The new International Cottages in Balboa Park are completed!

The brand new International Cottages in Balboa Park are finally finished! The construction site fences are down and the House of Peru is already moving in!

Late today I walked though the two new sections of the now expanded House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Five structures have been built for nine nations or cultural units. As you can see from my photographs, the new cottages are beautiful!

Two new structures on the northeast side of the International Cottages will showcase Mexico, Panama and the Philippines; three structures on the southwest side will showcase Korea, India, Peru, Palestine, Chamorro and Turkey.

After years and years of bureaucratic delays and financial struggle, this truly historic project is complete!

I peered through many new cottage windows as I walked around and saw mostly vacant space. But the House of Peru has begun to move in and they’ll have a “soft opening” for the public beginning tomorrow!

If you’d like to see photos of the big festive groundbreaking event almost five years ago, click 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!

The many colors of Music en la Calle!

Yesterday I headed to City Heights to enjoy a good chunk of the Music en la Calle cultural festival. It was held at the new Fern Street Circus tent, which is set up outdoors at University Avenue and 41st Street.

The colorful event featured a wide variety of music, dance, and even a fun circus performance! Plus tasty food, games and activities for kids!

Like everybody else in the audience, I was wowed by the exceptionally high quality of entertainment. A big thank you is due to Bodhi Tree Concerts, who put on this free show for the City Heights community.

Perhaps you’ve seen the annual “ALL IS CALM: The Christmas Truce of 1914” opera during the holidays in San Diego. That is their production. According to their website, Bodhi Tree Concerts celebrates diversity and inclusion and performs intentional acts of kindness through music.

If you’d like to help them spread joy, visit their donation page here!

Here’s a taste of what I experienced at Music en la Calle.

(A little while ago I also posted photos of the Paloma Flamenco dancers and Naruwan Taiko drummers 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!

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A magical new mural slowly comes to life!

The long new mural in City Heights’ Teralta Neighborhood Park is slowly coming to life! I got another look at it this morning!

Some of the faces along the 263-foot mural are gaining color, detail and character as San Diego graffiti artist Sake continues to apply his artistry!

I last visited the mural about a month ago, and took these photos. At the time most of the faces were mere sketches.

As you can see, this monumental new mural that celebrates City Heights’s diverse community is going to be amazing!

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 appear in amazing new Teralta Park mural!

Dozens of faces have appeared in artwork that, when finished, will be one of San Diego’s most impressive murals. The 263-foot mural is being spray painted on a long wall at the south end of Teralta Neighborhood Park, directly over Interstate 15!

Unity in the Community is the name of the new, very colorful City Heights mural, and it’s being created by San Diego graffiti artist Sake.

In addition to important City Heights landmarks like the Euclid Tower, Silverado Ballroom, City Heights/Weingart Library and Central Elementary School, the mural depicts many faces from this diverse San Diego community.

As I walked along the mural from right to left, I saw images of children in playground swings and riding bikes, musicians playing instruments, kids playing volleyball, basketball and soccer in the park, happy dogs, smiling families, youth graduating from school, and proud neighborhood residents from all walks of life.

The mural, which is being painted in an area known for gang activity, is meant to inspire those who see it with its positive, hopeful, unifying imagery.

I took these photographs several days ago. I plan to post additional photos as the mural progresses.

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 colorful Cultural Fusion in City Heights!

City Heights is one of San Diego’s most culturally diverse communities.

Over the decades, immigrants have arrived in waves from different parts of the world, making this neighborhood in east San Diego their new home.

So it’s not surprising to find public art in City Heights that celebrates diversity and the dynamic interaction of people who have converged from different places.

Cultural Fusion is an abstract sculpture that stands near the entrance of the La Maestra Community Health Center in City Heights. The public art was created in 2015 by local artist Jim Bliesner, in collaboration with Victor Chavez Metal Works.

I took these photographs today!

To me, the colorful shapes that compose Cultural Fusion appear like symbols and ideas and fragments of life that continually collide and intermix, joining in places, producing new offshoots, creating endless combinations of complexity and beauty.

It sort of looks like music.

That’s what happens when many people with very different life stories come together in one place.

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 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!

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Waldorf School students paint mural in City Heights!

High school students attending The Waldorf School of San Diego were painting a large, colorful mural in City Heights today!

I swung by the corner of University Avenue and Wilson Avenue this afternoon to see how their public art project is progressing.

The Waldorf School has teamed up with the organization Love City Heights to spread culture and beauty and positive messages in this east San Diego community! I’m told more murals might be forthcoming!

This particular mural was designed by members of the school’s Social Justice Club.

The inspiration is American author Audre Lorde. According to Wikipedia: “As a poet she is best known for technical mastery and emotional expression, as well as her poems that express anger and outrage at civil and social injustices she observed throughout her life. Her poems and prose largely deal with issues related to civil rights, feminism, lesbianism, illness and disability, and the exploration of black female identity…”

I observed that lots of students have participated in creating the mural.

Each hand, holding a paintbrush, has spread human kindness.

UPDATE!

I checked out the completed mural a couple days later!

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!

Two colorful murals on 43rd Street.

I spotted these two very colorful murals while walking down 43rd Street in southeast San Diego. Both contain symbolic elements.

The first, combining Aztec imagery with humor, I saw at 43rd Wash & Wax…

The second mural I discovered at the corner of 43rd Street and Boston Avenue. It includes an image of President Obama paired with what I believe is the Egyptian god Horus as a royal falcon…

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!

Monument honors South Bay Issei Pioneers.

In Chula Vista, at the corner of Palomar Street and Broadway, you’ll find busy shopping malls in every direction. And thousands of passing cars.

What you won’t see, unless you are one of the few who walk down the sidewalk, is a bronze plaque on a stone set back among bushes. This small monument to South Bay Issei Pioneers marks the place where the Chula Vista Gakuen or Japanese School stood when it was dedicated in 1925.

I’ve transcribed what I read on the plaque. (Issei are immigrants born in Japan. Nisei are their children, born in the new country.)

SOUTH BAY ISSEI PIONEERS

Initially arriving in 1885, these immigrants from Japan, through their intellect, diligence, and tenacity made numerous major contributions to the agricultural development of this area. These accomplishments were achieved at the same time as the issei were fighting discrimination, unfair land laws, and ultimately, the mass removal of all person of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast of the United States during World War II. This site marks the final location of the Chula Vista Gakuen or Japanese School, which was originally dedicated on October 6, 1925. The school helped nisei children to better understand and honor their heritage.

Japanese American Citizens League San Diego Chapter

Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego
September 1996

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!

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