Historical uniforms inspire a Fashion Redux!

Anyone in San Diego who is interested in history, fashion, or the evolution of fashion should visit the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

A new exhibit opened on Sunday titled Fashion Redux 2021. Collaborating with the History Center, inspired by four plain-looking late 19th to mid 20th century woman’s uniforms, students from Mesa College’s Fashion Program have designed similar but more contemporary clothing!

The four articles of clothing in the museum’s collection that were considered by the students are: a WWII Uniform, Navy Nurse Corps, c. 1940s; a ZLAC Rowing Uniform, c. 1895; a Girl Scout Uniform, c. 1919; and a Knights of Columbus Uniform, c. late 19th or early 20th century.

Just seeing those old uniforms in the San Diego History Center is interesting in itself, but to see how fashion design students have chosen to alter century-old styles provides a glimpse into the creative human mind, and perhaps a sense of our culture’s present day aesthetic tastes.

The exhibit allows visitors to compare the different clothing in detail, and learn about the talented students who are participating in this Fashion Redux.

Here is some of what you’ll see…

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!

Famous painting by Bruegel turns to chalk!

This afternoon a famous painting displayed in the Timken Museum of Art was turned to chalk! I witnessed part of the transformation myself, right in front of the museum in Balboa Park!

The Timken Museum’s summer weekend Creation Station event continued today. Part of the fun was a chalk art recreation of the 1557 painting Parable of the Sower, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Anybody walking through the Plaza de Panama could watch the chalk artist at work. If you want to compare the chalk art I photographed with the actual oil painting, click here!

The outdoor Creation Station’s amazing chalk art flows from the talented hands of @sidewalk_chalk_dad.

Unfortunately, I didn’t walk by after the artwork was completed. Use your imagination!

You can see another chalk art recreation of a painting in the Timken’s fine art collection by clicking here!

That smiling guy covered with chalk? The artist, of course!

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!

Art purchased by the city from artists during COVID-19.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, local artists were supported through a special initiative undertaken by the City of San Diego. The city purchased almost 100 works of art for the Civic Art Collection. The initiative was funded by a generous art lover and philanthropist.

An exhibition of this acquired artwork, titled SD PRACTICE, can now be viewed at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park, and at Bread & Salt in Logan Heights.

I visited the San Diego Art Institute on Sunday to view their pieces. I noticed some of the artists are widely known, including Hugo Crosthwaite and Mario Torero.

Contemporary art is often provocative: subversive, angry, skeptical, iconoclastic. But many of the pieces I saw conveyed mostly a feeling of loneliness. Which I suppose isn’t surprising. They were created during a pandemic–a time of forced social isolation.

One canvas shows an elderly woman alone at a table set with dinner and cold smartphones. Other works–often with political messages–show people trapped alone behind borders or squares or lattices of drawn lines, or wearing masks, or concealed beneath sheets, or in shadow.

One artist’s tintypes were created with random people on the street. The artist and strangers pose together as if they are family. But the tintypes are very dim like faded dreams. And the momentary “families” weren’t real.

In one piece, an isolating smartphone has been dropped to one side, and two people lean into each other for simple human warmth.

As I walked through the gallery, one plastic chair made to appear gleaming and precious seemed inviting. But it was only one chair.

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!

Inspiration at Timken Museum’s Creation Station!

A small but wonderful Creation Station can be enjoyed in front of the Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park this summer!

While the world-class art museum undergoes its renovation, people walking along the construction fence in the Plaza de Panama can linger at the Creation Station and be inspired!

This afternoon I paused for a bit to watch Erick Toussaint (@sidewalk_chalk_dad) work on amazing chalk art that recreates a piece in the Timken’s collection. Then I looked at the fun chalk drawings by kids and families that passed by earlier this beautiful Sunday!

Erick will be recreating some of the fine art museum’s great masterpieces every other weekend through August. Check out the museum’s page concerning the Creation Station here. On the other weekends, family’s will help design a huge outdoor mural!

Today Erick was working on reproducing Nicolas de Largillière’s elegant Portrait of Marguerite de Sève, Wife of Barthélemy-Jean-Claude Pupil, 1729. His work on the gold frame alone is stunning! As you can see, I took photos at various stages of progress during the afternoon.

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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Tape Art at the Japanese Friendship Garden!

I didn’t know tape art was a “thing” until I happened to walk into the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden this weekend. And what I discovered blew me away!

This unique exhibition, simply titled Tape Art, has been on display for some time now, so shame on me, as a JFG member, for not knowing about it!

The artist is Chiho Harazaki. She utilizes adhesive tape that is cut into fine shapes to create artwork that is detailed and quite amazing. I photographed a few of her pieces so you can get an idea of what you’ll see when you pay a visit.

Some of the works on display depict daily life in Japan. Some appear like colorful Hanafuda, a style of Japanese playing cards. A few of her works, including a piece that is quite large and striking, concern the horror of Hiroshima at the end of World War II, and make an appeal to the viewer for peace.

Should you visit Balboa Park before July 25, 2021, step into the Japanese Friendship Garden. That’s when the exhibition Tape Art concludes.

Then, after viewing this art, be sure to walk down into the Lower Garden. It’s one of the most beautiful places in 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!

Maritime Museum’s new exhibit of historical photos!

If you haven’t been to the Maritime Museum of San Diego for a long time, this summer would be a good time to go.

Now that most of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have been lifted, the museum is fully open. Fantastic exhibits are plentiful. And a completely new exhibit of historical photographs awaits your eyes inside the Gould Eddy Gallery!

This special exhibition is of The Nancy Dubois Collection of Historic Maritime Photographs. According to one sign: “In 2017 Nancy generously donated some 200 historic and artistic photographs of ships, boats, port scenes, harbors and coastline to the Maritime Museum of San Diego…” Featured are a good many of these vintage photos, which were taken all around the world, many over a century ago.

A few of the photographs have no record of what they depict, and visitors are asked to help the museum curator identify the locale!

If you’re world traveler, a history buff, love photography or have an interest in all things nautical, you really should feast your eyes on this extraordinary exhibit. Then check out the rest of the museum and its collection of world-famous ships!

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!

Surf history at Imperial Beach’s Outdoor Surfboard Museum.

One of San Diego’s most unique museums can be visited by strolling down Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach. The Imperial Beach Outdoor Surfboard Museum is open 24/7, and all visitors need to do is freely walk down the sidewalk!

A short distance from the beach, on either side of Palm Avenue from 3rd Street to Seacoast Drive, 25 different historic surfboard designs are displayed as life-size red metal sculptures, whose shapes cast sandblasted “shadows” across the sidewalk.

The date, material and shaper of each unique surfboard is detailed on circular plaques. Boards that are displayed date from the early days of Hawaiian surfing up to 1985. You can see how influential local surfers have been in surf history, as nine of the shapers hail from Imperial Beach and the San Diego region!

The Outdoor Surfboard Museum debuted in 2006 and is a fitting tribute to IB’s very cool surf culture. Walking along, you’ll see curvy little boards and you’ll see massive long boards–standing up to 16 feet tall! You’ll see how surfboard design has evolved over the years, as surfers have sought speed, control and a long, smooth, perfect ride.

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Memorial Day flowers in Balboa Park.

After my visit to La Mesa today, I found myself in Balboa Park for another Sunday afternoon walk.

I kept looking right and left for an indication that this is Memorial Day weekend. I had to go to the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center to find it.

Even though the museum was closed when I walked past, I noticed fresh flowers and a wreath had been placed at its outdoor San Diego Vietnam Veterans Peace Memorial.

Those who fought and died in that terrible war are still remembered.

If you’d like to see photos of an emotional Memorial Day ceremony that was held at the San Diego Peace Memorial four years ago, 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!

A visit to the Encinitas Historical Society schoolhouse.

A one-room schoolhouse stands on a hilltop in San Diego’s North County, a very short distance from the beautiful Pacific Ocean. The old schoolhouse is the home of the Encinitas Historical Society, and I paid a visit last Saturday.

The historic schoolhouse, built in 1883, is the oldest building in Encinitas.

While its outward appearance is modest, step through a door and you’ll find the schoolhouse is roomy and welcoming. The wood floors are original. The bright walls are alive with photographs depicting the history of both the schoolhouse and early Encinitas–the residents, town buildings and few landmarks.

In 1883, with the arrival of a family from England, the population of Encinitas swelled to a whopping twenty two. The newly arrived father (a cabinetmaker) and his seventeen-year-old son built the schoolhouse primarily from redwood.

Today, the museum-like schoolhouse contains student desks from the period, but I learned the very first desks, due to lack of funds, were actually irregular things made of cut tree limbs. Slate boards were used for writing and arithmetic. Children who attended the school in those early days of Encinitas came from farms. Some walked as far as two miles.

The history of the schoolhouse is a bit complicated. Over the years changes and additions were made to the structure . . . it was moved in 1928 and became a private residence for half a century . . . it was saved in 1983 by the Encinitas Historical Society and moved back to its original location . . . and finally, it was restored and in 1995 opened to the public.

Visitors who peruse the many photographs and descriptions decorating the schoolhouse walls will feel they’ve travelled back in time. And perhaps to another world.

After looking at many of the displays, I joined a small group that had gathered for a once-every-two-month historical walking tour of Encinitas. I will be blogging about that great tour shortly!

The following photographs are a little of what I saw outside and inside the schoolhouse. To learn much more about this special place, and to perhaps plan your own visit, please check out the Encinitas Historical Society website by clicking here!

I also learned they’d appreciate any donations!

A plaque displayed near the chalkboard is dedicated to the Encinitas Boathouses. One block south of the schoolhouse, two unique cottages that appear like boats can be seen during a walking tour offered by the Encinitas Historical Society.
Encinitas Schoolhouse Grades One through Eight. 1883.
Concrete Highway 101. Two lane road to Los Angeles. 1913.
A craft fair was being held outside the old Encinitas schoolhouse the Saturday I visited. Beyond the parked cars you can see nearby Pacific View Elementary, closed since 2003.
Alone, at the very top of the hill stands the small one-room schoolhouse. A little beyond the hill stretches the Pacific Ocean.

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!

UC San Diego student art exhibited in Balboa Park.

This weekend I stepped into the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park to view their current exhibition, which is titled Measurements of Progress.

Graduating students (and a couple of professors) from UC San Diego’s 2021 Masters of Fine Arts program have contributed artwork that primarily concerns the ongoing human struggle to achieve certain ideals, particularly peace, liberty, and justice.

Given how the subject matter is largely political, it’s not surprising that some of the student art is ideological and simple. I was drawn to other more subtle, mysterious works that encourage the viewer to look open-eyed at a complex world and inward with questioning wonder.

A couple of pieces I really loved are sculptures made of fabric. Touched by soft light, they seem to hang in space like organic abstractions, sinuous, fragile, evocative, full of memory. One contains poetry.

Another strange, thought-provoking work is a series of prostheses that explores the “limited and flawed nature of human perceptions and the manner in which bodies experience the world…”

Another piece explores the cosmos in the artist’s own body. I’m not exactly sure what the 3-channel video depicts–possibly dyed slides under a microscope–but watching the movement of living cells in our immensely complex selves can make one less political, more philosophical.

Measurements of Progress is well worth checking out if you love endlessly fascinating productions of human creativity–particularly contemporary art.

The exhibition is free and will continue at the San Diego Art Institute through May 30, 2021.

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!