Art captures memories of San Quentin inmates.

Spaces from Yesterday is a collaborative exhibition at the SDSU Downtown Gallery featuring the art projects of three San Quentin inmates.
Spaces from Yesterday is a collaborative exhibition at the SDSU Downtown Gallery featuring the art projects of three San Quentin inmates. (Click image to enlarge for easier reading.)

There’s a fascinating exhibition right now at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. It’s titled Spaces from Yesterday and features the artwork of three San Quentin inmates.

The artwork was created in collaboration with San Quentin State Prison art teacher Amy M. Ho, who also has a few related pieces in the exhibition. But the work that I found most interesting came directly from the hands of the inmates.

All three of the artists summon happy memories from their childhood. These images are warm, but also hard-edged and unpeopled. One work, The Hallway by Dennis Crookes, almost looks like a long, harsh, narrow prison hallway that finally leads to a home’s light-filled kitchen.

I could find no explanation why these three were incarcerated in the San Quentin correctional complex, which contains California’s only death row for male inmates. That would seem to be an essential part of the story, and might explain certain qualities of the art. But the anecdotes that are written do reveal a common yearning for a past life that is fondly remembered.

The following photos show a description of each piece, followed by the actual artwork.

Spaces from Yesterday will be on display through January 28, 2018. Those interested in art, creativity, and often hidden aspects of human life should check it out. Admission to the SDSU Downtown Gallery is free.

Prison art teacher Amy M. Ho and Dennis Crookes began planning The Hallway collaboration while Crookes was incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison.
Prison art teacher Amy M. Ho and Dennis Crookes began planning The Hallway collaboration while Crookes was incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison.
The Hallway, Dennis Crookes, acrylic on canvas, 2016.
The Hallway, Dennis Crookes, acrylic on canvas, 2016.
The Garage, a collaboration with inmate Bobby Dean Evans, Jr., contains warm memories from a playful childhood.
The Garage, a collaboration with inmate Bobby Dean Evans, Jr., contains warm memories from a playful childhood.
The Garage, Bobby Dean Evans, Jr., mixed media on cardboard, 2016.
The Garage, Bobby Dean Evans, Jr., mixed media on cardboard, 2016.
Chanthon Bun painted memories from a childhood that included a play fort in an abandoned lot, comic books, baseball cards and a fish pond he created with his siblings and young relatives.
Chanthon Bun painted memories from a childhood that included a play fort in an abandoned lot, comic books, baseball cards and a fish pond he created with his siblings and young relatives.
The Last Summer, Chanthon Bun, acrylic on canvas, 2017.
The Last Summer, Chanthon Bun, acrylic on canvas, 2017.

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!

To read a few stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Photos outside beautiful new downtown courthouse.

Gazing up from Union Street at the unique new Superior Court building in downtown San Diego.
Gazing up from Union Street at the unique new Superior Court building in downtown San Diego.

Yesterday I walked past our beautiful new downtown courthouse. The opening of the high tech half billion dollar San Diego Central Courthouse has faced several delays, but the very unique exterior has already added more character to San Diego’s gleaming skyline.

Here are some photos. The rooftop canopy is rather unusual, as you can see. The crystal-like lattice of geometric reflections and shadows that it produces delights the eye.

The new San Diego Central Courthouse is nearly completed. It stands north across the C Street trolley tracks from the Hall of Justice.
The new San Diego Central Courthouse is nearly completed. It stands north across the C Street trolley tracks from the Hall of Justice. A pedestrian bridge connects both buildings.
Flags in a pleasant breeze. The new courthouse, most expensive in California, has faced various construction delays.
Flags in a pleasant breeze. The new courthouse, most expensive in California, has faced various construction delays.
This Superior Courthouse of California is across Union Street from the old courthouse, which will be torn down.
This new Superior Court of California building is across Union Street from the old, less-functional courthouse, which will be torn down.
Fascinating reflections and shadows on glass windows beneath a projecting rooftop canopy.
Fascinating reflections and shadows on glass windows beneath a projecting rooftop canopy.

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!

Flowers remember, honor fallen peace officers.

Roses for the fallen at San Diego's Regional Law Enforcement Memorial.
Flowers for the fallen at San Diego’s Regional Law Enforcement Memorial.

Yesterday the 33rd Annual San Diego County Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial ceremony was held at the Regional Law Enforcement Memorial, which stands eternally in San Diego’s beautiful Waterfront Park, in front of the County Administration Building.

During the solemn ceremony, fallen San Diego County peace officers were remembered, and honored.

The day after the ceremony flowers remain scattered by the names of heroes who sacrificed everything for you and me.

Flowers fade. Memory–and gratitude–will endure forever.

Names of heroes.
Names of heroes.
Flowers fade. Memory--and gratitude--will endure forever.
Flowers fade. Memory–and gratitude–will endure forever.

First San Diego Courthouse Museum in Old Town.

Likeness of Agoston Haraszthy, first Sheriff of the County of San Diego. He was elected in 1850 and served one term. He was a pioneer when it came to growing grapes and became known as the Father of California Wine.
Likeness of Agoston Haraszthy, first Sheriff of the County of San Diego. He was elected in 1850 and served one term. He was a pioneer when it came to growing grapes and became known as the Father of California Wine.

Visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park can get a taste of the city’s early history when they step into the First San Diego Courthouse Museum.

One of many free attractions that can be found around Old Town’s central Plaza de Las Armas, the First San Diego Courthouse Museum is a recreation of our city’s first fired-brick structure, built in 1847 by members of the Mormon Battalion.

From 1847 to 1850 the original building served as the office of el Alcalde (Mexican mayor) of San Diego. Beginning in 1850 it contained the office of San Diego Mayor and City Clerk, and was used for meetings of the San Diego Common Council. The building was also used as a city and county courthouse and First District Court beginning in 1850.

Other uses for the building would include a meeting place for Masonic Lodge No. 35, headquarters of the U.S. Boundary Commission, office of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, and a place of worship for San Diego’s first Protestant church.

Come with me inside the museum. Let’s have a peek at a few very small rooms and their fascinating exhibits.

Photo of the modest brick First San Diego Courthouse Museum in Old Town, a recreation of the city's first courthouse.
Photo of the modest brick First San Diego Courthouse Museum in Old Town, a recreation of San Diego’s first courthouse and city hall.
In 1847, the Mormon Battalion built the first fired-brick structure in San Diego. For a couple decades it would serve as courthouse.
In 1847, the Mormon Battalion built the first fired-brick structure in San Diego. For over two decades it would serve as courthouse.
Visitor to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park enters a fascinating recreation of the city's first courthouse and city hall.
Visitor to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park enters a fascinating recreation of the city’s first courthouse and city hall.
The portrait is of Oliver S. Witherby, He was appointed First District Judge in 1850. He served for 3 years. He is considered the Father of San Diego Jurisprudence.
The portrait is of Oliver S. Witherby, He was appointed First District Judge in 1850. He served for 3 years. He is considered the Father of San Diego Jurisprudence.
A time capsule lies in a corner of the first San Diego courthouse. It is scheduled to be opened in 2050.
A time capsule lies under this cornerstone of the first San Diego courthouse. It is scheduled to be opened in 2050.
A display case in San Diego's first courthouse contains artifacts from the 19th century, including old pipe bowls and an antique lawyer's briefcase.
A display case in San Diego’s first courthouse contains artifacts from the 19th century, including old pipe bowls and an antique lawyer’s briefcase.
In 1872 a fire destroyed the San Diego courthouse. The fire burned a large part of Old Town's business section.
In 1872 a fire destroyed the San Diego courthouse. The fire burned a large part of Old Town’s business section.
Sign explains the first California courts. The district court convened here, and acted as the highest court in the state.
Sign explains the first California courts. The district court convened here, and acted as the highest court in the state.
This room in the small building was the mayor's office. Portraits of some early San Diego mayors are on the wall. Joshua H. Bean was San Diego's first mayor, elected in 1850.
This room in the small building was the mayor’s office. Portraits of some early San Diego mayors are on the wall. Joshua H. Bean was San Diego’s first mayor, elected in 1850.
A peek into the adjacent sheriff's office. I see rifles, handcuffs and keys to the outdoor jail cell.
A peek into the adjacent sheriff’s office. I see rifles, handcuffs and keys to the outdoor jail cell.
This iron jail cell was the size and construction of the original courthouse jail from 1850.
This iron jail cell was the size and construction of the original courthouse jail from 1850.
Break the law, and you might end up in here!
Break the law, and you might end up in here!
the San Diego Courthouse and City Hall museum in Old Town is open free to the public every day.
A small museum depicting the first San Diego Courthouse and City Hall in Old Town is open free to the public every day.

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Horses and riders gather for St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

A horse is prepared in a corner of Balboa Park for San Diego's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade along Sixth Avenue.
A horse is prepared in a corner of Balboa Park for San Diego’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade along Sixth Avenue.  San Diego Bay and Point Loma can be seen in the distance.

Here are some fun photos!

Look what I discovered this morning as I walked through Marston Point, heading into the heart of Balboa Park. Horses and riders had gathered in the southwest corner of the park and were preparing for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade! Every year the big parade heads down nearby Sixth Avenue.

Both horses and riders would be wearing green today during the parade.
Both horses and riders would be wearing green today during the parade.
Horse and rider get ready in Balboa Park's Marston Point parking lot.
Horse and rider get ready in Balboa Park’s Marston Point parking lot.
Folks dressed in cowboy attire watch the proceedings.
Folks dressed in cowboy attire watch the proceedings.
A couple of horses from Valley Center wait by a trailer for the start of the parade.
A couple of horses from Valley Center wait by a trailer for the start of the parade.
A nice smile from a rider!
A nice smile from a rider!
Law enforcement would ride in the parade, too. These two horses were wearing some green shamrocks.
Law enforcement would ride in the parade, too. These two horses were wearing some green shamrocks.
A horse and rider with fancy braids.
A horse and rider with braids and curls.
This elegant carriage would soon be watched by thousands during the big parade.
This elegant carriage would soon be watched by thousands during the big St. Patrick’s Day parade.
A rider heads across the grass of Balboa Park's lush green Marston Point.
A rider heads across the grass of Balboa Park’s beautiful green Marston Point.

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!

Happiness and togetherness at MLK Day Parade.

People gather along Harbor Drive awaiting the start of the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in San Diego.
People gather together along Harbor Drive and await the start of the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in San Diego.

San Diego’s 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade started this afternoon at 2 o’clock. I arrived a bit early and made my way onto the tall ship Star of India. Best seat in the house!

What all did I see? Read the photo captions!

Lots of friendship and smiles up and down the street.
Lots of friendship and smiles up and down the street.
Some Navy officers gather near the MLK Day Parade's starting area.
Some Navy officers gather near the MLK Day Parade’s starting area.
The San Diego Padres would be in the parade. They were waiting with some baseball balloons by the Maritime Museum.
The San Diego Padres would be in the parade. They were waiting with some baseball balloons by the Maritime Museum.
One benefit of being a member of the Maritime Museum of San Diego--I could watch the parade from atop one of the world's most famous tall ships--the Star of India!
One benefit of being a member of the Maritime Museum of San Diego–I could freely watch the parade from atop one of the world’s most famous tall ships–the Star of India!
Now I'm looking down from the deck above the historic ship's forecastle. Joe who works at the museum and I had the best view of the parade all to ourselves!
Now I’m looking down from the deck above the historic ship’s forecastle. Joe who works at the museum and I had the best view of the parade all to ourselves!
Look at all the folks gathering for the big MLK Day Parade. Every year, it's one of the most popular parades in San Diego.
Look at all the folks gathering for the big MLK Day Parade. Every year, it’s one of the most popular parades in San Diego.
From the Star of India we overlooked the parade's starting point. Lots of groups were waiting by their vehicles, including these Homeland Security guys posing for a picture.
From the Star of India we overlooked the parade’s starting point. Lots of groups were waiting by their vehicles, including these Homeland Security guys posing for a picture.
I also spotted law enforcement officers from around San Diego and the Border Patrol.
I also spotted law enforcement officers from around San Diego and the Border Patrol.
But the politicians manage to always go first. I spotted Todd Gloria, Toni Atkins, Susan Davis and Shirley Weber.
A pigeon joined us on the tall ship’s rigging.  Funny how the politicians manage to always go first. I spotted Todd Gloria, Toni Atkins, Susan Davis and Shirley Weber.
Tending to the flags.
Tending to the flags.
The parade has begun and here comes the Padres' happy mascot, the Swinging Friar!
The parade has begun and here comes the Padres’ happy mascot, the Swinging Friar!
The Chargers might be history, but San Diego's beloved Padres remain a strong part of our wonderful community.
The Chargers might be history, but San Diego’s beloved Padres remain a strong part of our wonderful community.
I think these guys marching are the San Diego County Sheriffs.
I think those guys marching are the San Diego County Sheriffs.
Oh, goodness! It's the Geico gecko.
Oh, goodness! It’s the Geico gecko.
Fellowship and laughter in one group before beginning down the parade route.
Fellowship and laughter in one group before beginning down the parade route.
From our cool vantage point above the starting point, sometimes the big event seemed like two parades in one!
From our cool vantage point above the starting point, sometimes the big event seemed like two parades in one!
It's a small planet. Perhaps we human-types ought to be nice to one another. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that love overcomes hate.
It’s a small planet. Perhaps we humans ought to be nice to one another. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that love overcomes hate.
I realized my small camera struggles at a distance, so after a bit I said bye to Joe and headed down to Harbor Drive to get closer shots.
I realized my small camera struggles at a distance, so after a bit I said bye to Joe and headed down to Harbor Drive to get closer shots.
Here comes the Saint Peter Grand Lodge!
Here comes the Saint Peter Grand Lodge!
Hello!
Hello!
Here comes a bright yellow float carrying some beauty queens!
Here comes a bright yellow float carrying some beauty queens!
Wow--look at all the color. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade is a happy celebration of human diversity and togetherness.
Wow–look at all the happy people. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade is a joyful celebration of human diversity and togetherness.
Here come some drummers!
Here come some drummers!
I believe these guys are students from UCSD. The County Administration Building rises in the background.
I believe these guys are students from UCSD. The County Administration Building rises in the background.
Lots of colorful costumes and finery representing different backgrounds and cultures. San Diego comes together as one family.
Lots of colorful costumes and finery representing different experiences and cultures. San Diego comes together as one family.
Smiles, happiness and togetherness. May the parade go on and on...
Smiles, happiness and togetherness. May the parade go on and on…

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!

Donate to help the San Diego Police Department.

Wreath in front of San Diego Police Headquarters' Wall of Honor, remnant of a recent memorial ceremony. The wall is inscribed with the names of all police officers killed in the line of duty since 1913.
San Diego Police Headquarters’ Wall of Honor. The wall is inscribed with the names of police officers killed in the line of duty since 1913.

Almost everyone in San Diego, and many across the country, know the heartbreaking news. Two San Diego gang-unit officers were shot in the Southcrest neighborhood late last night. One, Jonathan DeGuzman, has passed away. The second, Wade Irwin, remains in serious condition.

As an ordinary citizen, would you like to help the San Diego Police Department? It’s an extremely difficult job they do, and a noble one. Their task is to protect our communities. They risk their own lives every single day to save others, to protect and assist law-abiding citizens, and to keep the peace. Unfortunately, in some important areas our local police department is underfunded.

Please visit the San Diego Police Foundation website to learn how you can directly help, and consider giving a donation. Thank you.

Firefighting helicopters suck water from San Diego River!

One of the San Diego Fire Department's two firefighting helicopters fills it water tank using a hose lowered into the San Diego River in Mission Valley.
One of the San Diego Fire Department’s two firefighting helicopters fills its water tank using a hose lowered into the San Diego River in Mission Valley.

I was lucky late this afternoon to capture some cool action pics! After work, I was eating at Jack in the Box in Hazard Center when I saw a helicopter swooping rapidly down toward the nearby San Diego River. A hose was dangling underneath, so I knew it was a firefighting helicopter arriving to suck up some river water!

I hurried down to the center of the action to watch and snap a few photographs. It’s the first time I’ve witnessed this activity up close.

Someone on the river path said there was a fire to the northwest in Linda Vista, but I couldn’t see any smoke. I watched five different instances of helicopters filling their tanks, then the action ceased. The fire must’ve been quickly contained.

A wildfire must be nearby because here comes a firefighting helicopter swooping rapidly down over Mission Center Road toward a wide spot in the San Diego River!
A wildfire must be nearby because here comes a firefighting helicopter swooping rapidly down over Mission Center Road and the raised trolley tracks toward a wide spot in the San Diego River!
The chopper slows and carefully makes its descent in order to suck water into its belly tank to eventually drop on a wildfire.
The chopper slows and carefully makes its descent in order to suck water into its belly tank to eventually drop on a wildfire.
The air from the rotor blades causes spray to fly up from the surface of the San Diego River. Several joggers and walkers on the nearby paths stopped to watch.
The air from the rotor blades causes spray to fly up from the surface of the San Diego River. Several joggers and walkers on the nearby paths stopped to watch.
The long hose quickly sucks a good quantity of water from the river. The pilot is highly skilled, hovering the helicopter above the water, steady as a rock.
The long hose quickly sucks a good quantity of water from the river. The pilot is highly skilled, hovering the helicopter close above the water, steady as a rock.
A couple minutes later one of the San Diego County Sheriff's three firefighting helicopters arrives! You can see the external belly tank underneath the chopper's body!
A couple minutes later one of the San Diego County Sheriff’s three firefighting helicopters arrives! You can see the external belly tank underneath the chopper’s body!
This firefighting helicopter got so close to the water I had to hold my breath. These brave hero pilots are amazingly precise.
This firefighting helicopter got so close to the water I had to hold my breath. These brave hero pilots are amazingly precise.
ASTREA is the Sheriff’s Department aviation unit. Up this aircraft goes, quickly swinging overhead and heading to the northwest. Someone thought there was a fire in Linda Vista, but I didn't see any smoke in any direction.
ASTREA is the Sheriff’s Department aviation unit. Up their aircraft goes, quickly swinging overhead and heading to the northwest. Someone thought there was a fire in Linda Vista, but I didn’t see smoke from the bottom of Mission Valley in any direction.
A San Diego Fire Department chopper has sucked up more water from the river and flies again toward the northwest! The fire must have been small, because the action above the river didn't seem to last for more than 15 minutes.
A San Diego Fire Department chopper has sucked up more water from the river and flies in a big hurry again toward the northwest! The fire must have been small, because the action above the river didn’t seem to last for more than 15 minutes.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! Sometimes I randomly stumble upon fascinating, newsworthy events! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Get out of jail free at old police headquarters!

People view photos and memorabilia in corridor of the old San Diego Police Headquarters located downtown near Seaport Village.
People view photos and memorabilia in corridor of the old San Diego Police Headquarters located near Seaport Village.

In downtown San Diego, one can enter a highly secure jail cell, then turn around and easily walk right out! How? Simply visit the old police headquarters!

The Headquarters at Seaport is the official name of a relatively new shopping center on Harbor Drive, located right next to Seaport Village. The unique complex features several fine restaurants and specialty shops, housed in a restored building that was originally built in 1939. For almost half a century–until its closure in 1987–the fortress-like building with its large courtyard was home to San Diego’s police headquarters.

Anyone visiting The Headquarters can enjoy a free glimpse of San Diego history by checking out a modest exhibit in a corridor that leads to the old cell block and some restrooms. I took photographs during one walk that you might find interesting.

This beautifully restored building now contains shops and restaurants on San Diego's waterfront. Built in 1939, it served for half a century as the city's central police station.
This beautifully restored building now contains shops and restaurants on San Diego’s waterfront. Built in 1939, it served for half a century as the city’s central police station.
People amble past a doorway which leads into the past. A bit of San Diego history beckons the curious.
People amble past a doorway which leads into the past. A bit of San Diego history beckons the curious.
Old jail cells and an interesting police department exhibit are inside!
Old jail cells and an interesting police department exhibit are inside!
Fascinating photographs on one corridor wall show scenes from the old police headquarters.
Fascinating photographs on one corridor wall show scenes from the old police headquarters.
Many operations were under one roof, including administrative offices, jails, a law library, crime lab, pistol range, and even a police car maintenance facility.
Many operations were under one roof, including administrative offices, jails, a law library, crime lab, pistol range, and even a police car maintenance facility.
This photo shows officers posing in front of the iconic tower. The historic building is a mixture of architectural styles often seen in San Diego and Southern California.
This photo shows officers posing in front of the iconic tower. The historic building is a mixture of architectural styles often seen in San Diego and Southern California.
Display cases in this preserved hallway contain artifacts from local law enforcement decades ago.
Display cases in this preserved hallway contain artifacts from local law enforcement decades ago.
Vintage police shields and badges are among the interesting items in this museum-like display.
Vintage police shields and badges are among the interesting items in this museum-like display.
Handcuffs, documents and law enforcement equipment educate visitors about police history in San Diego.
Handcuffs, documents and law enforcement equipment educate visitors about police history in San Diego.
Some patches that were worn proudly.
Some patches that were worn proudly.
Image shows original construction of the police headquarters in 1939.
Image shows original construction of the police headquarters in 1939.
I believe someone who was arrested is being photographed. I see a clock, calendar, lights and identifying placard.
I believe someone who was arrested is being photographed. I see a clock, calendar, lights and identifying placard.
The door of a holding cell in the old police headquarters corridor.
The door of a holding cell in the old police headquarters corridor.
Cells for prisoners and suspects were securely locked and unlocked using this mechanism.
Cells for prisoners and suspects were securely locked and unlocked using this mechanism.
A look inside the eight cell, two level jail block. If you want to see what life was like behind bars, that last door is wide open!
A look inside the eight cell, two level jail block. If you want to see what life was like behind bars, that last door is wide open!
These jail cells are very simple and primitive. Comfort is not a priority.
These jail cells are very simple and primitive. Comfort is not a priority.
A few bare essentials and a pretty face.
A few bare essentials and a pretty face.
Visitors to The Headquarters old cell block look at mug shots on one wall.
Visitors to The Headquarters old cell block look at mug shots on one wall.
Prisoner Information. Personal property is surrendered, necessities are provided, hours for lights out and visitors, and two telephone calls are granted at the time of booking.
Prisoner Information. Personal property is surrendered, necessities are provided, hours for lights out and visitors, and two telephone calls are granted at the time of booking.
Kids are photographed at the lineup wall. They look slightly suspicious!
Kids are photographed at the lineup wall. They look slightly suspicious!

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San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial.

Flags above San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial.
Flags above San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial.

The large new waterfront park around San Diego’s County Administration Building contains an important memorial in a prominent location. The San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial is a glass wall etched with the names of fallen officers. It used to be situated on a patch of lawn a bit south of where it now stands. The beautiful memorial was created by the San Diego County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, the San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation, and the County of San Diego.

Wreath placed before the names of fallen officers.
Wreath placed before the names of fallen officers.
Glass wall memorial in park by County Administration Building.
Glass wall memorial in park by County Administration Building.
Remembering those who fell in the line of duty.
Remembering those who fell in the line of duty.

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