Balboa Park is no different than any other day. Most museums and attractions are open, and everyone is smiling.

I wanted to take it easy–just enjoy the day–so I headed into the park for an aimless, leisurely stroll…

San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez rehearses Stairway to Heaven with a rock band for tonight's final International Summer Organ Festival concert.
San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez rehearses Stairway to Heaven with a rock band for tonight’s final International Summer Organ Festival concert.
People enjoy the beauty near the Japanese Friendship Garden's Koi Pond.
People enjoy the beauty near the Japanese Friendship Garden’s Koi Pond.
Progress is being made on the Japanese Friendship Garden's new river, where an historic Great Buddha statue will soon be unveiled.
Progress is being made on the Japanese Friendship Garden’s new river, where a Great Buddha statue will soon be unveiled.

You can see additional photos of the Japanese Friendship Garden’s new stream under construction by clicking here.

Labor Day was quiet at the International Cottages, which were all closed for the holiday.
Labor Day was quiet at the International Cottages, which were all closed for the Monday holiday.
As I walked behind the Balboa Park Club building, I gazed northwest toward the Cabrillo Bridge.
As I walked behind the Balboa Park Club building, I gazed northwest toward the Cabrillo Bridge and took this photo.
On Labor Day, like most days, the 1935 (Old) Cactus Garden in Balboa Park is a quiet place for solitude.
On Labor Day, like most days, the 1935 (Old) Cactus Garden in Balboa Park is a quiet place for solitude.
Families enjoy Labor Day in front of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
Families enjoy Labor Day in front of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
People relax on a bench by the old Mack Water Truck just outside the entrance of the San Diego Automotive Museum.
People relax on a bench by the old Mack Water Truck just outside the entrance of the San Diego Automotive Museum.
Walking through Pan American Plaza between the San Diego Automotive Museum and nearby Recital Hall.
Walking through Pan American Plaza between the San Diego Automotive Museum and nearby Recital Hall.
Balboa Park was the ideal place for a picnic this Labor Day.
Balboa Park was the ideal place for a picnic this Labor Day.
Young and old enjoy the famous beauty of Balboa Park's lily pond.
Young and old enjoy the famous beauty of Balboa Park’s lily pond.
All sorts of people were out on the grass enjoying the May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden at the San Diego Museum of Art.
All sorts of people were out on the grass enjoying the May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden at the San Diego Museum of Art.
Visitors were touring the California Tower and gazing across Balboa Park.
Visitors were touring the iconic California Tower and gazing across Balboa Park, one of the most wonderful places in the world.
This group wanted to see fine art so they headed into the San Diego Museum of Art.
This group wanted to see fine art so they headed into the San Diego Museum of Art.
Some smiling street musicians were setting up on El Prado.
Some smiling street musicians were setting up on El Prado to entertain passersby.
The silly Lärabar Street Team danced for my blog, then I got some yummy samples to eat!
The silly Lärabar Street Team danced for my blog, then I got some yummy samples to eat!
Mentalist, hypnotist and super nice guy Ralph Hamrick greets me with his usual smile! I still haven't recovered from that weird mental trick he performed on me.
Mentalist, hypnotist and super nice guy Ralph Hamrick greets me with his usual smile! I still haven’t recovered from that weird mental trick he performed on me.
Street magician Kenny Shelton delights some young people with one of his amazing tricks.
Street magician Kenny Shelton delights some young people with one of his amazing tricks.
Lots of people were enjoying hula hoops on the grass!
Lots of people were enjoying hula hoops on the grass!
The San Diego Blood Bank was saving lives in front of the Museum of Man.
The San Diego Blood Bank was saving lives in front of the Museum of Man.
A quiet moment on Balboa Park's broad, green West Mesa.
A quiet moment on Balboa Park’s broad, green West Mesa.
This squirrel had no notion it was Labor Day. It was just another day in the park.
This squirrel didn’t know today was a holiday. It was just another day in the park.
Even street performers have to eat lunch, you know!
Even street performers have to eat lunch!

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!

A proposal: Celebrate San Diego Day!

Here’s a fun idea!

Yesterday, when I arrived for Silent Movie Night at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I knew almost nothing about Harold Lloyd. I had no idea that this very famous silent movie actor had once lived in San Diego, and had graduated from San Diego High School perhaps a mile from where I sat. As I watched the movie, I recalled that parts of Citizen Kane, often considered the greatest movie of all time, had been filmed in Balboa Park.

And suddenly–out of the blue–a crazy idea popped into my head!

It would be incredible to have a big annual festival in Balboa Park that celebrates San Diego! An enormous parkwide event that celebrates the amazing history, culture and people of America’s Finest City!

Imagine diverse people from every community in San Diego converging on Balboa Park to celebrate our common heritage and shared optimism. Imagine the swell of civic pride and the endless opportunities for education and entertainment!

The special day would celebrate San Diego’s artists, musicians, entertainers, athletes, authors, inventors, scientists, teachers, volunteers, visionaries . . . It would celebrate those who have contributed to our fascinating culture, and honor those who are working today to create an even more dynamic future.

Balboa Park already hosts a number of fantastic annual events, such as EarthFair, Maker Faire, Fiesta Botanica, December Nights and Make Music Day. I propose a parkwide event that celebrates San Diego!

Such an event might include San Diego musicians, Mexican baile folklórico, silent movies featuring Harold Lloyd, readings from Dr. Seuss, local outdoor artists at work, lots of tasty regional food, demonstrations of past and future technologies developed in San Diego, a tribute to Jonas Salk, performances and presentations by school students, samples of Kumeyaay culture, a variety of historical reenactments. . . There might be exhibits concerning Charles Lindbergh, and the birth of naval aviation, and Juan Bandini, and Kate Sessions, and George Marston, and Gregory Peck, and Sally Ride, and Dennis Conner, and Tony Hawk, and Meb Keflezighi, and our world champion Little Leaguers, and the history of San Diego’s tuna fishing industry, and the Palomar Observatory, and Charles Hatfield, and Richard Henry Dana Jr., and Jimmie Johnson, and Tony Gwynn, and Eddie Vedder, and Switchfoot, and Joan Embery, and Alfred Mitchell, and Roger Revelle, and L. Frank Baum, and . . . and . . . and . . . and . . . you get the idea!

The event would be like a small World’s Fair–a San Diego Fair–not unlike the two Expositions held in Balboa Park a century ago for which the park is historically famous.

My guess is an annual event like this would prove enormously popular. Everyone living throughout San Diego who loves our city would be represented and interested.

Anyway–it’s an idea that might be a lot of fun.

What do you think?

Colorful new street art in Barrio Logan!

Female face flows like sand through an hourglass. Beautiful street art on a utility box on Cesar E. Chavez Parkway in Barrio Logan.
Female face flows like sand through an hourglass. Beautiful street art on a utility box on Cesar E. Chavez Parkway in Barrio Logan.

Every so often I drive up Cesar E. Chavez Parkway through Barrio Logan. Recently I noticed that there’s a bunch of new street art decorating electrical boxes at intervals along both sidewalks. So last Sunday I took a walk through the neighborhood to check it out.

The photos of street art on walls, doors and windows you see were taken on Main Street just north of Cesar E. Chavez Parkway. The many electrical boxes were observed along the parkway between Main Street and National Avenue.

As I took those final two photos of the painted dogs Princess and Chato, I was startled by a nearby voice. A gentlemen at the nearby house greeted me from over his fence. I learned many of the boxes along the street were painted by various local artists about a month and a half ago. He was pleased that his neighborhood is getting “cleaned up” and graffiti has made way to all the colorful artwork.

I was also surprised to learn Princess and Chato were actual living dogs! As we spoke, a woman came out of the house proudly holding the two dogs! After I departed, I regretted not asking whether I could take photos of their pets. As you can see, Princess and Chato’s street art portraits are very true-to-life!

Street art fuses a human face with elements from the Mexican flag's coat of arms.
Street art fuses a human face with elements from the Mexican flag’s coat of arms.
A pink flamingo painted by a blue door on Main Street in Barrio Logan.
A pink flamingo painted by a blue door on Main Street in Barrio Logan.
Glashaus remains painted on a shipping container long after the nearby art studios were vacated.
Glashaus remains painted on a shipping container long after the nearby art studios were vacated.
Shark painted on wall by Ol' Fashioned Lumber.
Shark painted on wall by Ol’ Fashioned Lumber.
Happy sun painted on a long colorful wall at Perkins Elementary School.
Happy sun painted on a long colorful wall at Perkins Elementary School.
A very flowery Frida Kahlo, painted on a door at The iN Gallery.
A very flowery Frida Kahlo, painted on a door at The iN Gallery.
Tree-like art on a screen door at 1878 Main Street.
Tree-like art on a screen door at 1878 Main Street.
Cool art enlivens a nearby window.
Cool art enlivens a nearby window.
Cesar Chavez art in Barrio Logan on the street that bears his name. His words concerning courage and the non-violent struggle for justice live on.
Cesar Chavez art in Barrio Logan on the street that bears his name. His words concerning courage and the non-violent struggle for justice live on.
Huelga in Spanish means strike.
Huelga in Spanish means strike.
Symbols fill one side of an electrical box. You are in Chicano Park.
Symbols fill one side of an electrical box. You are in Chicano Park.
Fun street art on another side of the electrical box on Cesar E. Chavez Parkway includes a face.
Fun street art on another side of the electrical box on Cesar E. Chavez Parkway includes a face.
Another side. Two birds, a red flower, the moon and sun.
Another side. Two birds, a red flower, the moon and sun.
A poem. Flores para los Muertos - Flores de los Enamorados... Flowers for the Dead - Flowers of the Lovers...
A poem. Flores para los Muertos – Flores de los Enamorados… Flowers for the Dead – Flowers of the Lovers…
Stunning street art in Barrio Logan abundant with ancient symbolism.
Stunning street art in Barrio Logan abundant with ancient symbolism.
A painted calavera among flowers, topped with a hat-like gramophone.
A painted calavera among flowers, topped with a hat-like gramophone.
A Mexican ballet folklórico dancer, with a skirt made of a red rose.
A Mexican ballet folklórico dancer, with a skirt made of a red rose.
One box depicts the mythological Aztec story Quetzalcoatl escapes from Migtlan (a part of the underworld).
One box depicts the mythological Aztec story Quetzalcoatl escapes from Migtlan (a part of the underworld).
Mictlantecuhtli, god of the dead and the king of Mictlan, and his wife Mictecacihuatl seem upset that Quetzalcóatl escaped!
Mictlantecuhtli, god of the dead and the king of Mictlan, and his wife Mictecacihuatl seem upset that Quetzalcóatl escaped!
One box seems to be a work in progress, with a yellow skull and empty white oval.
One box seems to be a work in progress, with a yellow skull and empty white oval.
Colorful prickly pears decorate one utility box.
Colorful prickly pears decorate one utility box.
Another side.
Another side.
Among many symbols in the Barrio Logan street art, I spy the logo of the San Diego Padres!
Among many symbols and motifs in the Barrio Logan street art, I spy the logo of the San Diego Padres!
A corner of one otherwise bare box.
A corner of one otherwise bare box.
RAZA with colorful, dynamic imagery.
RAZA with colorful, dynamic imagery.
Chicano Rocks--looks sort of like an Aztec version of the rock band KISS.
Chicano Rocks–looks sort of like an Aztec version of the rock band KISS.
Legendary musician Santana has a third eye.
Legendary musician Santana has a third eye.
Amazing street art in Barrio Logan. Painting of a face decorated for Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
Amazing street art in Barrio Logan. Painting of a face decorated for Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
Boy carries earthen jug. Agua es vida. Water is life.
Boy carries earthen jug. Agua es vida. Water is life.
Happy dog street art, with tongue hanging out.
Happy dog street art, with tongue hanging out.
Another side of the same box--another happy dog.
Another side of the same box–another happy dog.
Aztec god of the night and conflict, jaguar Tezcatlipoca.
Aztec god of the night and conflict, jaguar Tezcatlipoca.
Scorpion street art in Barrio Logan.
Scorpion street art in Barrio Logan.
Dog's head street art.
Dog’s head street art.
Street art of Princess, an actual dog who lives at a nearby house!
Street art of Princess, an actual dog who lives at a nearby house!
And this is Chato, a second dog who lives at the same house!
And this is Chato, a second dog who lives at the same house!

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!

Californio history celebrated again in Old Town!

Today, after I checked out the San Diego Cup racing at Mission Bay, I headed to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to see if anything interesting was going on. Somehow I’d forgotten that Stagecoach Days are celebrated in Old Town on summer Saturdays, and so I was surprised and happy to stumble upon Days of the Vaqueros!

I blogged about this exact same event last year, and took lots of photos and provided a fair amount of description and background. I saw many of the same participants again this year, and debated whether I should take more photos.

I love Old Town so much I couldn’t resist. If you want to learn more about life in San Diego when Southern California was a part of Spain, then Mexico, and large ranches employed the original cowboys, or vaqueros, then visit my blog from last summer’s event here.

You might also enjoy reading my blog post about Old Town’s McCoy House Museum, which includes many displays that concern San Diego’s fascinating early history.

Meanwhile, here are a few uncaptioned photographs of what I experienced today…

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!