Art and architecture at La Jolla’s Athenaeum.

The southwest corner of the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library in La Jolla.
The southwest corner of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla.

Visit the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla and you’ll find yourself moving through a warm, polished, light-infused world where beautiful dreams are sustained. Last weekend I stepped through the library’s doors and was amazed by what I discovered.

The Athenaeum is home to a large, regionally important collection of books and media concerning music and art, and a permanent collection of artwork. It is a repository for beauty that is timeless. The library is refined and welcoming, like a fine museum.

Each quiet room is a refuge for the contemplative mind. And a richly furnished temple for the heart. And a universe brimming with inspiration and creativity to nourish the human spirit.

The Athenaeum is one of only 16 nonprofit membership libraries in the United States. As you might imagine, it has a very unique history.

In 1894 a group of six women came together to create the La Jolla Reading Club. Five years later a cottage-like Reading Room was built at the corner of Wall Street and Girard Avenue. The most notable founding member, the first president of the Library Association of La Jolla, was wealthy newspaper publisher, philanthropist and La Jolla resident Ellen Browning Scripps.

In 1921 a larger Spanish Renaissance-style building replaced the Reading Room. The elegant new structure was designed by famous architect William Templeton Johnson, who also designed the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. Much of the funding for the new building came from Scripps. Kate Sessions, the horticulturist often referred to as the Mother of Balboa Park, planted an outside garden.

In 1957 the library opened the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room with its striking rotunda, designed by artist and architect William Lumpkins.

In subsequent years additional expansions were made, which allowed for the founding of the Athenaeum’s School of the Arts. Today the expansive library hosts art exhibitions, galas and musical concerts throughout the year.

How does one describe the rare beauty of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library?

Here are a few photos…

Posted at the corner of Wall Street and Girard Avenue are many cultural events hosted by the Athenaeum.
Posted at the corner of Wall Street and Girard Avenue are many cultural events hosted by the Athenaeum.
Plaque in Memory of Florence Sawyer Bransby, who purchased this corner lot in 1895 and on it built La Jolla's First Library, The Reading Room.
Plaque in Memory of Florence Sawyer Bransby, who purchased this corner lot in 1895 and on it built La Jolla’s First Library, The Reading Room.
People walk along Girard Avenue beside the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library.
People walk along Girard Avenue beside the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library.
Banner by window of the library building designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Banner by window of the library building designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Photo of the library's iconic rotunda, designed by William Lumpkins.
Photo of the library’s iconic rotunda, designed by William Lumpkins.
Bronze artwork near the Athenaeum's rotunda. Young Girl Holding Book by Merrell Gage, 1925.
Bronze artwork near the Athenaeum’s rotunda. Young Girl Holding Book by Merrell Gage, 1925.
Approaching the entrance to the Athenaeum.
Approaching the entrance to the Athenaeum.
A library cart full of books entices passersby.
A library cart full of books entices passersby.
By the front door is a plaque. This library built and furnished through the generosity of Ellen Browning Scripps.
By the front door is a plaque. This library built and furnished through the generosity of Ellen Browning Scripps.
Inside the beautiful, welcoming Athenaeum. Gazing east at shelves and windows.
Inside the beautiful, welcoming Athenaeum. Gazing east at shelves and windows.
Gazing west toward the the Joseph Clayes III Gallery.
Gazing west toward the the Joseph Clayes III Gallery.
When I visited the Athenaeum, I enjoyed an art exhibition in the Joseph Clayes III Gallery titled Music in the Key of Blue.
When I visited the Athenaeum, I enjoyed an art exhibition in the Joseph Clayes III Gallery titled Music in the Key of Blue.
As I walked about the library, I spotted many works in the Athenaeum's permanent art collection.
As I walked about the library, I spotted many works in the Athenaeum’s permanent art collection.
10 Items or Less, 1974, Kim MacConnel. Gouache on paper.
10 Items or Less, 1974, Kim MacConnel. Gouache on paper.
Sheet music collage by Alexis Smith, 1997, used for Athenaeum music program covers 2015/2016.
Sheet music collage by Alexis Smith, 1997, used for Athenaeum music program covers 2015/2016.
The Athenaeum, 2004, Derek Boshier. Hand-colored silkscreen print. Patron Gift.
The Athenaeum, 2004, Derek Boshier. Hand-colored silkscreen print. Patron Gift.
Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 2002, Raul Guerrero. Ink and collage on paper. Patron Gift.
Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 2002, Raul Guerrero. Ink and collage on paper. Patron Gift.
Gazing into the North Reading Room, which features Athenaeum’s Erika and Fred Torri Arists’ Books Collection.
Gazing into the North Reading Room, which features Athenaeum’s Erika and Fred Torri Arists’ Books Collection.
An exquisite bouquet of flowers by one bright window.
An exquisite bouquet of flowers by one bright window.
In Loving Memory - Ernest (Ernie) Silva 1948-2014. Trumpet Player and Light House, 2004. Ink on paper.
In Loving Memory – Ernest (Ernie) Silva 1948-2014. Trumpet Player and Light House, 2004. Ink on paper.
Untitled (Baby, It's cold Outside), 1999, Italo Scanga. Mixed media.
Untitled (Baby, It’s cold Outside), 1999, Italo Scanga. Mixed media.
Artwork on wall near the School of the Arts entrance.
Artwork on wall near the School of the Arts entrance.
I was told these pieces were all painted by teachers at the Athenaeum School of the Arts.
I was told these pieces were all painted by teachers at the Athenaeum School of the Arts.
Walking beside the Children's section of the Athenaeum.
Walking beside the Children’s section of the Athenaeum.
Linnea doll on shelf by the book Linnea in Monet's Garden.
Linnea doll on shelf by the book Linnea in Monet’s Garden.
Erika on the Portico of the Athenaeum, 2010, Grace Matthews. Tempera on paper.
Erika on the Portico of the Athenaeum, 2010, Grace Matthews. Tempera on paper.
Houseplant, Monstera Deliciosa, by artist Jean Lowe. Alkyd and acrylic on papier mache.
Houseplant, Monstera Deliciosa, by artist Jean Lowe. Alkyd and acrylic on papier mache.
Devil With a Blue Dress On, by currently exhibiting artist Jim Machacek.
Devil With a Blue Dress On, by currently exhibiting artist Jim Machacek.
Oh Grid, 2019, Sibyl Rubottom. Etching on linen with sashiko. One of many textile pieces by the artist currently on exhibit in the Rotunda Gallery.
Oh Grid, 2019, Sibyl Rubottom. Etching on linen with sashiko. One of many textile pieces by the artist currently on exhibit in the Rotunda Gallery.
Gazing toward the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room.
Gazing toward the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room.
Library of Music small plaque on drawer.
Library of Music small plaque on drawer.
More beauty on display inside the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room.
More beauty on display inside the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room.
A perfect place to read and think inside the sunlight-filled rotunda.
A perfect place to read and think inside the sunlight-filled rotunda.
Shelves with newspapers and magazines.
Shelves with newspapers and magazines.
Tantra Indigo, 2019, Sibyl Rubottom. Accordion book.
Tantra Indigo, 2019, Sibyl Rubottom. Accordion book.
Music breathes what Poet cannot write.
Music breathes what Poet cannot write.

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Art exhibition interprets Music in the Key of Blue.

Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue, inside the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library's Joseph Clayes III Gallery
Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue, inside the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library’s beautiful Joseph Clayes III Gallery.

A fantastic exhibition of work by San Diego artist Jim Machacek has recently opened at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. Yesterday I headed to La Jolla to have a “listen” with my eyes.

The abstract pieces of Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue are arranged inside the library’s Joseph Clayes III Gallery.

According to the Athenaeum’s description, the exhibition “reflects Jim’s recurring interest in the concept of making music visual. Using his favorite media of printmaking, drawing, collage, and watercolor, he hopes to make YOU see what HE sees when listening to music. He chose favorite musical selections that have the word blue in the titles from a wide variety of musical genres, including classical, jazz, blues, country, rock, folk, and standards.”

Among these emotionally evocative pieces you’ll find a unique visual interpretation of George Gershwin’s timeless Rhapsody in Blue. Seventy mixed-media prints cascade like living notes of music across the north and east walls of the sunlit gallery. Walk along these walls and you’ll feel like you’re moving in rhythm with a beloved American classic.

After you absorb this great art, take a leisurely stroll through the unique and historic Athenaeum. You’ll discover even more art in unexpected corners, and rooms overflowing with beauty wherever you turn.

Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue can be enjoyed at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library through May 4, 2019.

The architecturally handsome Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is freely open to the public in La Jolla. It's a popular venue for art exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events.
The architecturally handsome Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is freely open to the public in La Jolla. It’s a popular venue for art exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events.
Sunlight filters through windows and shines on wood inside the Athenaeum's spacious Joseph Clayes III Gallery.
Sunlight filters through windows and shines on wood inside the Athenaeum’s spacious Joseph Clayes III Gallery.
Blue Wave, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Wave was a 1984 song by Eddy Grant, best known for his hit Electric Avenue.
Blue Wave, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Wave was a 1984 song by Eddy Grant, best known for his hit Electric Avenue.

Blueberry Hill, 2018, Jim Machacek. The popular hit song by Fats Domino, recorded in 1956, became a rock and roll standard.
Blueberry Hill, 2018, Jim Machacek. The popular hit song by Fats Domino, recorded in 1956, became a rock and roll standard.

Blue Cathedral, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Cathedral is a 1999 orchestral piece by American composer Jennifer Higdon, written in memory of her younger brother.
Blue Cathedral, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Cathedral is a 1999 orchestral piece by American composer Jennifer Higdon, written in memory of her deceased younger brother.
Lavender Blue, 2019, Jim Machacek. Lavender Blue is an English folk song and nursery rhyme dating from the 17th century.
Lavender Blue, 2019, Jim Machacek. Lavender Blue is an English folk song and nursery rhyme dating from the 17th century.
These mysterious, moody pieces interpreting Rhapsody in Blue are like notes of sheet music flowing across a wall.
These complex, moody pieces interpreting Rhapsody in Blue are like notes of sheet music flowing across a wall.
Fill your eyes with music.
Fill your eyes with music.

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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Photos of the colorful 2019 Mariachi Festival!

Ready for some super colorful photos?

In past years, the National City Chamber of Commerce’s amazing Annual International Mariachi Festival and Competition has been held in Pepper Park. You might remember my photographs in 2016 and 2017. For this year, 2019, the event was held in Chula Vista’s spacious Bayside Park!

I love the whirling colors of Mexican ballet folklórico dancing, and the soaring, unabashed joy of mariachi music, so today I had to go again!

I took photos of anything and everything!

Enjoy!

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!

Japanese music, pottery in Balboa Park.

Today I walked into the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park just in time to listen to a wonderful small concert.

I seemed to drift into a living dream as I listened to extraordinarily beautiful music played on the traditional Japanese koto and shakuhachi. The musicians, Kyoko Takeda and Jon Crick, talked about the pieces they performed, and the instruments they played.

I heard flowing streams, and the wind, and deer calling, and raindrops, and notes rising and falling, and echoing mysteries, and perhaps even a whisper of the essence of life.

After the concert, I walked about the Exhibit Hall and enjoyed looking at the current exhibition, which is titled Tradition and Beyond. Five talented San Diego potters have used traditional Japanese ceramic techniques to create organic pieces. I saw a flowing, easy, natural beauty, spun carefully from the human spirit, much like music.

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!

To read a few stories I’ve written, visit Short Stories by Richard.

Fun photos of 2018 Holiday Bowl Parade!

The Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade headed down Harbor Drive the morning of New Year's Eve. Chilly, drizzly weather couldn't stop the America's Largest Balloon Parade!
The 2018 Holiday Bowl Parade headed down Harbor Drive the morning of New Year’s Eve. Chilly, drizzly weather couldn’t stop America’s Largest Balloon Parade!

It might’ve been a bit more chilly and breezy than usual for San Diego this New Year’s Eve morning, but the 2018 Holiday Bowl Parade was just as fun as ever!

The Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade, which proceeded down Harbor Drive along the Embarcadero, is billed as America’s Largest Balloon Parade. This year the parade featured the two college football teams that are competing in the 2018 Holiday Bowl: Northwestern University and the University of Utah. The big bowl game is kicking off right as I post these photographs!

Without further ado, here we go!

Before the Holiday Bowl Parade began, three cool old biplanes made a fly-by. Trailing smoke is a 1941 Boeing Stearman; the other two are Great Lakes.
Before the Holiday Bowl Parade began, three cool old biplanes made a fly-by. Trailing smoke is a 1941 Boeing Stearman; the other two are Great Lakes.
The Solar Turbines 5K run begins down Harbor Drive shortly before the parade.
The Solar Turbines 5K run begins down Harbor Drive shortly before the parade.
Northwestern University and University of Utah fans wore their colors up and down the parade route.
Northwestern University and University of Utah fans wore their colors up and down the parade route.
Barricades are moved as the Holiday Bowl Parade is ready to begin!
Barricades are moved as the Holiday Bowl Parade is ready to begin!
First up is WorldStrides on Stage. They will perform the halftime show at the Holiday Bowl football game in the afternoon.
First up is WorldStrides on Stage. They will perform the halftime show at the Holiday Bowl football game in the afternoon.
Another super fun Holiday Bowl Parade has begun!
Another super fun Holiday Bowl Parade has begun!
The San Diego Harbor Police Honor Guard helps to lead things off.
The San Diego Harbor Police Honor Guard helps to lead things off.
Here comes Marine Band San Diego.
Here comes Marine Band San Diego.
The first balloon is cheerful Cheri the Octopus!
The first balloon is cheerful Cheri the Octopus!
And here comes Carter the Sea Turtle!
And here comes Carter the Sea Turtle!
San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts waves from the Wonderfront float. San Diego's waterfront is indeed full of wonders!
San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts waves from the Wonderfront float. San Diego’s waterfront is indeed full of wonders!
I wish I'd gotten a better pic of this funny group: The World-Famous Lawn Rangers! Their routine is so absurd you have to laugh out loud!
I wish I’d gotten a better pic of this funny group: The World-Famous Lawn Rangers! Their synchronized routine is so absurd you have to laugh out loud!
Here come the Shawnee Mission North Marching Indians from Overland Park, Kansas.
Here come the Shawnee Mission North Marching Indians from Overland Park, Kansas.
Pageantry and marching bands make any parade exciting!
Pageantry and marching bands make any parade exciting!
That big balloon swimming under the clouds is Louie the Blue Whale!
That big balloon swimming under the clouds is Louie the Blue Whale!
And now I see good old Garfield! He's giving somebody the thumbs up.
And now I see good old Garfield! He’s giving somebody the thumbs up.
These are the Norris High School Marching Titans from Firth, Nebraska!
These are the Norris High School Marching Titans from Firth, Nebraska!
Next up is the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Next up is the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
Bob the Builder has either lost his balance or the breezy weather had gotten the better of the balloon's handlers!
Bob the Builder has either lost his balance or the breezy weather had gotten the better of the balloon’s handlers!
Herencia Hispana comes down Harbor Drive wearing elaborate dresses and folk costumes!
Herencia Hispana comes down Harbor Drive wearing elaborate dresses and folk costumes!
Beautifully swirling Mexican dresses delight the eye.
Beautifully swirling Mexican dresses delight the eye.
Chinelos dancers were viewed with astonishment by many in the audience. It's an unusual Mexican tradition popular in the state of Morelos.
Chinelos dancers were viewed with astonishment by many in the audience. It’s an unusual Mexican tradition popular in the state of Morelos.
Danza del los Diablos. Looks like devilish fun!
Danza del los Diablos. Looks like devilish fun!
Another marching band! This one comes from Palo Verde Valley High School.
Another marching band! This one comes from Palo Verde Valley High School.
Go Padres!
Go Padres!
That's one gigantic, happy Gingerbread Man! (Any relation to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man?)
That’s one gigantic, very happy Gingerbread Man! (Any relation to the friendly Stay Puft Marshmallow Man?)
Many in the audience suddenly became excited. Who is that approaching?
Many in the audience suddenly became excited. Who is that approaching?
Here comes Northwestern University, one of the teams in the 2018 Holiday Bowl!
Here comes Northwestern University, one of the teams in the 2018 Holiday Bowl!
Banners twirl proudly!
Banners twirl proudly!
Members of the Northwestern University Wildcat Marching Band thunder past!
Members of the Northwestern University Wildcat Marching Band thunder past!
Willie the Northwestern mascot is up on the purple and white float with some cheerleaders!
Willie the Northwestern mascot is up on the purple and white float with some cheerleaders!
That's one mighty big football!
That’s one mighty big football!
Members of Sports for Exceptional Athletes demonstrate their skill during the parade.
Members of Sports for Exceptional Athletes demonstrate their skill during the parade.
Look! Here comes the University of Utah!
Look! Here comes the University of Utah!
The Utes also had a big contingent in the Holiday Bowl Parade.
The Utes also had a big contingent in the Holiday Bowl Parade.
Swoop, the Utah mascot had a bit of trouble donning that Santa hat!
Swoop, the Utah mascot had a bit of trouble donning that Santa hat!
The red and white Utah Utes float with smiling cheer squad passes by.
The red and white Utah Utes float with smiling cheer squad passes by.
The University of Utah Marching Utes all appear to be having a great time.
The University of Utah Marching Utes all appear to be having a great time.
More college football pageantry.
More college football pageantry.
Goodness! Here come even more balloons down Harbor Drive!
Goodness! Here come even more balloons down Harbor Drive!
It's Hog Heaven!
It’s Hog Heaven!
There's no need to fear, Underdog is here!
There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here! (My favorite.)
And here is the Deer Valley High School Marching Band!
And here is the Deer Valley High School Marching Band!
Snowman is either tipping backward in the breezy weather or gradually melting.
Snowman is either tipping backward in the breezy weather or gradually melting.
The San Diego State University Marching Aztecs precede Nicholas the Nutcracker!
The San Diego State University Marching Aztecs precede Nicholas the Nutcracker!
SDSU, a local university with a great sports history, marches with pride through downtown San Diego.
SDSU, a local university with a great sports history, marches with pride through downtown San Diego.
The San Diego Star Wars Society is always a sure hit with young and old alike in any parade!
The San Diego Star Wars Society is always a sure hit with young and old alike in any parade!
Darth Vader says hello to someone watching the cool parade.
Darth Vader says hello to someone watching the cool parade!
A tiny TIE fighter and tiny Star Wars characters!
A tiny TIE fighter and tiny Star Wars characters!
Fantasy from the past follows fantasy from the future. It's Merlin the Wizard!
Medieval fantasy follows futuristic fantasy. It’s Merlin the Wizard!
Even more fun balloons! I see a San Diego Zoo Panda!
Even more fun balloons! I see a San Diego Zoo Panda!
It's the beloved Very Hungry Caterpillar!
It’s the beloved Very Hungry Caterpillar!
It's Mother Goose. (She must be taking a break from her big annual parade out in El Cajon.)
It’s Mother Goose. (She must be taking a break from her big annual parade out in El Cajon.)
More pageantry and excitement. It's the Green Valley Marching Band.
More pageantry and excitement. It’s the Green Valley Marching Band!
Yikes! Here comes the scariest Holiday Bowl Parade balloon of them all! Tessa the T-Rex!
Yikes! Here comes the scariest Holiday Bowl Parade balloon of them all! Tessa the T-Rex!
U.S. Naval Sea Cadets march past and receive many waves.
U.S. Naval Sea Cadets march past and receive many waves.
The parade program calls this balloon entry Saxophone. It sure is a big one, though!
The parade program calls this balloon entry Saxophone. It sure is a big one, though!
The Bobcat Marching Band came to San Diego from Western Dubuque High School.
The Bobcat Marching Band came to San Diego from Western Dubuque High School.
During a break in the parade I turned my camera toward San Diego Bay and captured the nearby Star of India.
During a break in the parade I turned my camera toward San Diego Bay and captured the nearby Star of India.
From the world's oldest active sailing ship to a space shuttle! This particular balloon Space Shuttle was taxiing down Harbor Drive on wheels!
From the world’s oldest active sailing ship to a space shuttle! This particular balloon Space Shuttle was taxiing down Harbor Drive on tiny wheels!
You know these guys simply had to be in the parade. It's the Al Bahr Shrine and their Tin Lizzies.
You know these guys simply had to be in the parade. It’s the Al Bahr Shrine and their Tin Lizzies.
Here come some Al Bahr Clowns.
Here come some Al Bahr Clowns.
I had fun! Did you?
I had fun! Did you?

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!

Photos of Holiday Bowl bands at battle!

Tomorrow evening, on New Year’s Eve, the Northwestern Wildcats play the Utah Utes in the 2018 Holiday Bowl.

Late this morning the team marching bands, cheerleading squads and mascots battled each other! And every combatant sported a great big smile!

A good crowd of college football fans enjoyed the annual Battle of the Bands on the sunny outdoor Marina Terrace of San Diego’s Marriott Marquis.

I arrived just before the show began…

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!

Fun art at Crown Point Junior Music Academy!

Cool sun in sunglasses with a big SMILE.
A sun in cool sunglasses has a big SMILE!

Check out this super fun art on Ingraham Street in Pacific Beach!

Two electrical boxes have been painted next to Crown Point Junior Music Academy. Looks to me like it’s the work of students…

Earth is in our hands.
Earth is in our hands.
Crown Point Space Camp
Crown Point Space Camp
A happy mermaid plays an underwater horn!
A happy mermaid plays an underwater horn!
...there comes a day, when you're gonna look around, and realize happiness is where you are...
…there comes a day, when you’re gonna look around, and realize happiness is where you are…
We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine...
We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine…
A cool octopus kid plays drums. Crown Point Rocks!
A cool octopus kid plays drums. Crown Point Rocks!

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!