Closed school’s last students create mosaic wall!

Want to see something extraordinary and inspirational?

I had arrived yesterday at the 19th century schoolhouse now utilized by the Encinitas Historical Society, when I noticed a colorful tile mosaic mural wrapped around their dumpster enclosure wall.

When I asked about it, I learned the mosaics had been created by students from nearby Pacific View Elementary in 2003–the year that modern public school shut down. The final class of students produced this amazing artwork!

By looking carefully one can see the initials of students and simple images that record the experiences and desires of youth. You can see a love for art, friends, kindness, the ocean, sunshine, Encinitas and their Pacific View Elementary.

What a fine, enduring way to record important things in life.

Like the historic old schoolhouse that stands near this wall, the work of optimistic people in the past will continue to brighten our future.

If you’re curious about the old schoolhouse, which is headquarters of the Encinitas Historical Society, I’ll be posting lots of photos in the next day or two.

The historic 1883 schoolhouse, now home of the Encinitas Historical Society, can be seen just beyond that dumpster lid. The now closed Pacific View Elementary School can be glimpsed in the distance beyond the umbrellas.

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Art at and near Hernandez Hideaway.

It seems Hernandez Hideaway has been serving Mexican food by the west shore of Lake Hodges forever. I know I went there as a child, even if I really don’t remember the experience. I do remember helping to inflate a small boat in the parking lot across the street back in middle school. My friend was really into bass fishing. (I even managed to catch a fish or two. When my red plastic worm didn’t snag.)

Before walking along the San Dieguito River Trail on Saturday, I checked out some colorful old artwork painted on the side of Hernandez Hideaway. Then I noticed a really cool “Del Dios” tile mosaic bench across Lake Drive at the North Shore Lake Hodges Trailhead.

I took photos…

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!

San Diego library mosaic: To Light the Way Within.

An extraordinary work of public art welcomes curious eyes in southeast San Diego.

To Light the Way Within is a colorful glass mosaic mural that greets visitors as they approach the front entrance of the Malcom X Branch Library and Performing Arts Center in Valencia Park. It was created by local artist Jean Cornwell Wheat in 1995.

Last weekend I captured photographs of the 40-foot outdoor entry wall mural, working my way from left to right. The complex imagery relates the story of human language–its history and evolution. Ancient drawings, pictographs and symbols seem to mix and dance forward together when you examine the mural closely.

According to what I’ve read, the mural, created in collaboration with another San Diego artist, Raul Guerrero, incorporates a lantern, a symbol of enlightenment that lights up when it becomes dark. I’ll have to check that out one evening.

Learn more about artist Jean Cornwell Wheat at her website here.

A few days ago I posted photographs of her truly remarkable “hidden” public sculpture Dragonfly Dreams. See that here.

Several years ago I also blogged about an African American fine art exhibition at the San Diego History Center. Check that out here and you’ll see one of Jean Cornwell Wheat’s canvases, along with other great works by renowned San Diego artists!

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An octagonal Chinese-Mexican building in La Mesa.

One of the most distinctive buildings in La Mesa can be found in MacArthur Park. The designated historic landmark, located at 4910 Memorial Drive, is called Porter Hall.

This small octagonal building, built by the Porter family in the late 1920’s, has an unusual tile roof that appears a little Chinese and a little Mexican. The roof’s exotic contours are explained by the fact that Henry and Elizabeth Chapin Porter had previously lived in China.

From 1932 to 1957 Porter Hall served as a San Diego County library.

Prior to 1974 the original octagonal structure stood on the other side of University Avenue. It was moved when the street was widened. Today the enlarged building is home of the Foothills Art Association.

When I walked past Porter Hall a couple weekends ago, I took these photographs. Some artwork could be seen from the sidewalk, including a beautiful mosaic bench with a colorful parrot. A plaque dedicates the bench to Katherine Faulconer.

You can learn more about La Mesa’s influential Porter family by reading page 5 of an old La Mesa Historical Society publication here.

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Stunning mosaic at North Island Credit Union.

A colorful, truly stunning mosaic greets visitors arriving at the North Island Credit Union building in Kearny Mesa!

The large circular mosaic in the entrance plaza was created in 2008 and is titled Icons of San Diego. It was designed by artist Wick Alexander and installed using the LithoMosaic process.

The artwork pays tribute to iconic sights in San Diego, including the Coronado Bay Bridge, Balboa Park’s California Tower, the Santa Fe Depot and the Hotel del Coronado. Kids make a sandcastle on the beach, a surfer rides a wave, and hot air balloons float overhead!

If you’d like to read about the making of this very fine public art, 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!

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!

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.)

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!

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.

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!

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!

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!

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.

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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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!

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!