Watermarks art at Mission Trails Regional Park.

Extraordinary public art can be found at one entrance to Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego. Titled Watermarks, the long, curving mosaic wall stands adjacent to the water pump station at Mission Gorge Road and Deerfield Street. Hikers proceeding through a gate in the beautiful wall find themselves on the Deerfield Crossing Trail.

Watermarks was created in 2000 by Lynn Susholtz and Aida Mancillas of artist collaborative Stone Paper Scissors. According to this page of the San Diego Civic Art Collection website: “Applied to the wall is a highly detailed mosaic of tile, indigenous rock and metal pieces etched sporadically with petroglyphs, text and animal tracks…(the wall) serves to illustrate the ecological, historical and cultural importance of the park and the San Diego River. Once used by the Kumeyaay Indian tribe and the Spanish missionaries, the San Diego River connects our histories, cultures and lives.”

I took these photographs on a gray day between winter showers.

I love how the blue tile mosaic river flows and meanders along the earthy wall. Native plants like mesquite, wild onion, yucca and sage appear like fossils on river stones, each labeled with both their English and Kumeyaay names. On the ground and bench, you can see how nature’s fallen leaves, and rain water collected in the sculpted animal tracks, imbue this amazing artwork with even more life.

Six miles downstream, in 1769, the Spanish established the Misión San Diego de Alcalá, creating the demand for a mission waterworks system which was continually modified from 1775 through the 1830’s. The Old Mission Dam, located at the top of the gorge, was constructed of local stone, clay deposits from the river, and a cement mortar mixture over a solid foundation of bedrock. The dam provided a reliable water source for crops and livestock brought in by the Spanish. The dam and subsequent aqueduct connection were fully operational for less than twenty years.

(If you’d like to see photos of a hike to the Old Mission Dam, click here.)

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An extraordinary Mercado del Barrio mural.

One of the most extraordinary pieces of public art in San Diego is small and seen by few. It’s located in Barrio Logan’s Mercado del Barrio, near the entrance to the Estrella Del Mercado Apartments.

The beautiful mosaic mural, made of sculpted clay tiles and found objects, was created by Betsy K. Schulz in 2012 with the help of Perkins Elementary students, whose written thoughts can be read in the roots of a tree.

I posted a photo of this mural (and various others) almost seven years ago here during a walk around the new Mercado del Barrio. When I walked past the mosaic a couple weeks ago, I was so struck by its beauty that I had to take these close up photos.

To learn more about this extraordinary mosaic mural, that “celebrates our community’s past and the children’s hopes for the future,” visit artist Betsy Schulz’s website here.

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More photos from a Solana Beach walk.

Enjoy these additional photographs from my walk last weekend in Solana Beach. These were taken along the west side of Highway 101, heading north from a spot just south of Plaza Street/Lomas Santa Fe Drive.

It appears some of this public art was the created for a City of Solana Beach Highway 101 beautification project in 2013.

If you recognize a couple of the incredible mosaics (the cool woodie and the fishes on a column), you might have seen my photos from a previous Solana Beach walk here. That old blog post also includes some interesting history of the city.

I love the next mosaic bench, and its beautifully creative symbolism.

LOVE ENDURES FOREVER

MIND OVER MATTER

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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History mosaics at Chase Bank in Pacific Beach.

Eight extraordinary mosaics decorate two sides of the Chase Bank at Mission Bay Drive and Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach. Six of the mosaics depict figures representing San Diego history; the other two show delightful scenes unique to our city.

This beautiful public artwork was the creation of Millard Owen Sheets, who in the mid-20th century designed Home Savings Bank branch buildings around Southern California. Sheets Studio in Claremont, California employed a team of artists that produced numerous amazing mosaics for the buildings, one of which Chase Bank now occupies. You can see another very fine example in Coronado, which I blogged about here.

These eight mosaics set in travertine were created in 1977. Like the mosaics that were created for other bank branches, they celebrate the local community’s unique heritage.

These mosaics–at least one–appear specifically to be the work of Sheets Studio artist Susan Hertel. The initial S.H. can be seen in the corner of the mosaic titled Children’s Zoo.

Mosaic depicting a Native American.
Mosaic depicting a Spanish explorer.
Mosaic depicting a Californio.
Mosaic depicting a frontiersman or 49er.
Mosaic depicting a tuna fisherman.
Mosaic depicting a construction worker or shipbuilder.
Mosaic titled The Harbor.
Mosaic titled Children’s Zoo.

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Colorful artwork at Golden Hill fire station!

I love this colorful, very unique public artwork near the entrance of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Station 11 in Golden Hill!

The title of this piece is Signifire. It was created in 1997 by San Diego artist Nina Karavasiles. For outdoor art that’s nearly a quarter century old, it still looks shiny and new!

Signifire, which depicts a fire hose coiled around brilliant flames, is composed of bronze, chrome and glass mosaic. At night the water blue hose nozzle lights up!

Nina Karavasiles has created a variety of other works around San Diego and Southern California. Six years ago I took photographs of her very cool “Recipe for Friendship” at Amici Park in Little Italy. See those photos 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!

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Pixelated Summer photo art in Mission Beach.

Very colorful public art decorates two sides of the Mission Beach boardwalk restrooms that are located just south of Belmont Park. These two photo montages on tile are titled Pixelated Summer. They were created by Southern California artists Sarah Lejeune and Angelo Camporaso in 2008.

Looking at this artwork is like tumbling through many bright kaleidoscope memories. There are bits and flashes from endless summers at the beach, combined with glimpses of the Belmont Park amusement park, its wooden Giant Dipper roller coaster and The Plunge indoor pool.

My first photos show this unique public art installation on the restroom’s north side.

The next two photos are of a nearby marker commemorating the one hundred year anniversary of Mission Beach. It was placed here during a centennial ceremony in 2014.

It’s worth a quick look..

Now we’ll take a look at the south side of the public restroom, where the other watery half of Pixelated Summer is installed…

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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Shelltown public art celebrates community.

In Shelltown, a community southeast of downtown San Diego and north of National City, you’ll find fantastic public art at Southcrest Trails Park.

As one walks through the neighborhood park, one comes upon a large mosaic-like disk that contains many expressive faces. The public art, made of concrete pavers and bronze set in a small plaza, is titled A Place to Call Home. It was created in 2018 by San Diego artists Ingram Ober and Marisol Rendón-Ober.

The faces represent residents of the community speaking four names associated with the site: Chollas Creek, Shelltown, Southcrest and Home. As one circles the plaza, many mouths appear to speak.

The plaque at the center includes the words: Home is a place that helps us define who we are, and although we may leave that place, it never leaves us.

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Mosaic artwork at Barrio Logan Fire Station!

Take a look at one of the most unique, fun and inspired pieces of public artwork in San Diego!

You can find it at Barrio Logan Fire Station #7 facing Cesar E. Chavez Parkway.

Students attending nearby Perkins Elementary School created this awesome tile mosaic artwork. A sculptural fire hose decorated with firefighting imagery spurts water on burning flames!

This was a project of Rebuilding Together San Diego back in 2005. See their website here.

The organization’s mission is: “Bringing our volunteers and the community together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners who are in need, and help revitalize neighborhoods throughout San Diego.”

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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Sayings, mosaics on Barrio Logan fountain.

I was walking up Cesar E. Chavez Parkway in Barrio Logan the other day when I decided to take a close look at the Mercado del Barrio fountain.

Look what I discovered!

Popular sayings in both English and Spanish, accompanied by tiny, colorful tile mosaics, are embedded around the edge of the brightly splashing fountain!

Birds of a feather flock together.
Birds of a feather flock together.
Pajaros de la misma pluma vuelan juntos.
Pajaros de la misma pluma vuelan juntos.
Behind every dark cloud is a silver lining.
Behind every dark cloud is a silver lining.
No hay mal que por bien no venga.
No hay mal que por bien no venga.
When one door closes another one opens.
When one door closes another one opens.
Cuando una puerta se cierra otra se abre.
Cuando una puerta se cierra otra se abre.
La vida no retoña.
La vida no retoña.
Love is repaid with love.
Love is repaid with 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!

Beautiful mosaics in Escondido sidewalk!

My Sunday walk along Grand Avenue in Escondido began at Centre City Parkway–the Mercado area across from the big Escondido landmark sign. Just as I started east down the sidewalk my eyes suddenly fell upon a gorgeous tile mosaic at my feet!

A quick exploration of the intersection and I found three more similar mosaics!

I’ve since learned that the four circular mosaics were created by local artist Tama Dumlao and installed in 2003. As you can see, they pay tribute to art, entertainment and shopping in Escondido’s historic downtown, and its Friday night Cruisin’ Grand tradition!

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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