Creating beautiful mosaics for Little Saigon!

Stunning public art is being created in the heart of San Diego’s Little Saigon!

Planters at the intersection of El Cajon Boulevard and Menlo Avenue are being decorated with bright, colorful mosaics. As you can see in the following photographs, which I took several days ago, the project is ongoing.

These beautiful mosaics are being assembled by City Heights artist Vicki Leon and the volunteer Azalea Park Mosaic League!

(You’ve seen their artwork elsewhere on my blog. Click here!)

The shining images I noticed on three different planters are of sunshine and water and radiant lotus flowers. The lotus is Vietnam’s national flower.

When I walked past the same intersection two years ago, one of these mosaic planters appeared to be finished. You can see it, a commemorative “The Little Saigon District” plaque, and other street art photographs that I took back then, here.

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Beautiful new stained glass panels in Vista!

Check out this amazing new public artwork!

Many additional stained glass panels have appeared in Vista along South Santa Fe Avenue in the past couple years.

It was the summer of 2020 when I last explored the Paseo Santa Fe street improvement project and found an early set of panels along the sidewalk. (You can see those photographs and learn a little more about the project here.)

The panels are numerous now. They show various aspects of life in Vista, California. Many of the small scenes depict local plants or agriculture.

To the best of my knowledge, the artist creating all of these beautiful mosaics is still Buddy Smith.

Given the direction of my walk last weekend, I probably didn’t find every finished panel. But I hope you enjoy looking at these…

UPDATE!

I’ve learned from Buddy, the artist, that there are now 28 finished panels! Super cool!

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!

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The stunning Ocean Nomads mural in Barrio Logan!

If you haven’t yet seen the Ocean Nomads mural in Barrio Logan, you’ll be surprised at the stunning beauty of this public artwork!

The three dimensional mosaic was created in 2013 by the Rainforest Art Project, with the help of young students from nearby Perkins Elementary School and Our Lady’s School. Hand-cut stained glass pieces glisten in sunlight, depicting a school of tuna swimming in the blue ocean off our coast.

The Rainforest Art Project, based in San Diego, works with schools in our region to create amazing works of art. Such as this!

Ocean Nomads can be found a few steps south of the outdoor fountain at Mercado del Barrio. Walk around a bit and you’ll find it!

If you want to see more great artwork by the Rainforest Art Project, check out their patriotic mosaic in La Mesa here. Or see the gorgeous art decorating their headquarters on National Avenue here. (In that old blog post I had labeled their building Farallon Design, which I believe might have been a previous occupant.)

It’s quite possible I’ve photographed more of their work around San Diego without realizing it!

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!

Beautiful fountain at Herrick Community Health Library.

A beautiful fountain invites meditation near the entrance to the Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library in La Mesa. I discovered it by pure chance while walking in La Mesa last weekend.

And, to my surprise, I learned the fountain, topped by a sculpture, is by none other than James Hubbell, whose mosaics also grace nearby Briercrest Park!

This public art in the Community Health Library’s outdoor courtyard is titled Moving Circles (O’s on the plaque). Water runs from the sculpture, then drips down from rugged stonework into a blue basin, where a watery mosaic ripples in the sunlight.

Moving Circles is dated 2002. I was told this particular project by renowned artist James Hubbell was separate from his work at Briercrest Park.

If you’d like to see those nearby park mosaics, which are also amazing, I took photographs of them, too. I posted those pics 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!

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!

Nature’s beauty and Hubbell art at Briercrest Park.

One of San Diego’s most beautiful community parks is located in La Mesa. It’s called Briercrest Park.

I toured Briercrest Park yesterday during the 2022 San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Open House event.

The winding paths I walked along were shiny wet from a recent rain. The grass was green. The air was fresh, the sun peeking out from behind clouds. Surrounding nature smelled so good. I felt at peace.

I soon learned that feeling was by design.

Our tour group gathered by an amazing mosaic labyrinth created by renowned local artist James Hubbell. His architect son, Drew, was on hand to tell us about the Hubbell created public art around the park. Glen of Schmidt Design Group, the landscape architect who designed the park some 20 years ago, was also there.

Well, you can see in my upcoming photos what an extraordinary place this is.

I’ll let my photo captions explain some of what I learned.

Walking into the park by one pathway from Wakarusa Street.

The above map near one entrance contains information about Briercrest Park, which was designed to emphasize the “healing and restorative values of green park space in an urban environment.”

The site, originally a reservoir, features a central wetland where water runoff collects. Turf mounds radiate outward from the watery center, like expanding ripples. Gentle bridges add a scenic touch. Native drought tolerant plants and trees are lush, providing refuge for the spirit.

Kids are encouraged to meander about, explore the fun playground, art and nature. Who knows what they might discover?

This butterfly glass mosaic was assembled by Emilie Ledieu, one of the artists in residence at James Hubbell’s Ilan-Lael Foundation, located near Santa Ysabel, California, in the mountains east of San Diego.
One plaque on a park bench. Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often…
Many benches in the park were designed to accommodate people in wheelchairs.
An herb garden, maintained by a local gardening club, provides a sensory experience. I smelled sage.
The playground has numerous fun elements, including these critters.
Path by the central wetlands, with lots of greenery and boulders and stone benches for meditation.
An area of open grass. The unique restrooms are in the distance.
Hubbell mosaics can be found on three sides of the beautiful structure, said to be the only park restrooms in San Diego with stained glass!
Organic mosaic above and around drinking fountains appear a bit like a watery landscape.
Mosaic on one side. The vertical blue lines are like cascading water.
The other side. The flowing mosaic almost seems to have the shape of a heron.
Stained glass window seen from inside the men’s restroom, made with durable resin.
Tiles around another small garden space created by local school children.
The very beautiful Hubbell labyrinth. One begins at water, passes through space, and arrives at the bright flaming center.
Tables set up for the Open House tour visitors. That’s Emilie the artist in red. People could help build two small mosaics!
One of the small example mosaics in progress.
A smile!
This looks like a very cool book concerning the history of this neighborhood. La Mesa’s Severin Grossmont Hills and Vicinity.
We have gathered near the labyrinth for a talk at the beginning of the tour. Look at that sunlight in trees.
That’s Glen Schmidt on the left and Drew Hubbell on the right, standing near a small climbing structure.
Glen, the friendly landscape architect, explains concepts behind Briercrest Park’s creation.
We look at one concept image board. Emphasized are accessibility, the senses, nature, serenity, and even music! I didn’t photograph it, but one area is equipped with outdoor chimes and other musical instruments to freely play.
Drew Hubbell leads the way.
We stroll through a very beautiful park.

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!

A park designed for healing in La Mesa.

Briercrest Park in La Mesa was designed for healing.

The tranquil, beautiful park is located adjacent to the Herrick Community Health Library, and near many medical office buildings in La Mesa, not to mention Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

Briercrest Park, at 9001 Wakarusa Street, was purposely designed to be wheelchair friendly. Paths winding beneath shady sycamores and oaks lead to benches that accommodate those in wheelchairs. A special stone alcove, which you can see in my photographs, was specially constructed for this purpose.

It has been demonstrated that being outside in nature promotes healing. I know that, for me, fresh air and sunshine produces a greater sense of well-being.

Nature was an important element in the design of this park. There are flowers, gentle bridges over still water, and ample opportunity for easy exploration or quiet meditation. There is also stunning public artwork at every turn.

A mosaic butterfly at one entrance symbolizes transformation and renewal. It’s placement on the pathway was intentional. The butterfly along with other park mosaics (including a gorgeous labyrinth) were designed by renowned artist James Hubbell, along with his award-winning architect son, Drew.

I learned all of this today as I toured the park during the 2022 San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Open House event. My next blog post will detail what I learned about the amazing mosaics, plus other unique aspects of Briercrest Park.

If I lived nearby, I would walk through this park often. To help soothe my small day-to-day hurts. To feel whole.

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!

Healthy food, art and books in National City!

Healthy food, art and books are easily accessible to residents in National City’s Old Town neighborhood. Take a look!

During my incredible tour around National City last month, Patty Corona of Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center showed me how positive changes have come to a community that has been historically underserved.

Many liquor stores in National City now offer fresh fruits and vegetables, thanks to students at San Diego State University who operate nonprofit BrightSide Produce Distribution. National City residents who rely on fast food restaurants, or who have difficulty traveling to distant supermarkets, are able to purchase fresh produce within several blocks of their home. The availability of fruits and vegetables at many corner liquor stores has made it easier for lower-income residents to find healthy, nutritious food.

In the case of Big B Market & Deli in National City’s Old Town neighborhood, not only are fresh veges available, but a whole lot of inspiring art has been installed around the building! Mosaics on planters and walls and a very colorful mural were all created with the help of A Reason To Survive (ARTS), an organization in National City that uplifts and inspires at-risk youth.

And there’s a cheerful little free library box outside the store that promotes literacy, too!

At the corner of 16th Street and Coolidge Avenue, many good things are in reach for body, mind and soul!

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!

Another colorful mosaic wall in National City!

Colorful mosaic art can be found all around Kimball Park in National City. I spotted this wall covered with cheerful mosaics during one of my recent adventures in the South Bay.

The low wall, on the north side of Kimball Park, is filled with bright, beautiful trees and houses and animals and musical notes. The designs are fashioned from tiles, bits of ceramic and glass. I believe it was another project of A Reason To Survive (ARTS) whose building rises just a few steps to the north.

The lighting wasn’t ideal with alternating bright sunlight and shadow, and the artwork appeared dulled by time and weather, so I’ve altered my photographs slightly, in an attempt to make the colors more vibrant.

You can check out several other amazing mosaics in the immediate area by clicking here or here or 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!

Building a mountain at Grand Canyons of La Jolla!

A second Mount Soledad is coming to La Jolla!

The small mountain will rise from The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla, in a plaza filled with educational artwork at Kellogg Park.

I learned about this wonderful project on Saturday during my walk along the La Jolla Shores beach boardwalk.

The sculpture will depict canyons running from Mount Soledad down deep into the Pacific Ocean. Those visiting The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla Educational Plaza will be able to visualize in three dimensions what is shown in two dimensions in the large, colorful mosaic at their feet.

The Grand Canyons of La Jolla project is the work of the Walter Munk Foundation For the Oceans, which is responsible for the The Map mosaic in the plaza, plus signs and another nearby sculpture.

The Map mosaic is the plaza’s extraordinary centerpiece. It beautifully represents the local shoreline and underwater canyons in the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve.

Lines drawn in The Map concern ocean wave dynamics, calculated by Walter Munk, a world-renowned scientist who worked and taught for many years at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Over a hundred sea creatures also appear in the mosaic.

Signs at one edge of The Map detail the birds, fish and other marine life one might see above or below the water off La Jolla. A second completed sculpture, near the place where the small Mount Soledad will appear, concerns the Kumeyaay in the coastal region. It also shows intertidal sea life, cast in bronze.

Should you walk down the boardwalk (honorary Walter Munk Way) at La Jolla Shores beach, make sure to visit The Map. And watch for the coming of a second small Mount Soledad!

Walter Munk developed ocean wave prediction theory.

To learn more about Walter Munk’s scientific contribution during World War II, his groundbreaking work at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, his worldwide recognition, and why surfers love him, click here.

To watch a Walter Munk Foundation video concerning The Map click here.

Read an article about the mosaic’s debut in 2020 (replacing an earlier “map” at this location) by clicking 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!

Shorelines mosaics at La Jolla Shores Lifeguard Station.

Perceptive people strolling down the boardwalk at La Jolla Shores beach might encounter something both unexpected and wonderful.

Decorating the north and south sides of the La Jolla Shores Lifeguard Station are colorful tile mosaic panels that depict the sun and sea. The public art is titled Shorelines.

Shorelines was installed in 2012, and was created by award-winning San Diego artist Mary Lynn Dominguez.

I really like this beachy artwork! It’s swirly and bubbly and captures the mood of the nearby beach. Looking at the panels is like glimpsing a bright, abstract world through horizonal windows.

You can learn more about Shorelines, which is part of San Diego’s Civic Art Collection, here!

At the front of the lifeguard station, facing the boardwalk, I also noticed a plaque. It remembers Ron Trenton.

The plaque is a bit corroded, as you can see in my photograph. It reads:

RON TRENTON

1945-1997

Gentleman, Scholar, Humorist, Friend, Lifeguard Extraordinare [sic]

“LOST AT SEA”

Now Comes the Lifeguard, Back to the Sea, Where He Found Action, Where He Found Peace, Where He Saved Others With Selfless Devotion and Where He Risked All With a Smile of Emotion

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!