A legacy honored at Mission Bay.

A plaque by the Mission Bay boardwalk honors the legacy of a man who was an inspiration to many.

Ken “SAWMAN” Sawyer III is remembered as one who lived life to the fullest and left us a legacy of laughter, love and compassion…

I noticed this memorial plaque last weekend while walking near the boat rental dock of the San Diego Mission Bay Resort.

May we all be remembered for having such a positive influence.

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!

Ocean Beach memorial to Shoeshine Willie.

A memorial to a beloved Ocean Beach man now appears on the small building where he repaired and polished shoes for decades. William L. Washington “Shoeshine Willie” passed away early this year. The memorial contains two short poems written by Aaron Bryant.

Years ago I remember seeing Shoeshine Willie working in his modest shed next a parking lot and Ocean Beach bus stop. At the time I thought it was unusual for a shoeshiner to be active in a day and age when the profession has all but disappeared. I now wish I had spoken to him.

If you’d like to see this touching memorial, head over to the corner of Newport Avenue and Cable Street. I noticed it during my last walk in OB.

Here’s an article concerning William Washington and what he meant to the community.

…He was Ocean Beach’s bright Shining light…He’s still here in spirit…

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!

Pandemic art: Paintings from the Confinement.

The COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for all of us. Tragically, many would not live through it.

We all remember the long days of uncertainty, fear, loneliness, forced isolation.

If you head to Balboa Park today, you need to stop by the San Diego Museum of Art to experience Paintings from the Confinement. Today is the final day of this emotionally moving exhibition.

I viewed the small egg tempera paintings, created by San Diego artist Marianela de la Hoz, at the urging of my museum docent friend Catherine.

The images are symbolic, spare, often grim. There is darkness. There are claustrophobic spaces. There is flat human life on small cold screens. But there are a few rays of hope beyond the confining walls. Thank goodness those walls have now mostly come down.

The artist found it hard to honestly paint her many feelings. In particular, it was very hard to portray death.

In her statement, Marianela de la Hoz explains the only treasures I have are my loved ones, family, friends, and art; everything else remained as non-essential.

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!

Celebrating life at the 2022 Transplant Games!

A big celebration of life is taking place this week in San Diego. People from around the United States have gathered at the San Diego Convention Center for the 2022 Transplant Games!

Organ transplant recipients and living donors are participating in a variety of fun sports competitions. As you can see in the above photograph, cycling 5 km and 20 km road races along Harbor Drive were part of today’s activities!

Through this Wednesday, the public is welcome to visit the Transplant Games Village and Expo, located in Exhibit Halls A and B at the convention center. There you can watch some indoor competitions, such as basketball and table tennis. For a schedule of events, click here.

Many organizations that help those in the transplant community are also present.

I met authors who’ve written books describing the whole transplant process, making it all easier to understand. Other creators have produced videos featuring loved ones who were helped, or who helped to save a life by making an organ donation.

I saw organizations that create online community, gather inspirational stories, or offer practical guidance and mental health services. Medical providers and pharmaceutical companies also had tables. All of these smiling people were there to offer critical help.

Near the entrance to the Transplant Games Village and Expo, several beautiful quilts remembered loved one.

Everywhere I turned, I observed people full of happiness, gratitude and hope, and a strengthened love of life.

I came away feeling inspired.

Smiles from The Mended Hearts. The non-profit works to inspire hope and improve the quality of life of heart patients and their families through ongoing peer-to-peer support, education, and advocacy.

Robert Horsey has written the book Gifted and is producing a video concerning the complex topic of organ donation. According to his website: Even the largest football stadium in the U.S. could not fit the number of people on the national transplant waiting list.

Many transplant stories pinned to a board, courtesy Balboa Nephrology and Evergreen Nephrology.

Author Brenda Cortez is a living kidney donor. She has written a series of Howl the Owl books making transplant and medical procedures less scary for kids.

The Joe 238 documentary celebrates the decision to donate. According to the website: Through multiple stories of grief and recovery, we learn about healthy grieving, what it means to be a donor family and plant the seed for an honest conversation about organ donation every family needs to have.

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!

Transplant Games come to San Diego!

The 2022 Transplant Games are being held this week in San Diego!

A big parade was held for participants this morning along Harbor Drive. (Which I just missed!)

This evening the Opening Ceremony will be held at the San Diego Convention Center.

As their website explains: Every two years the Transplant Games of America gathers together thousands of transplant recipients, living donors, donor families, individuals on the waiting list, caregivers, transplant professionals, supporters and spectators for the world’s largest celebration of life.

Transplant recipients and donors will compete in many different sporting events through this Wednesday. Most of the competition will be at the Convention Center. It will also be the location of the Transplant Games of America Village, and according to the Schedule of Events, the public is welcome!

I think I’ll go tomorrow. I’d like to watch a bicycling competition that will be held Sunday morning at Embarcadero Marina Park South, just behind the Convention Center.

Would you like to become involved–perhaps by becoming an organ donor yourself? Check out the 2022 Transplant Games web page 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!

Encountering life up close at MOPA.

An extremely powerful exhibition of portrait photography is now on view at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.

Encounter: Photographs by Jed Fielding features numerous street portraits that make you feel the strangers you see have somehow become your friends. Because that’s the very personal way Jed Fielding approaches his subjects.

The photographs are full of life, smiles, eye contact, playfulness, emotion, sincerity, vulnerability, pride, sadness, freedom. Kids at play in Naples, Italy are pleased to stop for a moment and shyly grin. A mixture of more subtle emotions appear openly in the faces of those who’ve grown older.

I was particularly moved by photos Jed Fielding took of blind children in Mexico City. As his camera shutter clicked, small hands were doing their own seeing. In one photograph fingers reached up to feel the lens.

In those portraits of blind children, more than the others, not a soul wears a mask. Every expression is unaffected, absolutely genuine.

It’s an authentic connection between people that makes these photos so powerful. So alive.

Encounter: Photographs by Jed Fielding is on display at MOPA through September 25, 2022.

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!

Loving life at the 2022 Escondido Street Festival!

A huge crowd turned out today for the 2022 Escondido Street Festival along Grand Avenue!

After a two years’ absence during the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual event in downtown Escondido is back bigger and better than ever!

In addition to numerous vendors lining several blocks of Grand Avenue, I observed a fun art show, tons of food, and multiple stages featuring diverse entertainment. I listened to both rock and roll and mariachi music! I saw colorful baile folklórico dancing!

Folks working to improve the Escondido community were also out greeting people. That first photo is of a smile from Love Esco, an organization that cares for neighbors through simple acts of kindness and tangible means of love.

A also got a smile from the Escondido Education Foundation, but I declined their offer of a free Escondido poster. (I got enough stuff already!) The foundation is a community driven fundraising organization which provides funding for essential resources, and programs that empower teachers, inspire learning, and promote innovation and academic excellence in EUSD.

Also, thanks to the Helen’s Book Mark used bookstore for the amazing deal on half a dozen books! If you haven’t seen their cool mural on the back side of the store, click 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!

Life, death, joy and pessimism in La Jolla.

Art is often a stir of moods and strange contradictions, like life itself.

I saw this complexity during a fun visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla. A major exhibit in the recently reopened, beautifully renovated museum concerns the often experimental artwork of world-renowned artist Niki de Saint Phalle, who spent her last years living in La Jolla. The exhibition is titled Niki de Saint Phalle in the 1960s. It will be on view through July 17, 2022.

As I walked around several spacious gallery spaces, observing the artist’s sensuous sculptures, and fantastic drawings, and paintings created by shooting guns, I saw joyful, fertile, exuberant life displayed side-by-side with bleak, shattered, debris-filled pessimism. It seemed that positivity was associated with female experience, negativity with modernity. As if the two are absolutely separate.

Niki de Saint Phalle’s female sculpture Nanas dance everywhere one turns, bursting with life. Her large Tirs, or performance art “shooting paintings,” looked to my eye like dead junkyards: rigid, punctured, streaked, drained.

As I gazed at the various artworks, whose elements often seem primordial or mythical, I wondered how seemingly opposed ideas could tangle in the mind of an artist–how paint and gunshots could so easily coexist. Oh, wait. Life and death is the prime subject of art.

Go visit this amazing exhibition of rampant creativity and form your own conclusions!

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!

Cool photo memories from May 2017.

It’s May already? Seriously? Memorial Day is only four weeks away?

It’s going to be be summer before we know it!

Looks like it’s time to revisit a few cool San Diego sights that I photographed five years ago!

Back in May 2017, I took photos of interesting places all over San Diego, but I’ve decided to share just half a dozen old blog posts.

Why did I select these? Because they still feel powerful.

Click the following links to go back five years in time…

Legendary Mariachi Leader Oscar Amezcua in Balboa Park!

Photos of Tony Gwynn statue at Lake Poway.

Photos inside America’s most haunted Whaley House!

Colorful photos from 2017 Fiesta Botanica!

The fantastic art of Richard Deacon in San Diego!

Memorial Day at The Veterans Museum in Balboa Park.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

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Poetry transcends perception at Liberty Station.

One seldom observes public art that features poetry. It’s even more rare when the poems are composed by people who are frequently ignored.

Transcending Perception is public art that debuted in Liberty Station back in October, 2020. I hadn’t seen this installation until last weekend, when I walked down a pathway on the east side of THE LOT movie theater.

The images of Transcending Perception, according to the nearby information sign, “were created in a series of workshops that combined theater, poetry, and photography with the intention of ‘returning the gaze’ on both current and historical representations of those who are often excluded or misrepresented in the dominant media…”

This artwork was created by Josemar Gonzalez/Diana Cervera/The AjA Project.

Should you visit Liberty Station in Point Loma, you might want to read these potent words and consider what they mean and why they were written.

We all lead unique lives, with our own experiences and assumptions. It’s enlightening to put yourself in another’s shoes.

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!