The art and color of Kimono: A Living History.

A week ago, when I visited the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, I stepped into the Inamori Pavilion. There I found an exhibit, titled Kimono: A Living History, that features exquisite kimonos that are truly works of art.

By looking at the many displays and reading signs, I learned about this traditional Japanese clothing, which is often worn during special occasions, including weddings and tea ceremonies. I learned a little about the history of the kimono, from the ancient Yayoi period all the way to modern times, and how each kimono is made and worn. I learned that a formal kimono will include a family crest, which is a stylized motif within a circle.

What impressed me most was the beauty of the kimonos themselves. Their colors often reflect the season, and the designs can be simple or elaborate, but always very pleasing to the eye. Each appears like a painted canvas. To wear a kimono is to wear a work of art.

Here’s just a little of what I saw…

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 help restore murals around San Diego!

Do you love art? Do you love San Diego’s unique history and culture? Do you want to beautify our city?

Your help is needed!

As you might have read in my previous blog post, local artists have formed a team that intends to restore many of San Diego’s neighborhood murals. Over time street murals can become faded, peeled, dirty or defaced, and need a little love to restore them to their full glory.

The growing Southeast Art Team, led by a super optimistic, smiling Kim Phillips-Pea, has plans to restore various murals in different San Diego communities. But, of course, buying paint and other supplies requires funds. That is where you come in!

You can help to restore beautiful murals around San Diego by visiting the Mural Restoration Project San Diego’s special GoFundMe page here.

Perhaps, like me, you don’t have much skill with a paintbrush, but you can provide a helping hand to mural-restoring artists who do!

Click here!

Little Saigon mural and colorful street art!

Little Saigon postcard mural on the side of Sin Lee Food Whole Sale on El Cajon Boulevard.
Little Saigon postcard mural on the side of the Sin Lee Food Whole Sale building.

Enjoy these photographs of colorful street art along El Cajon Boulevard between Highland Avenue and Euclid Avenue, the heart of an area in San Diego known as Little Saigon!

I made certain to photograph the 2018 postcard-style Little Saigon mural, which was painted by artist Victor Ving and photographer Lisa Beggs during their extensive Greetings Tour.

(Two other cool Greetings Tour murals can be enjoyed in San Diego. One at Liberty Station here, and one in North Park here!)

Come with me and let’s walk through Little Saigon to see some street art!

An imaginative San Diego version of the famous Chợ Bến Thành market, which is located in the center of Hồ Chí Minh City.
An imaginative San Diego version of the famous Chợ Bến Thành market, which is located in the center of Hồ Chí Minh City.

I believe this faded street art in Little Saigon celebrates the 20th Anniversary of The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association.
I believe this faded street art in Little Saigon celebrates the 20th Anniversary of The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association.
Many diverse languages are spoken here.
Sign in front of a market in Little Saigon. Many languages are spoken here.

I love this dragon street art. I had to add contrast to many of these photos, because much of the artwork has been faded by time and weather.
I love this dragon street art. I had to add contrast to many of these photos, because much of the painted artwork has been faded by time and weather.

Banners, lamp posts and architecture reflect Vietnamese culture in San Diego's Little Saigon.
Banners, lamp posts, and even some examples of architecture reflect Vietnamese culture in San Diego’s Little Saigon.
Planter on sidewalk with tile mosaic depicting a lotus, symbol of divine beauty. The lotus is Vietnam's national flower.
Planter on sidewalk with tile mosaic depicting a lotus, symbol of divine beauty. The lotus is Vietnam’s national flower.
Plaque on side of the planter indicates The Little Saigon District was established on June 4th, 2013. Vietnamese refugees have built a new life here.
Plaque on side of the planter indicates The Little Saigon District was established on June 4th, 2013. Vietnamese refugees have built a new life here.

The oft-photographed Little Saigon mural, near the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and Menlo Avenue, created by @GreetingsTour.
The oft-photographed Little Saigon mural, near the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and Menlo Avenue, created by @GreetingsTour.

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!

Creativity and optimism in City Heights!

This afternoon I walked down University Avenue between I-805 and I-15. I’d learned a new mural is being painted in the City Heights’ outdoor “drive-through” art gallery!

Award-winning artist Sandra Escobar is painting a new mural on the wall of Super Cocina this weekend, and when I arrived the design had been sketched on a base of white paint. As I watched her helper working on the wall, the artist told me that tomorrow she’ll be applying color. I promised to swing by to check the new mural out!

Meanwhile, during my walk I discovered even more creativity along the sidewalk. Love City Heights has been working to add color and a sense of optimism to the community, and artwork now appears almost everywhere one turns. Even some boarded up windows have come alive!

I photographed several works of art that I hadn’t seen on past walks…

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 glorious day as Balboa Park reopens!

The day that many in San Diego have anticipated for nearly three months has arrived!

Balboa Park is reopening!

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Central Mesa area of Balboa Park–the beloved center of San Diego’s cultural life–has been closed to the public. But that changes today! While most of the museums aren’t quite ready to open yet, visitors will again be able to amble down El Prado and enjoy the park’s sunshine, gardens and architectural beauty.

And a few places in the park will be open!

The world-famous San Diego Air and Space Museum will be open! So will the Visitor Center, the Prado Restaurant and the Japanese Friendship Garden’s Tea Pavilion! Visitors will notice that modifications have been made to ensure social distancing and generally increase public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can bet I’ll be heading to Balboa Park first thing after work today. And I’ll be there all weekend. I miss it so much.

Here are a few photographs from my rather inactive blog Beautiful Balboa Park. These photos were taken at sunrise on a summer day almost three years ago.

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!

Cool photo memories from June 2015.

To say the least, the year 2020 has been eventful. The coronavirus pandemic, economic disruption, an election year, widespread protests and even riots. During such times, it’s easy to understand we are all living inside history.

The events of five years ago are also part of human history, even if those days in retrospect seem less troubled, less chaotic.

Well, the world continues to turn and it’s time once again to revisit a few Cool San Diego Sights memories. These are from June 2015.

The big centennial of Balboa Park was underway, of course, and Comic-Con was fast approaching . . . plus there were many other happy celebrations of life in San Diego.

To revisit memories from five years ago, click the following links:

Philippine American Celebration in Balboa Park!

Young and old dream at Centennial Railway Garden.

Photos of San Diego library’s Art of Comic-Con exhibit!

Artists paint live Flamenco dancing in Spanish Village!

Painting the 1915 Centennial Mural in Balboa Park.

Fun photos of Make Music Day San Diego!

Cool photos of fun, funky Ocean Beach Street Fair!

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.

The Cosmic Flight of a world-famous muralist.

Cosmic Flight, a mural in Golden Hill by San Diego muralist Mario Torero.
Cosmic Flight, a mural in Golden Hill by San Diego muralist Mario Torero.

A mural titled Cosmic Flight decorates the east side of Golden Hill Liquor at the corner of 28th Street and B Street. The mural was painted in 1978 by Mario “Torero” Acevedo, whose work can be seen all around San Diego. Over the decades Cosmic Flight has been touched up, altered due to graffiti, then restored. As you can see in the above photo, it has been vandalized again.

Mario Torero is the son of renowned Peruvian artist Guillermo Acevedo who immigrated to San Diego in 1960. The life of a Bohemian was already in Mario’s blood as he and a few others local artists strove to develop a creative community in San Diego decades ago. In 1980 he opened the Sol Arts Gallery in Golden Hill across the street from the Cosmic Flight mural, the corner where Starbucks is today.

Mario Torero frequently uses cosmic imagery and expressive faces in his colorful compositions. His themes typically revolve around the civil rights movement and Chicano activism. He has been instrumental in the founding of important cultural centers in San Diego, including Chicano Park and the Centro Cultural de la Raza. A prolific and important creator of activist art, he has achieved international fame.

I walked past Cosmic Flight yesterday and was struck by the mural’s grouping of faces, which are filled with subtle emotion, including quiet pride and confidence. That’s the powerful element I like most in Mario Torero’s artwork. The humanity.

Over the years I’ve photographed a variety of other murals by Mario Torero around town.

Good examples include Cosmic Train of Wisdom in University Heights, a mural depicting civil rights leaders on Imperial Avenue, the Que Viva Barrio Logan mural, and a couple of murals I spotted during a long walk through Sherman 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!

How to support the museums of Balboa Park.

This group wanted to see fine art so they headed into the San Diego Museum of Art.

Do you love Balboa Park?

One big reason the park is so wonderful is its many diverse museums. World-class museums. Museums that enhance the culture of our city and document the life of this planet. Museums that educate, entertain, highlight beauty and provide inspiration. Museums that bring our community together.

But these nonprofit institutions are always in need of public support. Especially during the present coronavirus pandemic, when Balboa Park is closed to all visitors. Today many of these beloved museums really need your help.

Would you like to make a donation to one or more of the museums of Balboa Park, or perhaps find another way to give them a helping hand?

I’ve visited each museum’s website and created the following list of links. These links will take you to web pages that explain how you can provide each museum with support.

Every little bit helps in this difficult time!

Visitors walk up the front steps of the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.

Here come the links where you can provide help…

Museum of Photographic Arts

San Diego Art Institute

San Diego Automotive Museum

Fleet Science Center

Japanese Friendship Garden

San Diego Air and Space Museum

Centro Cultural de la Raza

Marston House

Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden gaze at Kannon Bosatsu, a nearly three century old 5750 pound bronze statue recently installed in the Lower Garden by crane!

WorldBeat Center

Timken Museum of Art

Mingei International Museum

Veterans Museum at Balboa Park

The San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Model Railroad Museum

San Diego History Center

San Diego Museum of Man

San Diego Natural History Museum

Inside one of the galleries. The small fine art museum is free to the public and a popular destination in 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!

Cool photo memories from May 2015.

Well, May is here already. Hard to believe. The coronavirus pandemic continues, as do the government mandated lockdowns, which makes it difficult for a photo blogger who explores the city to find fresh material. Nearly all events are cancelled, many places are closed.

So what is one to do? I thought now would be a good time to once again go back five years!

What was happening on Cool San Diego Sights back in May 2015? Lot’s of amazing stuff! One thing you might notice is that Balboa Park’s big year-long Centennial Celebration was underway!

Click the following links to enjoy lots of photos…

Art made of coins helps Rady Children’s Hospital!

Photos of Old Town’s folklorico dance competition!

Pics of Garden Party of the Century in Balboa Park!

Fun sculptures debut at San Diego waterfront park!

Crossing the cool Spruce Street Suspension Bridge.

Fun photos of Explore Mission Trails Day!

Cool Corvette car show benefits San Diego USO.

An amazing walk from Point La Jolla to Cuvier Park.

World War II vets honored on USS Midway.

San Diego walking superheroes fight brain tumors!

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.

How to help local artists during the pandemic.

Many neighbors are being damaged financially by the coronavirus pandemic. Many have lost jobs or work reduced hours. Many don’t know how they’ll continue to cope with everyday expenses. Many worthy organizations are also suffering. The future for all remains uncertain.

In San Diego County, artists and organizations that rely on income produced by their creativity have been hit very hard. The San Diego Arts + Culture Challenge Fund exists to provide a lifeline for these people.

According to The San Diego Foundation donation page, which raises funds to help those caught in these circumstances: “Undertaken as a collaborative effort to support San Diego’s creative sector, the Fund is being launched by a cohort of local leaders and advocates committed to the health and recovery of the sector, including The San Diego Foundation, Clare Rose Foundation, San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition, and the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.”

Please visit the donation page here to learn how you can help.