Journey through dreams at the San Diego Art Institute.

Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park journeys through a dream.
Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park journeys through a dream.

Stepping into the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park is like entering a world of dreams. Weird, unexpected dreams hover around corners, dangle overhead, emerge mysteriously from the floor and walls.

A journey through this dreamworld opens one’s eyes to the possibilities of human creativity. During my recent visit I felt as though I were floating through some sort of Twilight Zone. The unearthly sounds, the psychedelic whirls of video, the explosions of imagination, the seemingly sublime and inexplicable visions.

If you’re in San Diego and love provocative art, head over to Balboa Park! The San Diego Art Institute is more gallery than museum, with exhibits that change every couple of months.

One can wander through a maze of rampant human creativity.
One can wander through a maze of rampant human creativity  The current exhibit focuses on mixed media.
Upside down, strange and sudden.
Upside down, strange and sudden.
Through alleys of dazzling images.
Through alleys of dazzling images.
Aaron Garretson, Sunday Morning Cocktails. Threat, yarn, cloth, found materials. 2016.
Aaron Garretson, Sunday Morning Cocktails. Threat, yarn, cloth, found materials. 2016.
Weird visions on a wall include spinning blobs of video.
Weird visions on a wall include spinning blobs of video.
Elise Amour, Untitled. Mixed media with vintage photo. 2017.
Elise Amour, Untitled. Mixed media with vintage photo. 2017.
Surrounded by art. Slow feet meander from dream to dream.
Surrounded by art. Slow feet meander from dream to dream.
Eight pieces by Jodi Hays. Gouache, ink and collage on paper. 2015.
Eight pieces by Jodi Hays. Gouache, ink and collage on paper. 2015.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Do you like to read original, thought-provoking fiction? To read a few stories I’ve written (and something that resembles a poem), click Short Stories by Richard.

Students create fun artwork, reinvent Loteria!

A wall inside the San Diego Art Institute features artwork by 3rd and 4th grade students at San Miguel Elementary School.
A wall inside the San Diego Art Institute features artwork by 3rd and 4th grade students at San Miguel Elementary School.

Check out some fun artwork at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park!

Inside the museum-like gallery you’ll find a wall splashed with a large grid of images created by 3rd and 4th grade students at San Miguel Elementary School. The project is called Loteria Reinvented.

Loteria is a Mexican game of chance similar to bingo. Loteria utilizes a tabla–a random grid of pictures–and matching images that are drawn from a deck of cards. The students were introduced to the game’s history, then made versions of the game unique to San Miguel Elementary School. Each student reinterpreted an original Loteria card, drawing their version on a 17 by 23 inch panel!

The colorful wall can be seen at the San Diego Art Institute until late May. The student artwork will then be displayed at Museo El Trompo in Tijuana.

Each panel is a student's reinterpretation of a Loteria card. Loteria is a Mexican game of chance similar to bingo.
Each panel is a student’s reinterpretation of a Loteria card. Loteria is a Mexican game of chance similar to bingo.
Cupcake. Dragon. Face. Glasses. Tree.
Cupcake. Dragon. Face. Glasses. Tree.
Kitten. Fish. Teacup. Boat. Bull.
Kitten. Fish. Teacup. Boat. Bull.
Flag. Bridge. Dream Soccer. Lion. Shooting Star.
Flag. Bridge. Dream Soccer. Lion. Shooting Star.
Flower. Flying Girl.
Flower. Flying Girl.
Visitor at San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park checks out Loteria Reinvented!
Visitor at San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park checks out Loteria Reinvented!

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Cool LEGO creations displayed in Balboa Park!

Fun LEGO creations on display during the House of Denmark lawn program in Balboa Park.
Fun LEGO creations on display during the House of Denmark lawn program in Balboa Park.

Wow! Check these out! Here are some super cool LEGO creations that I saw today in Balboa Park!

I was walking among the International Cottages when I spied tables with all sorts of fun and amazing stuff made of LEGO bricks. The builders were more than happy to show off their creations!

When I was told the House of Denmark was having their lawn program today, it all made sense. The LEGO company is based in Denmark, of course.

I also enjoyed looking at some cool Viking weapons and crafts displayed on the lawn nearby. If you want to check that out, visit my Beautiful Balboa Park blog by clicking here!

This tent was a magnet for the young and young-at-heart. Talented LEGO builders were showing off some cool creations!
This tent was a magnet for the young and young-at-heart. Talented LEGO builders were showing off some amazing creations!
I learned this castle was built from a kit. Everything else on display, however, was an original creation.
I learned this castle was built from a kit. Everything else on display, however, was an original creation.
Here we go! I see a fun train, a Viking ship and what looks like cars from an amusement park ride.
Here we go! I see a fun train, a Viking ship and what looks like cars from an amusement park ride.
Look at all the LEGO characters! I see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Marvel comic book characters and many others!
Look at all the LEGO characters! I see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Marvel comic book superheroes and supervillains and many others!
This first batch of LEGO creations was put together by Matt Armstrong, who runs MonsterBrick Creations!
This first batch of LEGO creations was put together by Matt Armstrong, who runs MonsterBrick Creations!
Now let's check out some cool Star Wars characters made of LEGO bricks. These were created by Miro Dudas of Humble Bricks.
Now let’s check out some cool Star Wars characters made of LEGO bricks. These were created by Miro Dudas of Humble Bricks.
His detailed Viking ship was awesome!
His detailed Viking ship was awesome!
An up-close look at the LEGO ship and its Viking warriors!
An up-close look at the LEGO ship and its Viking warriors!
This American flag created by another skilled builder was inspired by the Carlsbad Flower Fields! It took a long time and much patience to assemble!
This American flag created by another skilled LEGO builder was inspired by the Carlsbad Flower Fields! It took a long time and much patience to assemble!
There are three levels of colored flowers. The first level had to be installed first, then the second, then the third. The end result is amazing.
There are three levels of colored flowers. The first level had to be installed first, then the second, then the third. The end result is amazing.
OMG! One of my favorite movie scenes! It's a LEGO version of the Chocolate Room from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!
OMG! One of my favorite movie scenes! It’s a LEGO version of the Chocolate Room from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!
Pure imagination! A meadow full of candy made of LEGO bricks! I think Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, would have been delighted by this.
Pure imagination! A meadow full of candy made of LEGO bricks! I think Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, would have been delighted by this.
I was told that's Augustus Gloop near the bottom reaching for a chocolate flower. Don't fall into the river! Watch out for the pipes!
I was told that is Augustus Gloop near the bottom reaching for a chocolate flower. Don’t fall into the river! Watch out for the pipes!
Here comes an Oompa Loompa sailing down the chocolate river! The Chocolate Room was built by LEGO master John Cooper!
Here comes an Oompa Loompa sailing down the chocolate river! The Chocolate Room was built by LEGO master John Cooper!
A young man had made a number of super cool LEGO characters using his imagination.
A young man had made a number of super cool LEGO characters using his imagination.
Awesome!
Awesome!
The young man demonstrates how to make an adjustment to one LEGO creation.
The young man demonstrates how to make an adjustment to one LEGO creation.
This table on the International Cottages lawn contained all sorts of creations made by visitors to the House of Denmark event.
This table on the International Cottages lawn contained all sorts of unique LEGO creations made by visitors to the House of Denmark event.
I'm not sure what these guys are making. It could be literally anything!
I’m not sure what these guys are making. It could be literally anything!

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Art and history at the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

People walk along Broadway near the entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
People walk along Broadway near the entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

One of the sites that I visited this weekend during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017 was the SDSU Downtown Gallery. I’d never stepped into the small art gallery before. Rotating exhibits feature the work of faculty and students at SDSU.

The building in which the gallery is housed, located at the corner of Kettner Boulevard and Broadway, served as the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway. The historic railway, which served a large area of early San Diego, was established by John D. Spreckels.

According to a short tour and handout I was given, a circa 1900 building at this location served as an earlier San Diego Electric Railway power house, railcar barn and paint shop. Some enormous doors still exist in the building today where train cars would enter and exit. I also learned the extravagant 1897 Los Banos bathhouse stood at the building’s northwest corner–but there remains no trace of that historic old structure.

In 1921, San Diego Consolidated Gas and Electric Company purchased Station B, and two additions to the building were subsequently made. The additions were designed by famed architect William Templeton Johnson.

Today the original Station B power plant contains powerful works of art, and forms a section of the base of the skyscraping Electra Building, a modern residential development built in 2008.

Please enjoy some photos of the gallery and the historic building.

If you love art and find yourself downtown while the gallery is open, swing on by!

I took this photo at another time. Now part of the high-rise Electra Building, this used to be the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway.
Now part of the high-rise Electra Building, this originally was the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway.
Historical ornamentation above the front entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
Historical ornamentation above the front entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
Walk through these beads to enjoy a small but dynamic art gallery in downtown San Diego.
Walk through these beads to enjoy a small but dynamic art gallery in downtown San Diego.
Works on the gallery walls were produced by faculty and students at San Diego State University. Exhibits change every few months.
Works on the gallery walls were produced by faculty and students at San Diego State University. Exhibits change every few months.
Description of current gallery exhibit by faculty and students of San Diego State University. Every Which Way investigates artistic experience and human movement.
Description of current gallery exhibit by faculty and students of San Diego State University. Every Which Way investigates artistic experience and human movement.
Visitor to the gallery checks out thought-provoking artwork.
Visitor to the gallery checks out thought-provoking artwork.
Fear/Less, 2016, by Troy Guard.
Fear/Less, 2016, by Troy Guard.
Works of human imagination along one wall.
Works of human imagination along one wall.
The serigraphs on this wall were made by students in the SDSU Graphic Design program. Imagery depicts ocean and desert ecosystems as migratory environments.
The serigraphs on this wall were made by students in the SDSU Graphic Design program. Imagery depicts ocean and desert ecosystems as migratory environments.
More eye-catching works of art.
More eye-catching works of art.
Some of the pieces are quite unusual and creative.
Some of the pieces are quite unusual and creative.
A short talk begins in the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Just one fascinating tour during the San Diego Architectural Foundation's OPEN HOUSE 2017.
A short tour begins in the SDSU Downtown Gallery–Just one fascinating tour during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017.
We are shown various photos, including Station B behind Santa Fe Depot in the 1960s. The smokestacks were removed in the 1980s.
We are shown various photos, including Station B behind Santa Fe Depot in the 1960s. The smokestacks were removed in the 1980s.
Old photo of Los Banos, a bathhouse which was located just south of Santa Fe Depot. The neo-Moorish structure designed by William S. Hebbard and Irving J. Gill opened in 1897.
Old photo of Los Banos, a bathhouse which was located just south of Santa Fe Depot. The neo-Moorish structure designed by William S. Hebbard and Irving J. Gill opened in 1897.
One of the enormous, heavy doors is opened from inside the historic building. I was told these were used for a railcar barn. Was coal for the power plant unloaded here? I don't know.
One of the enormous, heavy doors is opened from inside the historic building. I was told these were used for a railcar barn.
Our tour walks along Broadway side of the SDSU Downtown Gallery building.
Our small tour group walks down the sidewalk along the Broadway side of the SDSU Downtown Gallery building.
Now we are at the southeast corner of the large Electra Building, which rises above the historic San Diego Gas and Electric building.
Now we are at the southeast corner of the large Electra Building, which rises above the historic San Diego Gas and Electric building.
A symbolic painting inside the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Waves Inside, 2016, by Alison Zuniga.
A symbolic painting inside the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Waves Inside, 2016, by Alison Zuniga.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Happy environmental art in a city park!

Lots of colorful tile art with happy environmental themes decorates this trash can in downtown San Diego's Pantoja Park.
Lots of tiles painted with happy environmental themes.  Together they form a mosaic that decorates this trash can in downtown San Diego’s Pantoja Park.

I love mosaics that are composed of ceramic tiles painted by ordinary people–young people in particular. It’s like a patchwork of inner visions, expressed from many hearts.

The Envirocan in downtown San Diego’s Pantoja Park is a special trashcan that is decorated with tiles that were hand-painted by young artists. Most of the colorful images express environmental themes. Clean air, clean water . . . plus lots of smiles. Smiles are good for the environment, right? Of course they are.

ESI Art Corps San Diego. Envirocan, donated by Dick Butler. "One Who Cares"
ESI Art Corps San Diego. Envirocan – Donated by Dick Butler. “One Who Cares”
One side of the Envirocan features a female face. Perhaps it is Mother Earth.
One side of the Envirocan features a female face. Perhaps it is Mother Earth.
Colorful tiles painted by many creative hands form a mosaic on the Envirocan's other three sides. Here's the face of a happy critter in a tree, and some flowers.
Colorful tiles painted by many creative hands form a mosaic on the Envirocan’s other three sides. Here’s a happy face in a tree, and some flowers.
Keep our Earth clean!
Keep our Earth clean!
A house in a beautiful pristine landscape.
A house in a beautiful pristine landscape.
Flower Power
Flower Power
A human eye. A smudge of dirt looks like a tear.
A human eye. A smudge of something looks like a tear.
Fish enjoy a clean blue ocean.
Fish enjoy a clean blue ocean.
I'm not sure what this is, but it looks pretty cool!
I’m not sure what this is, but it looks pretty cool!
Someone is poking their nose over a fence.
Someone is poking their nose over a fence.
One tile on the Envirocan features the Enviro-can!
One tile on the Envirocan features the Enviro-can!
A happy face of many colors.
A happy face of many colors.
Another lively underwater scene.
Another lively underwater scene.
And another face!
And another beautiful face!
A clean river flows down from green hills between trees.
A clean river flows down from green hills between trees.
Wisdom is often found in a balance. Yin and yang. All things are connected.
Wisdom is often found in a balance. Yin and yang. All things are connected.
Looks like a weird underwater image. Not sure about the cube with tentacles.
Looks like a weird underwater scene. Not sure about the cube with tentacles.
Birds in a clear blue sky under a golden sun.
Birds in a clear blue sky under a golden sun.
Lots more smiley faces! They almost look like leaves to me.
Lots more smiley faces! They almost look like leaves to me.
A red heart on patchwork colors. Love.
A red heart on patchwork colors. Love.

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!

Two cool sculptures at a National City marina!

This old rusty steel skeleton of a ship is actually one of two cool sculptures near the Pier 32 Marina in National City.
This old rusty steel skeleton of a ship is actually one of two cool sculptures near the Pier 32 Marina in National City.

Check out these two very cool sculptures! I spotted them as I walked from a National City trolley station to Pepper Park yesterday, on my way to the big International Mariachi Festival.

Both of these sculptures are located at the Pier 32 Marina. And both are a lot of fun!

This huge metal sculpture by the marina flags is called Le Bateau Ivre, by artist Alber De Matteis, 2008.
This huge metal sculpture by the marina flags is called Le Bateau Ivre, by artist Alber De Matteis, 2008.
Close look at a work of very cool nautical art!
More detailed photo of this work of awesome nautical art! Looks like a ghost ship!
The second sculpture, just down a pathway, is School of Blue Bottle Noses, by artist David Boyer, 2008. It was part of an Urban Trees exhibition on San Diego's Embarcadero.
The second sculpture, just down a pathway, is School of Blue Bottle Noses, by artist David Boyer, 2008. It was part of an Urban Trees exhibition on San Diego’s Embarcadero.
Those blue Bottlenoses are actually bottles! Like a pod of turning dolphins, they shift direction in the wind!
Those blue Bottlenoses are actually bottles! Like a pod of turning dolphins, they shift direction in the wind!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

More short stories about light and darkness.

My writing blog Short Stories by Richard continues to grow. It now features 17 short works of fiction.

Many of the stories concern magic–or elements in life that seem to be magic. Most of the pieces contain both light and darkness.

I already posted a summary of my first six short stories here.

These are the next eleven:

One Strange, Shimmering Dream follows one man’s fantastic pursuit.

A Small Fountain in Green Park is about love and cherished moments in our brief life.

Irresistible Gravity is about futility and self-questioning.

A Dance in the Lightning takes a dangerous peek at ultimate reality.

Waterfall Tears interprets a moment of grieving.

An Old Man on a Bus demonstrates undying human defiance.

Dew on the Grass is about keen perception.

How to Paint Angels tells a story of despair, then sudden miraculous inspiration.

Final Real Magic is about youth and the uncertain nature of magic.

The Piano Player Sat Down produces a bit of strange, musical magic.

The Child and the Koi is a short fable about opposing primal powers.

Thank you for following my blog! Today I’m going to a Mariachi Festival in San Diego’s South Bay. Photos should be coming later!

Have a fine Sunday and keep on smiling!

Richard