Inspiring murals celebrate human resilience.

Resilience, by Lydia Puentes Phillips.

A couple of murals that celebrate human resilience are presently on display at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

The two murals are an offshoot of the 1000 Cranes Project, that sought to bring strength and comfort to those isolated during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This modest exhibition concerning one very important topic was originally part of a pop up museum at the Beardsley Event Center in Barrio Logan. Now those who visit the Japanese Friendship Garden can enjoy the inspiring artwork.

Resilience, by David Lee.

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 healing 9/11 concert in Balboa Park.

A concert at Balboa Park’s International Cottages today, the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, was filled with healing warmth and tenderness.

The group Island Mist and Friends was playing gentle island music for a world that could use a little extra kindness.

I listened to a few songs, saw many smiles, then my legs carried me forward.

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!

Mission Bay palm grove honors American hostages.

There’s no need to expound on the terrible developments presently taking place in Afghanistan.

A couple weekends ago, during my walk along the east shore of Mission Bay, I saw a small plaque by the pathway. This plaque is located at Tecolote Shores, a little north of the Mission Bay Playground, near a beautiful grove of tall palm trees. I paused to read the following words.

THIS PALM GROVE PLANTED IN HONOR OF THE 52 AMERICAN CITIZENS HELD HOSTAGE IN IRAN, FROM NOVEMBER 4, 1979 TO JANUARY 20, 1981.

BY KIWANIS CLUB OF SAN DIEGO

Today, in our own time of fear and uncertainty, let us all hope and pray for the best.

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 very fun Tanabata Festival in San Diego!

The Tanabata Festival was held today at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park!

This always fun festival included traditional Japanese kimonos, art, crafts, kids games, yummy food, the making of kokedama (Japanese moss balls) and other family activities.

Most importantly, visitors to the festival had the opportunity to write their own special wish!

Tanabata has its origin in a story about the Japanese deities Orihime and Hikoboshi, who shine in the heavens as stars. The Milky Way separates the two lovers who can only meet once a year. Tanabata is that day.

According to the Japanese Friendship Garden’s website here, “A common practice during Tanabata is to decorate the nanatsu kazari, or seven decorations…” Different types of ornaments are hung from bamboo trees to bring luck, skill, health or success.

I noticed many messages had already been hung. The hands of many at the festival wished for happiness in life!

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!

Returning to normal after the pandemic.

Thank goodness. Life in San Diego is returning to something more like normal. As a large number of people have become vaccinated against COVID-19, the coronavirus pandemic has greatly subsided.

The virus took an unspeakably horrible toll. Lives were lost. Living was curtailed. Many were isolated. Livelihoods were decimated. The lockdowns were unprecedented. But we’re somehow getting beyond it.

In the last couple weeks I’ve taken a few photographs of signs that our city is returning to normal.

Indoor dining is back. Theaters are open or about to open. Stadiums are once again full. Museums and attractions are mostly open. More and more commercial planes are landing at San Diego International Airport. Traffic patterns are returning. Help Wanted signs are now everywhere.

One thing I really notice as I walk around is that tourists are traveling once again to sunny San Diego.

The new normal in the Gaslamp Quarter includes open-air dining.
Visitors to the Maritime Museum of San Diego descend into the USS Dolphin submarine.
Old Town Trolley Tours is starting to get busy again, and these relaxing tour guides smiled for my camera!
The movies are back. I’m anxious to see Black Widow which opens next week!
Most restaurants–the ones that survived the pandemic–are open for indoor dining…and they’re hiring!
Two “smiles” at Fiesta de Reyes are symbolic of the gradual transition back to normal times.
Tourists check out pottery at El Centro Artesano in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
A random fun photo that I took today. These fireplace “fire starters” are made using leftover wax at Toby’s Candle & Soap Shop in Old Town.
People are out and about, so downtown sidewalks must be kept clean!
The historic Balboa Theatre will be reopening in early August!

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!

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!