Stones painted with love, optimism, dreams.

Paint a rock. Leave it here.
Paint a rock. Leave it here.

My walk around Cardiff-by-the-Sea today included a very short stretch of the Cardiff Rail Trail. I walked north from where this popular bike and pedestrian trail crosses Chesterfield Drive, just west of San Elijo Avenue.

As I walked I noticed what first appeared to be many small smooth stones spilled to one side of the path. Upon closer inspection, I discovered a treasure trove of colorful gems!

Scattered on dead leaves I found brightly painted butterflies and hearts. I read words expressing love and optimism. I saw painted dreams.

It appears these precious jewels were created by many generous hands.

Dream and smile.
Dream and smile.

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!

Girl Scouts work to make a better community!

Believe.
Believe.

Today I enjoyed a tour of a fantastic outdoor mural exhibition in San Ysidro. It was the highlight of my day. I’ll blog about that shortly.

Earlier in the afternoon, I walked a little around the neighborhood and found myself looking at some creative artwork on a fence at the San Ysidro Community Center. I’d stumbled upon the Gold Award project of two local Girl Scouts!

According to a sign on the fence, in 2018 Orian Martinez restored the community center’s outdoor playground, and Sofia Perez-Valles created the Utopia Mural on the surrounding fence, embellishing it with positive messages.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has closed the San Ysidro Community Center and its outdoor area for many months now, so if things look a bit weathered and ragged, you can understand why. But the positive efforts and messages endure.

The actions and leadership of these two Girl Scouts have indeed made the world (and their community) a better place!

Utopia Mural.
Utopia Mural.
Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.
Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.
Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.
Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.
Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.
Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.
Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.
Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.
Courage.
Courage.
More colorful butterflies.
More colorful butterflies.
Action Changes Things.
Action Changes Things.
The future has many names...
The future has many names. For the fearful, the unknown. For the weak, the unreachable. For the brave, an opportunity.
Action is the foundational...
Action is the foundational…
...skill to all success.
…skill to all success.
Fall seven times and get up eight.
Fall seven times and get up eight.
If you do what you've always done, you'll get where you've always gone.
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll arrive where you’ve always gone.
Changes bring opportunity.
Changes bring opportunity.

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!

Unsung hero is a bright light in City Heights!

Volunteers for a community clean-up gather in City Heights for the Global Day of Caring.
Volunteers for a community clean-up gather in City Heights for the Global Day of Caring.

I’m honored to know an unsung hero in City Heights. Carlos Quezada, co-founder of Love City Heights, has been named by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez an Unsung Hero for the 80th Assembly District!

Carlos has been working diligently for years to celebrate and revitalize the diverse east San Diego neighborhood of City Heights. He’s the driving force behind the “drive-through art gallery” on University Avenue between I-805 and I-15 that I’ve blogged about for a couple of years now.

Carlos has brought many great artists and muralists together with school students and community businesses and organizations to paint a picture in City Heights of a bright now and even brighter future. It’s amazing how one positive, energetic person can have a tremendous impact on their community!

And you know what true unselfishness is? I was going to take Carlos’ photo once and he modestly rebuffed my attempt. The only photograph of Carlos that I’ve posted until now is the one you see above. See the guy in the very back wearing a Love City Heights T-shirt? That’s him!

Congratulations to Carlos Quezada!

Yet another mural is being painted today, and I’m about to head out my door to see it!

UPDATE!

I finally got a photo of Carlos! That’s him on the left. To the right is Melody De Los Cobos, the Artistic Director of Love City Heights. She’s a super cool artist who is well known in the local arts community!

Carlos Quezada and Melody De Los Cobos of Love City Heights.
Carlos Quezada and Melody De Los Cobos of Love City Heights.

Messages of love, optimism in La Mesa.

Love is the solution.
Love is the solution.

This weekend I walked a little around La Mesa. I hadn’t been out that way since January of last year.

My heart was warmed to see many messages of love and optimism decorating the chain link fence surrounding property that was destroyed during the late May riot, which was fueled by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis that same month.

The community–mostly young people–produced idealistic artwork full of hope. I saw the heartfelt desire for equality, peace, understanding, and the end of racism. Love and kindness were in most of the messages.

The result of arson during a riot in La Mesa, California.
The result of arson during a riot in La Mesa, California.

Unity in the community.
Unity in the community.

Positive messages of love and equality on a fence in La Mesa.
Positive messages of love and equality on a fence in La Mesa.

Paintings donated by Pink Rose Cafe with support of the La Mesa community.
Paintings donated by Pink Rose Cafe with support of the La Mesa community.

Love sees no color. End racism.
Love sees no color. End racism.

Hopeful images painted by a young person.
Hopeful images painted by a young person.

We are all under the same sun.
We are all under the same sun.

All we need is love.
All we need is love.

Strong. Hope. Heartbeat. Heartfelt.
Strong. Hope. Heartbeat. Heartfelt.

A wise quote about improving the world from Dr. Seuss.
A wise quote about improving the world from Dr. Seuss.

Step into the daylight.
Step into the daylight.

Be positive.
Be positive.

Let us embrace all the colors.
Let us embrace all the colors.

Artwork along the fence represents the optimism of La Mesa residents.
Artwork along the fence represents the optimism of La Mesa residents.

Together friends.
Together friends.

La Mesa kids stand for change, unity, hope, love.
La Mesa kids stand for change, unity, hope, love.

There can be miracles when you believe. Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill.
There can be miracles when you believe. Though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill.

What I'm looking for is not out there, it is in me.
What I’m looking for is not out there, it is in me.

Do justice. Walk humbly.
Do justice. Walk humbly.

We're in this together.
We’re in this together.

A hopeful vision.
A hopeful vision.

Fight for what's right.
Fight for what’s right.

Be kind.
Be kind.

More heartfelt sentiments along the fence.
More heartfelt sentiments along the fence.

Be you. Shine bright.
Be you. Shine bright.

Be the change.
Be the change.

Love and respect for your neighbor.
Love and respect for your neighbor.

We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.
We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.

Listen.
Listen.

Grow through what you go through.
Grow through what you go through.

Love one another.
Love one another.

Fine artwork full of humanity.
Fine artwork full of humanity.

Make the world a better place.
Make the world a better place.

Love wins.
Love wins.

Peace and love. Love will win.
Peace and love. Love will win.

When you focus on good, the good gets better.
When you focus on good, the good gets better.

Shine like stars.
Shine like stars.

Wisdom from Martin Luther King, Jr. Hate cannot drive out hate--only love can.
Wisdom from Martin Luther King, Jr. Hate cannot drive out hate–only love can.

Love not hate makes America great.
Love not hate makes America great.

Peace. Love. Hope.
Peace. Love. Hope.

Believe there is good.
Believe there is good.

Kindness is the sunshine in which everything and everyone can grow.
Kindness is the sunshine in which everything and everyone can grow.

Kindness matters.
Kindness matters.

All black lives matter.
All black lives matter.

The dove of peace.
The dove of peace.

Love. United we stand.
Love. United we stand.

Love grows here.
Love grows 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!

Mario Torero and team restore Civil Rights mural!

A team of local artists works to restore the Civil Rights mural at 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue in San Diego.
A team of local artists works to restore the Civil Rights mural at 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue in San Diego.

Today I headed down to 32nd Street and Imperial Avenue to see the work being done to restore an important mural by internationally recognized muralist Mario Torero. When I arrived several local artists were gathering for the day’s work, and shortly thereafter an energetic Mario Torero himself showed up!

I first posted photos of this Civil Rights mural two years ago here. You can see how it had become faded over many years. Unfortunately, since then the mural had been defaced. If you want to learn more about the history of the mural, check out my old blog post.

The restoration has been ongoing for a couple weeks now, and the Imperial Avenue side of the long mural is nearly finished. There’s still the other side on 32nd Street to finish, and once plans are made work will begin there.

The local artists helping Mario Torero are called the Southeast Art Team. The growing team includes young people who love creating art. The Southeast Art Team has garnered a lot of media attention with this project and are already planning to restore additional murals around San Diego. But they need your help!

Please visit the GoFundMe page of the Mural Restoration Project San Diego by clicking here and help them out!

I learned that a new push is underway to not only restore many old murals, but to create new ones, too! Positive people never cease working to make the world better!

Do you want to be part of this? To pitch in, click here!

Internationally known muralist Mario Torero talks to local artists before commencing work restoring portions of his mural.
Internationally known muralist Mario Torero talks to local artists before commencing work restoring portions of his mural.

A colorful mural depicting Civil Rights icons is lovingly restored by its creator Mario Torero, and other local artists!
A colorful mural depicting Civil Rights icons is lovingly restored by its creator Mario Torero, and other local artists!

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!

Creativity and optimism in City Heights!

This afternoon I walked down University Avenue between I-805 and I-15. I’d learned a new mural is being painted in the City Heights’ outdoor “drive-through” art gallery!

Award-winning artist Sandra Escobar is painting a new mural on the wall of Super Cocina this weekend, and when I arrived the design had been sketched on a base of white paint. As I watched her helper working on the wall, the artist told me that tomorrow she’ll be applying color. I promised to swing by to check the new mural out!

Meanwhile, during my walk I discovered even more creativity along the sidewalk. Love City Heights has been working to add color and a sense of optimism to the community, and artwork now appears almost everywhere one turns. Even some boarded up windows have come alive!

I photographed several works of art that I hadn’t seen on past walks…

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 on boarded up windows downtown.

Rise above.
Rise above.

Many windows are boarded up in downtown San Diego against the possibility of more looting and destruction. This moment in history is tumultuous, uncertain.

As I walked through the city this morning I noticed that many of the boards have been spray painted by street artists. I was happy to discover that most of the artwork conveys positive, powerful messages.

Celebrating life, renewal, love.

Butterflies take flight.
Butterflies take flight.

Peace in the heart.
Peace in the heart.

San Diego vida.
San Diego vida.

A flowery Volkswagen Hippie Van recalls the 1960's.
A flowery Volkswagen Hippie Van recalls the 1960’s.

Black is beautiful.
Black is beautiful.

Unity through inspiration.
Unity through inspiration.

A heart is possible with hands of all colors.
A heart is possible with hands of all colors.

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!

And still I rise.

The pace of construction in downtown San Diego hasn’t appeared to lag during the coronavirus pandemic. The city grows and grows.

Even in times that seem dark, a human urge to press forward does not die.

I took these few photographs during my walk this morning.

And still I rise…

And still I rise.
And still I rise.

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!

More signs expressing unity and thankfulness.

We are all in this together.
We are all in this together.

In San Diego we are proceeding with the gradual reopening of society as the coronavirus pandemic seems to slowly subside. Today restaurants were allowed to open for dining. Strict guidelines must be followed such as maintaining super sanitary conditions and safe social distancing.

Some say the reopening of society is proceeding too quickly; others say not quickly enough. But the future is a tricky thing to predict. There are so many variables. So many different risks. All I know is that at some point we’ll look back and see what actions in the final analysis were most wise. And our knowledge will increase.

On another hopeful note, during my walks in the past couple weeks I’ve observed more signs around town celebrating unity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other signs express thankfulness to essential workers. You’ll see that one billboard I photographed about a week ago concerning restaurants now seems dated, but no matter.

That so many people have demonstrated an urge to stay positive during this terrible crisis seems a good sign for the future of humanity in general.

At least, it appears that way to me. I’m an optimist.

San Diego strong.
San Diego strong.

To restaurants still delivering meals, thank you.
To restaurants still delivering meals, thank you.

Thanks transit driver heroes.
Thanks (transit driver) heroes.

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!

Inspirational street art in North Park!

This is tough but so are you.
This is tough but so are you.

Need a little hope and optimism during this difficult time?

Check out all this inspirational street art I discovered today during my walk through North Park!

I found positive artwork painted on an electrical box, hopeful chalk art on the sidewalk, and two cool murals (first and last photos) by PANDR Design Co., the folks who created the popular “SMILE, You’re in San Diego” mural downtown! (You can see that mural and learn more about the artists here!)

You are a radiant beam of light and capable of so much good.
You are a radiant beam of light and capable of so much good.

You got this.
You got this.

Some happy, positive street art in North Park.
Some happy, positive street art in North Park.

Breathe. You are loved.
Breathe. You are loved.

I know it's hard now but it will get better.
I know it’s hard now but it will get better.

Better day ahead.
Better days ahead.

We'll get through it together.
We’ll get through it together.

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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