Hotel San Diego sign at Liberty Station.

If you’ve ever entered Liberty Station by turning down Dewey Road from Rosecrans Street, you might’ve glimpsed a very unusual sight. On the left, beyond some trees, an enormous sign is lying on the ground!

Last weekend I walked down a footpath behind Officer’s Quarters D of the old Naval Training Center San Diego for a better look. Quarters D until recently was the home of SCOUT. It is now home of Banyan Tree Educational Services.

The huge sign lying strangely on the ground once belonged to the Hotel San Diego. For many decades the neon sign was an iconic sight on Broadway in downtown San Diego. The large hotel was demolished in 2006 to make way for a new federal courthouse.

I myself stayed in the hotel a little over twenty years ago, when I moved to San Diego, and I remember seeing this landmark sign on the historic building.

The Hotel San Diego was built in 1914 by John D. Spreckels to accommodate visitors arriving for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park. Learn more about it and see historical photos here.

Why is this large, rusting sign now lying on some grass at Liberty Station? It was preserved with the intention of restoring it for display in the garden behind Officer’s Quarters D. Read more about that 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!

Hidden public art on a Liberty Station rooftop!

Very few know of this “hidden” public artwork in Point Loma. It can be found on a building’s rooftop at Liberty Station.

In the next photograph you can see green stairs climbing the side of the New Americans Museum. During all of my visits to Liberty Station, I’ve never seen a single person going up them. I myself had thought these stairs to the building’s roof were out of bounds to the public.

Not so!

Head on up, push open the swinging gate, and take a look!

The unique rooftop artwork is composed of colorfully painted skateboards. Appropriately titled Rolling It Forward, the installation was created in 2018 by local artist Jeremy Nuttall of Poway, California. The sculpture, according to a sign represents a boat and rolling waves made entirely of community-painted skateboard decks. It builds on the concept of “pay it forward,” and it required the support and involvement of the community…

The skateboards that compose Rolling It Forward have become weathered by several seasons of rain and sunshine. They are cracked and faded. They are rolling forward through time.

But the creative, often crazy images endure!

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Scenes from La Jolla Playhouse’s POP-UP WOW!

This evening I watched a stirring performance. I and many others enjoyed the La Jolla Playhouse’s POP-UP WOW event at Liberty Station.

What did I see?

I saw soulful singing and dancing that stems from a shared history of suffering and endurance.

I saw joy that rises from the heart–a triumph of the spirit.

I saw how bubbles are like aspects of life–and like life itself. Mysterious, beautiful, soaring . . . short-lived. A beginning and an ending. Like memories.

I, too, wondered why we have an impulse to chase bubbles.

I saw a fable about a giant who wanted power over everything.

Until he saw the beauty of bubbles and learned wisdom.

I saw individuals repeatedly asking “Can I?”

They make one clumsy attempt after another, slowly gaining ability, gaining confidence, until they venture out into this sometimes scary world.

Meeting others, overcoming their fear, the question becomes “Can WE?”

What I observed was life.

You can watch it tomorrow if you’d like, too. Click here to learn about the Sunday performances. It’s free!

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 sculptural monolith made for shady sitting.

During my visit to Liberty Station in Point Loma yesterday I noted several works of public art that I hadn’t seen before.

The one I liked best is titled Tessellation #1. It’s a sculptural monolith with a bench for sitting in the shade of magnolia trees. This beautiful work of art, made of hand-cast tessellated concrete and wood timber, was created in September 2019 by local artist Jason X. Lane.

Tessellation #1 was installed in Liberty Station’s ARTS DISTRICT by the NTC Foundation in partnership with the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. You can find it on the west side of the Dick Laub NTC Command Center building. (It’s located across from some sheltered seats where people are encouraged to interact with each other–more intriguing art brought to Liberty Station by Mingei that I blogged about here.)

I particularly love how Tessellation #1 fits within its surroundings. It’s like some sort of ancient throne or monument, discovered unexpectedly among living trees. To me the entire effect is strangely pleasing.

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!

Holiday art exhibition at Liberty Station!

Today is Christmas. Needing to breathe fresh air, I headed to Point Loma a little before noontime and enjoyed a walk through quiet Liberty Station.

A number of festive displays have been installed around both the North and South Promenades for the holidays. The outdoor exhibition is titled Salute the Season. Most of the artwork you see in my photos was created by artists whose studios occupy what used to be barracks of the old Naval Training Center San Diego.

Some of this artwork seems very loosely tied to the holiday season. But no matter. I enjoyed seeing the color, creativity and expression.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays From Liberty Station, by artist Nina Montejano. Plywood, acrylic, metal, varnish spray. A Christmas tree with ornaments depicting Liberty Station’s history as a former Naval Training Center.
Thrown Into the Clay, by artist Leah Shaperow. Pottery and acrylic paint. A hike into the canyons and natural areas in San Diego.
Celebrate, by artist Leslie Pierce. Acrylic mixed media. Includes a stylized Twiggy in a Santa hat and a surfer on a sled!
Together We Are, by Outside the Lens. Photography. Students express their unique voice.
Christmoss Wonderland, by Hakkai Aquascape Design Gallery. Preserved moss, Tom Barr’s Manzanita Wood, dragon stone, black mountain Seiryu stone, spider woods, sand, elephant skin stone, pebbles.
Bird on a Branch, Mingei International Museum, Jeremiah Maloney. Plywood, epoxy, LED lights, maple. Inspired by the quote: “It is one of the virtues of beauty that it has this power: to make one forget one’s self and so put an end to strife.”
Armistice – A Reflection on Peace, by artist Colleen Veltz. Tactile acrylic painting on plywood, wreath of olive leaves, plywood box pedestal benches.
Ornamental, by artist Amber Schnitzius. Stoneware clay, glaze. The colors of the holiday season, made out of many positive messages.
A Feminist Feast, by Women’s Museum of California, Duane McGregor. Computer graphics, mixed media. On a large banquet menu are feminist takes on traditional holiday dishes.
Peace Wreath, by artist June Rubin. Outdoor latex paint and metallic gold latex paint on wood. A wish for peace.
The Wishing Box, by artist Steffi Dotson. Plywood and glass. A small token of joy and hope for all who encounter it. There is light at the end of the cycle of darkness.

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!

Healthy air on the water.

Today I enjoyed a long walk from downtown San Diego to Liberty Station then back again. It felt so good to be near the water that I even took a short detour to visit Harbor Island.

Given the current coronavirus pandemic, I noticed an unusual number of people out on San Diego Bay, on paddle boards, in kayaks, breathing in the healthy fresh air. There’s a new local regulation that recently went into effect during the COVID-19 crisis. People are now allowed to recreate on the water. And those engaged in safe social distancing aren’t required to wear face coverings. They can fully enjoy San Diego’s watery paradise.

As I arrived at Liberty Station, I noticed many stand up paddleboarders embarking on a journey from the boat channel. They headed under the Nimitz and Harbor Drive bridges and into the sunlit marina behind Harbor Island.

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!

Public art at Liberty Station invites interaction.

Facetime is a site-specific public art piece that offers three separate spaces for both interaction and contemplation, while providing temporary shelter.
Facetime is a site-specific public art piece that offers three separate spaces for both interaction and contemplation, while providing temporary shelter.

Very cool new public art was installed at Liberty Station this summer. I saw it for the first time last weekend while I experienced the La Jolla Playhouse’s outdoor WOW festival.

The public art is titled Facetime. It was created by Ocean Beach artist Miki Iwasaki. Three angular sculptures made of corten steel contain seats, inviting face to face human interaction.

I watched a couple enter one shelter, promptly pull out phones and bow their heads.

At least they sat near one another.

Facetime on grass near walkways at Liberty Station.
Facetime on grass near walkways at Liberty Station.

Instead of speaking face to face, two people stare silently down at their phones.
Instead of speaking face to face, two people stare silently down at their phones.

Miki Iwasaki. Facetime. August 2019. Corten steel with seating elements. In partnership with Mingei International Museum.
Miki Iwasaki. Facetime. August 2019. Corten steel with seating elements. In partnership with Mingei International Museum.

Materials will patinate over time, enhancing the visible connection to natural forces and site context.
Materials will patinate over time, enhancing the visible connection to natural forces and site context.

Three can sit near each other in this shady sculpture and share an experience.
Three can sit near each other in this shady sculpture and share an experience.

Facetime is public art located in Liberty Station's ARTS DISTRICT.
Facetime is public art located in Liberty Station’s ARTS DISTRICT.

Cool public art invites human interaction.
Cool public art invites human interaction.

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!

Scenes from Without Walls Festival 2019!

This afternoon I headed to Liberty Station in Point Loma to experience some of the La Jolla Playhouse’s annual WOW event!

The Without Walls Festival 2019 features all sorts of cool outdoor performances, many of which are free for the public to enjoy. It continues tomorrow!

The first production I watched, titled Tall Tales of the High Seas, was a very unique visual drama that seemed part circus act, part aerial dance. The athletic performers raised the flexible masts of a rotating Viking longship, then climbed skyward to dip, fly and swerve through the sky! One could sense a bit of a story unfolding as the ship seemed to become lost at sea and the actors hung limp from the crow’s nests without hope; then land is sighted and excitement takes hold!

After that, I walked around the grassy North Promenade of Liberty Station, tried to peer into the intimate little Theatre on the Move, and stood for a few minutes enjoying the Montalban Quintet at the Festival Stage.

Then, as I made my way toward the South Promenade, I paused to watch kids sail in colorful Boats about Legacy Plaza!

Finally, a production titled Peregrinus was ready to begin. The actors marched across the street in a very businesslike way, as you can see in my photos.

At first each individual actor showed a unique personality, but as they put on their corporate attire, ordinary people were transformed into conforming, business suited employees. They could select their own color of tie, but no more.

The actors bowed before their enormous masks, inserted their heads, rose up in a row, and suddenly each head was identically serious, grim, tired and sad. They filed about in a circular hurry, did the corporate dance, bowed to their boss, became jackasses when commanded to do so, engaged in power plays and subterfuge–you know, all that ridiculous, demeaning stuff that pains the heart when people shed their dignity in their desire for power, position or money.

The act was hilarious!

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!

Third grade students create self-portrait quilts!

Last Tuesday I headed to Liberty Station to check out a cool exhibition at IDW’s Comic Art Gallery before the start of Comic-Con. I arrived half an hour before the gallery opened, so I moseyed around Liberty Station’s beautiful park-like setting.

I walked by the Visions Art Museum and poked my nose inside.

There I discovered something inspiring! One of the museum’s walls featured a display of small quilts made by third grade students who attend Perkins Elementary School in Barrio Logan. (About a year ago I photographed part of this school’s outdoor mural.)

Their teacher, who was sitting at the Vision Art Museum’s front desk, briefly told me her students, some of whom are homeless, were super excited to create this artwork. They drew the design first, then cut out pieces of colorful fabric, which they assembled into expressive self-portraits!

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!

History of IDW at San Diego Comic Art Gallery.

The San Diego Comic Art Gallery at Liberty Station in Point Loma has a current exhibition that might interest those who are attending 2019 Comic-Con. The History of IDW Publishing is now on display in the museum-like gallery, which is located inside of IDW’s San Diego-based corporate headquarters.

The exhibit describes the evolution of IDW and their popular artwork, from the company’s 1999 local inception in Pacific Beach to its very successful present day.

Visitors to the San Diego Comic Art Gallery can enjoy artwork from many diverse IDW projects, including art books like that of Ashley Wood; comic books like 30 Days Of Night, CSI, The Transformers, Star Trek, Locke & Key and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; reprinted material from The Library of American Comics; art magazines like Swallow; and IDW Games.

In addition, one section of IDW’s art gallery contains some of the amazing work of Justin “J-Po” Ponsor, a comic book artist born and raised in San Diego. It’s a fine tribute to a talented colorist who worked on many major series including Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers and Star Wars. He passed away two months ago.

For more information about the San Diego Comic Art Gallery, visit their website here.

The following photos are from the gallery’s wall that pays tribute to Justin Ponsor.

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!