Butterflies, art and inspiration in National City!

Yesterday, as I waited for the Memorial Day ceremony to begin in National City, I wandered a short distance down 12th Street from the Veteran’s Wall of Honor. I was surprised to encounter colorful butterflies along the median, and lots of art at a bright building on the north side of Kimball Park. The building, I learned, is home to ARTS, which stands for A Reason To Survive.

ARTS is a special community center where youth are inspired to live positive, hopeful, creative lives free from destructive influences and the violence that might attract their peers.

According to their website, the mission of ARTS is “to heal, inspire, and empower youth facing life challenges through therapeutic arts, formal arts education, and college and career preparation…In 2012, ARTS moved to National City and opened a 20,000-sq. ft. ARTS Center in one of San Diego County’s most health-challenged and economically depressed communities…”

I urge you to visit the above link and read about how the ARTS program has gained national fame, and how you might personally contribute, volunteer or become involved.

Here come photographs of murals and other artwork I happened to see outside the building. Painted words encourage non-violence and provide A Reason To Survive.

The nearby butterflies at intervals along 12th Street represent a transformation into something beautiful.

Each butterfly is unique.

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!

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!

Closed school’s last students create mosaic wall!

Want to see something extraordinary and inspirational?

I had arrived yesterday at the 19th century schoolhouse now utilized by the Encinitas Historical Society, when I noticed a colorful tile mosaic mural wrapped around their dumpster enclosure wall.

When I asked about it, I learned the mosaics had been created by students from nearby Pacific View Elementary in 2003–the year that modern public school shut down. The final class of students produced this amazing artwork!

By looking carefully one can see the initials of students and simple images that record the experiences and desires of youth. You can see a love for art, friends, kindness, the ocean, sunshine, Encinitas and their Pacific View Elementary.

What a fine, enduring way to record important things in life.

Like the historic old schoolhouse that stands near this wall, the work of optimistic people in the past will continue to brighten our future.

If you’re curious about the old schoolhouse, which is headquarters of the Encinitas Historical Society, I’ll be posting lots of photos in the next day or two.

The historic 1883 schoolhouse, now home of the Encinitas Historical Society, can be seen just beyond that dumpster lid. The now closed Pacific View Elementary School can be glimpsed in the distance beyond the umbrellas.

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!

Hopeful faces painted in Chicano Park.

During my most recent visit to Chicano Park, I passed under Interstate 5 while walking up Cesar E. Chavez Parkway. Even in the dim light under the concrete freeway, hopeful faces looked out from the mural beside me.

I saw bright hope in the faces of youth who were learning or at play. I saw hope in the faces of proud people at work, or taking flight on butterfly wings.

Back in 2016 I posted more photos of expressive faces that I’d encountered while walking among the murals of Chicano Park. See those 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!

Wisdom speaks from a Mountain View mural.

A mural in San Diego’s Mountain View community speaks to the viewer with many words of wisdom.

Quotes from civil rights leaders and by thoughtful people who never achieved fame have been painted along a low wall. Those who drive or walk by are reminded that peace, freedom and kindness toward all are among our highest aspirations.

We are reminded to remain hopeful and to lead full lives.

The artwork, titled Inspiration Wall, was painted by Rik Erickson of Murals Fantastic. It was commissioned by the City of San Diego Graffiti Division. (Rik Erickson also created the large, very cool Imagine mural in North Park that features the face of John Lennon. It’s a bit hidden in a very narrow alley, but you can see it here.)

The colorful Inspiration Wall is located at the intersection of Ocean View Boulevard and 35th Street, across from the on-ramp to northbound Interstate 15.

I took these photos for you to enjoy…

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!

An extraordinary Mercado del Barrio mural.

One of the most extraordinary pieces of public art in San Diego is small and seen by few. It’s located in Barrio Logan’s Mercado del Barrio, near the entrance to the Estrella Del Mercado Apartments.

The beautiful mosaic mural, made of sculpted clay tiles and found objects, was created by Betsy K. Schulz in 2012 with the help of Perkins Elementary students, whose written thoughts can be read in the roots of a tree.

I posted a photo of this mural (and various others) almost seven years ago here during a walk around the new Mercado del Barrio. When I walked past the mosaic a couple weeks ago, I was so struck by its beauty that I had to take these close up photos.

To learn more about this extraordinary mosaic mural, that “celebrates our community’s past and the children’s hopes for the future,” visit artist Betsy Schulz’s website 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!

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!

Small anonymous stones spread love!

As one grows older, it can be easy to turn cynical. Experience shows us how the world really operates. How people often behave.

Some of it is depressing.

But should we shrug aside acts born of love when those acts might seem microscopic or hopelessly naïve?

It appears a child or children used paint or magic markers to decorate a few small stones. The stones relate simple, positive messages. The stones were placed beside a sidewalk along Governor Drive, east of Genesee Avenue.

Not many people walk down this sidewalk. Realistically, chances were few eyes would ever see these stones.

But even the tiniest stones dropped in water create ripples.

And somebody walking along the sidewalk by sheer chance happened to notice.

And love is now spreading through your eyes.

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!

Holiday decorations appear early downtown!

It’s not even Thanksgiving, and holiday decorations are springing up all over downtown San Diego!

Yes, many of us express dismay when wreaths, ribbons and Christmas trees appear in shops, windows and everywhere you turn well before December. It happens every year.

But 2020 has been more chaotic and stressful than usual. Perhaps starting early with holiday cheerfulness and a message of hope is a good thing.

I took these photos in both the morning and the evening after dark. I’m sure many more holiday decorations will be materializing throughout the city in the days ahead!

The following three photos were taken at The Westgate Hotel, one of the city’s most elegant hotels.

I was walking down the sidewalk, taking photos of the hotel’s bright new outdoor holiday decorations, when a friendly lady who works there offered to show me the grand Christmas tree inside their lobby.

If you love French elegance, The Westgate Hotel is where you want to be!

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!

Art panels say BE THE CHANGE.

Three panels of painted art have appeared in the breezeway between downtown’s Santa Fe Depot train station and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Together they form a positive message: BE THE CHANGE.

BE
THE
CHANGE
Goal Warm Liberated Kindness Peaceful Tender Determined Brave Spirited…
Motivated Playful Amazed Passionate Sunshine Intelligent Unique Calm Free Grace…
Wonderful Inspire Strength Curious Encouraged Mindful Onward Beauty Freedom…
A new butterfly.

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!

Thousands of origami cranes help heal San Diego.

A large display case inside the Japanese Friendship Garden’s beautiful Inamori Pavilion contains “one thousand” colorful origami cranes. They were created by members of the community from March through July of 2020 to help reassure and heal San Diego during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

A sign in the display case explains: “In Japanese culture, the crane is a symbol of longevity and happiness. The one thousand origami cranes were originally popularized through the story of a Japanese girl, Sadako, who was exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. She soon developed leukemia and began making origami cranes with the goal of making one thousand, inspired by the senbazuru legend…”

According to Wikipedia: “The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures (others include the dragon and the tortoise) and is said to live for a thousand years.” You can learn more about the ancient Japanese senbazuru legend by clicking here.

People throughout San Diego actually contributed over 2000 paper origami cranes for this very powerful display. Many hopeful hands worked together to help us all get through an extremely difficult period.

If you’d like to be moved and comforted by these “one thousand” cranes, head to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. The Inamori Pavilion can be found in the Lower Garden.

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!