A world of peace, joy and hope.

My previous blog post seeped with terrible darkness. It showed us a human world that contains brutality, selfishness and despair.

But you know, if we chose, our world could look like this:

During my walk through Balboa Park today, I paused among the International Cottages to experience the peace, joy and hope that are possible when different people with different experiences simply love life and come unselfishly together.

Members of the House of Czech and Slovak Republics, with their smiles, dance and music set a wonderful example for us all to follow.

The choice is ours to make.

Paintings by Kadir Nelson exhibited in San Diego.

So Together, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
So Together, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.

An important exhibition of paintings by acclaimed artist Kadir Nelson is now showing at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

On display is the original artwork used to illustrate the picture book Blue Sky, White Stars, this year’s KPBS One Book, One San Diego for Kids Selection. Young students across our city will be reading the picture book this year, sharing their experience together. The author is Sarvinder Naberhaus.

The book’s original paintings by Kadir Nelson contain iconic American imagery, and often include the patriotic red, white and blue of the American flag. Ideals such as Liberty, Justice and Equality proudly live in the faces of his subjects. His powerful, humane artwork has been compared to that of Norman Rockwell.

Kadir Nelson spent his formative years in San Diego, attending Crawford High School. The exhibition at the San Diego History Center includes a few examples of his early drawings.

As an artist of international stature, Kadir Nelson has produced art for many award-winning books, The New Yorker magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Coca-Cola Company, and Major League Baseball. His work appears on United States Postal Service commemorative stamps and on Michael Jackson’s posthumously released album. His paintings can be found in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, The National Baseball Hall of Fame, and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Visit this exhibition at the San Diego History Center and you’ll quickly see that Kadir Nelson is a truly extraordinary American artist, whose striking images linger in your mind. You’ll also perceive the optimism and heart that gives amazing life to his work.

The Spectacle, 2016, gracing the front cover of Blue Sky, White Stars, was painted by Kadir Nelson.
The Spectacle, 2016, gracing the front cover of Blue Sky, White Stars, was painted by Kadir Nelson.
In a short video at the San Diego History Center, Kadir Nelson talks about his work and inspiration.
In a short video at the San Diego History Center, Kadir Nelson talks about his work and inspiration.
Displayed in the exhibition are seven books featuring the bold, powerfully moving artwork of Kadir Nelson.
Displayed in the exhibition are seven books featuring the bold, powerfully moving artwork of Kadir Nelson.
Eight extraordinary The New Yorker covers with artwork by Kadir Nelson.
Eight extraordinary The New Yorker covers with artwork by Kadir Nelson.
A drawing by Kadir Nelson from his teen years. Crawford Horse Sitting on Mascots, 1991, pen and ink on paper.
A drawing by Kadir Nelson from his teen years. Crawford Horse Sitting on Mascots, 1991, pen and ink on paper.
Pioneers (White Rows), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Pioneers (White Rows), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Sew Together (Betsy Ross), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Sew Together (Betsy Ross), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Well Worn: Abe Lincoln, 2016, Kadir Nelson.
Well Worn: Abe Lincoln, 2016, Kadir Nelson.
We Shall Overcome, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
We Shall Overcome, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Stand Proud (Civil War Soldiers), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Stand Proud (Civil War Soldiers), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Cracker Jacks, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Cracker Jacks, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
The Patriot, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
The Patriot, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.

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 colorful street art in City Heights!

Here’s even more colorful street art in City Heights!

I took these photographs before, during and after my recent walking tour of San Diego’s rapidly growing outdoor art gallery. I spotted this artwork along University Avenue, between I-80 and I-15. It’s an extremely diverse neighborhood, where many languages are spoken and many life experiences move together down shared streets.

If you’re unaware that San Diego has a drive-through art gallery, I urge you to check it out 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!

Afrofuture Art Exhibit at Worldbeat Cultural Center.

Miss Universe, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.
Miss Universe, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.

There’s a cool art exhibition now showing inside the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park. The Afrofuture Art Exhibit features some imaginative and thought-provoking pieces that meld the African American experience with an optimistic view of the future.

One highlight of the exhibition is a series of evocative digital collages that place individuals from the past and present in the cosmos, interacting with the planet Earth and other celestial bodies.

I did my best to capture some good photographs. Head inside the Worldbeat Cultural Center to enjoy much more futuristic African American artwork up close and in person, then walk around inside the re-purposed water tower to enjoy one of the most awesome and colorful event spaces in San Diego!

The Afrofuture Art Exhibit will be on display through Summer 2018 at the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
The Afrofuture Art Exhibit will be on display through Summer 2018 at the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
Uhura from the original Star Trek series depicted in futuristic artwork created by @caegallery.
Uhura from the original Star Trek series depicted in futuristic artwork by Weldon May.
Cool artwork on display at the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
More cool art on display at the Worldbeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
A female face in the cosmos, by @caegallery.
A futuristic female face beneath stars and a streaking meteorite, by Weldon May.
The past, present and future come alive at the Afrofuture Art Exhibit.
The past, present and future come alive at the Afrofuture Art Exhibit.
Tan Man, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.
Tan Man, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.
Atlas, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.
Atlas, a digital collage by Jessi Jumanji.

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!

Powerful mural inside Centro Cultural de la Raza.

Tezcatlipoca, jaguar, god of night, war and destruction, dominates the dark, violent left section of the large mural inside Centro Cultural de la Raza.
Tezcatlipoca, jaguar, god of night, war and destruction, dominates the dark, violent left section of the large mural inside Centro Cultural de la Raza.

Step inside Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park and you’ll come face to face with a large and very powerful mural. It was created by Guillermo “Yermo” Aranda, completed in 1984 after 13 years of inspired work.

The mural, titled La Dualidad, tells the grand story of the universe, humanity, and America’s indigenous peoples. Elements from Mesoamerican literature are included in the story, including diverse symbols from Aztec, Mayan and Native American cultures.

It’s a story primarily about darkness and light. Two ancient gods are juxtaposed: Tezcatlipoca, god of darkness, against Quetzalcoatl, god of light. War is contrasted with peace. Despair is contrasted with hope. Fear is contrasted with confidence.

Should you visit Centro Cultural de la Raza to admire La Dualidad, be sure to open up the nearby binder. It details the meaning of each ancient symbol inside the mural. They combine to form a timeless wisdom that will touch your mind and heart.

The Tree of Life stands at the center of the powerful symbolic mural La Dualidad--The Duality, 1970-1984, by artist Guillermo "Yermo" Aranda.
The Tree of Life stands at the center of the powerful symbolic mural La Dualidad–The Duality, 1970-1984, by artist Guillermo “Yermo” Aranda.
Quetzalcoatl, feathered serpent, wise creator of humankind, moves through the mural and finally faces the viewer from the center of a pyramid, amid symbols of life and light.
Quetzalcoatl, feathered serpent, wise creator of humankind, moves through the mural and finally faces the viewer from the center of a pyramid, amid symbols of life and light.

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!

Art exhibit paints colors of Southern California!

Earthlab, 2017, by artist Eva Struble. Acrylic and oil on canvas. Optimistic and energetic colors depict small San Diego farms.
Earthlab, 2017, by artist Eva Struble. Acrylic and oil on canvas. Optimistic and energetic colors depict small San Diego farms.

Today I enjoyed some stimulating artwork at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park. Their current exhibition is called High-Key: Color in Southern California, and for a very good reason.

Palm greens, desert tans and ocean blues are primary colors in our region’s sunny landscapes.

Additional vibrant colors live in our diverse urban centers. Like neon and surfboards, lowriders and pinatas, our local culture is saturated with bold, bright color.

High-Key: Color in Southern California can be enjoyed at the San Diego Art Institute through August 12, 2018.

If you visit Balboa Park this summer, you might want to check it out!

Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park absorbs the exhibition of High-Key: Color in Southern California.
Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park at the exhibition of High-Key: Color in Southern California.
Chaparral (II), 2018, by artist Audrey Hope. Canvas and hand wound rope. Swaths of colorful fabric are suggestive of San Diego's natural landscape.
Chaparral (II), 2018, by artist Audrey Hope. Canvas and hand wound rope. Swaths of colorful fabric are suggestive of San Diego’s hilly, arid natural landscape.
Green, Red-Orange, 2018, by artist Michael James Armstrong. Acrylic sheet, fluorescent light, spray paint.
Green, Red-Orange, 2018, by artist Michael James Armstrong. Acrylic sheet, fluorescent light, spray paint.
Untitled, 2018, by artist Joshua Moreno. Watercolor, watercolor pencil, gouache, marbling, spray paint.
Untitled, 2018, by artist Joshua Moreno. Watercolor, watercolor pencil, gouache, marbling, spray paint.
Cleaning Portrait; Whisk #1, 2017, by artist Claudia Cano. Acrylic on paper. A cleaning tool used by a hardworking Mexican immigrant laborer.
Cleaning Portrait; Whisk #1, 2017, by artist Claudia Cano. Acrylic on paper. A cleaning tool used by a hardworking Mexican immigrant laborer.
More artwork splashed with the vibrant colors of Southern California.
More artwork splashed with the vibrant colors of Southern California.
Rhubarb Moon, 2018, by artist John Oliver Lewis. Porcelain, acrylic.
Rhubarb Moon, 2018, by artist John Oliver Lewis. Porcelain, acrylic.
Paradise Prototype, 2018, by artist Allison Wiese. Cast sugar. Patterned concrete blocks were popular in Southern California architecture in the 1950s and 60s.
Paradise Prototype, 2018, by artist Allison Wiese. Cast sugar. Patterned concrete blocks were popular in Southern California in the 1950’s and 60’s.

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!

Faces of civil rights leaders on Imperial Avenue.

A street mural in San Diego that features many famous faces. Martin Luther King, Jr. is joined by others who have worked to advance civil rights.
A street mural in San Diego that features many famous faces. Martin Luther King, Jr. is joined by others who have worked to advance civil rights.

A long mural at the corner of 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue celebrates many of history’s most recognized civil rights leaders. Among them are those who have fought to empower the poor, advocates for democracy, human equality and social justice, and peacemakers.

Originally painted in 1986 to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., the mural was restored and augmented in 2002 by internationally renowned muralist and activist Mario Torero with the help of the local community. The mural now includes faces from around the world, as you can see in these photographs.

The colorful mural spans two walls near the border of two neighborhoods east of downtown San Diego: Logan Heights and Stockton. The images have again faded with time, but the idealism represented remains timeless and powerful.

The face of Cesar Chavez.
The face of Cesar Chavez.
The face of the Dalai Lama.
The face of the Dalai Lama.
The face of Óscar Romero.
The face of Óscar Romero.
The face of Corazon Aquino.
The face of Corazon Aquino.
The face of Desmond Tutu.
The face of Desmond Tutu.
The face of Nelson Mandela.
The face of Nelson Mandela.
The face of Mother Teresa.
The face of Mother Teresa.
The face of Chief Joseph.
The face of Chief Joseph.
The face of Mahatma Gandhi.
The face of Mahatma Gandhi.

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!