Tiny books exhibit at Central Library!

You can fit a whole lot of tiny books, each less than two inches tall, in a display case! That what you’ll notice when you visit the Hervey Family Rare Book Room at San Diego’s Central Library.

One handy thing about a tiny book is you can easily carry it in your pocket.

On the other hand, a tiny book’s content must be very slight, or with print so small you’ll need superhuman eyesight. In fact, some of these very tiny books have been sold with a magnifying glass!

Looking at these amazing little creations, I wonder if a microscope would actually be necessary. According to one sign, a record set for the smallest book is the 3/16 inch by 7/32 inch The Rose Garden of Omar Khayyam.

Many of these unique books are created by bibliophiles and printing enthusiasts. Tiny books are also in demand as collectibles.

I must admit, before the advent of smartphones, The Midget Webster Dictionary (with 18,000 words) in my upcoming photo might have been useful. And tiny Tom Thumb might enjoy that book concerning his history!

The Central Library in downtown San Diego is home to more than 500 miniature books, all part of the Wangenheim Rare Book Collection.

Many of these books must be witty. Because, you know, brevity is the soul of…

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Famous artwork in an unexpected place!

Works of fine art by internationally renowned artists can be found in San Diego in one very unexpected place.

Amazing pieces by the likes of Donal Hord, William Hogarth, and Alfred Mitchell are displayed in the Special Collections Center at the downtown Central Library, and in its adjoining Hervey Family Rare Book Room!

I ventured up to the Central Library’s rooftop 9th floor yesterday and gazed briefly up at the building’s nearby dome and across San Diego’s South Bay. Then I stepped through the door of the Marilyn & Gene Marx Special Collections Center and was introduced by a friendly librarian to a few of the exhibits inside.

Above shelves in one corner hung half a dozen gorgeous paintings, including several by Alfred Mitchell, whose pieces I’ve also admired in fine art museums.

In the museum-like Rare Book room, display after display celebrated the history and work of diverse artists, printers and writers.

When I saw an absolutely incredible rosewood sculpture by Donal Hord, my mouth dropped open.

On another wall were several famous engravings by William Hogarth!

Westwind, Donal Hord, 1953. Rosewood.

Morning (from the series, The Four Times of the Day), William Hogarth, ca. 1822. Engraving and etching in black ink on buff paper.

Noon (from the series, The Four Times of the Day), William Hogarth, ca. 1822. Engraving and etching in black ink on buff paper.

Spring Fields, Alfred Mitchell, ca. 1929. Oil on board.

Autumn Sunshine, Alfred Mitchell, ca. 1924. Oil on canvas.

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SD Art Prize 2022 Exhibition at the Central Library.

The four recipients of the 2022 San Diego Art Prize–Alida Cervantes, Angélica Escoto, Carlos Castro Arias and Cognate Collective–now have pieces of their visual artwork on display in the 9th floor Art Gallery at downtown’s Central Library.

The four artists explore aspects of our region’s history and culture. Of course, today’s border culture has been greatly cross-pollinated by thousands of residents flowing daily to and from the United States and Mexico.

As you might expect in a contemporary exhibition of this type, there is infusion of political bias. But it’s a variety of viewpoints what makes free expression in art interesting and provocative.

I was fascinated to see how art that condemns the history of colonization is displayed next to art that celebrates the fusion and evolution of cultures. On either side of the San Diego/Tijuana border crossing, many of today’s traditions have influences that can be traced back to old Spain.

Walk among the gallery pieces and perhaps you’ll see the world in new and complex ways.

The exhibition opened over the weekend. It will continue through the end of 2022.

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!

Comic-Con exhibit at San Diego Library.

An exhibit at San Diego’s Central Library, on display during 2022 Comic-Con, traces the history of dime novels, pulp fiction, comics and graphic novels.

The fascinating display can be enjoyed on the Central Library’s 9th floor, in the Rare Books room containing their Special Collections.

Some important and rare works are on view, and descriptions provide insight into the history of each popular medium.

If you happen to be passing by the Central Library with its lattice metal dome during Comic-Con, head up the elevator to the rooftop! And go through the door you see in the next photograph!

If you’d like to view my coverage of Comic-Con so far, which includes hundreds of cool photographs, 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!

Echoes of Africa at San Diego Library.

The Central Library in downtown San Diego has a stimulating new exhibition in its Art Gallery on the 9th floor. Echoes of Africa opened last weekend.

Contemporary works by local African American artists are contrasted with African artifacts from San Diego Mesa College’s World Cultures Art collection, including objects that demonstrate the mastery of African artisans in metal, wood, ceramics, beadwork, and textiles.

One can see how the spirit and traditions of African ancestors live on, helping to guide the hands of inspired creators in our community.

As I wandered about the gallery, I was drawn to the abstract spray painted pieces by popular San Diego muralist and graffiti artist Maxx Moses. Traditional masks were translated into complex, colorful canvases full of symbolism. I was also stunned by some truly extraordinary wood artwork by Christopher Lloyd Tucker. Other talented artists in the exhibition are Andrea Chung, Angie Jennings, and Jermaine A. Williams.

Filling the gallery are dozens of fascinating pieces, accompanied by extensive descriptions, giving curious viewers an opportunity for contemplation and learning.

Additional objects from the extensive Mesa Colleges collection can be observed in glass display cases on the first floor of the Central Library.

The exhibition will continue through August 20, 2022.

Benin, 2022, Maxx Moses. Spray paint and acrylic on canvas.
Detelumo (Helmet Mask) of the Ejagham (Ekoi) People of Cross River, Nigeria. Wood, animal skin.
AGAIN, 2021, Christopher Lloyd Tucker. Padauk, wenge, rosewood, aromatic cedar, purple heart, walnut, maple, poplar and epoxy resin.
Bwoom (Helmet Mask) of the Kuba People of Democratic Republic of Congo. Wood.
Kuba Cloth of the Kuba People of Democratic Republic of Congo. Raffia fiber.
Ceremonial Dance Skirt of the Kuba People of Democratic Republic of Congo. Raffia fiber.

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!

Amazing views of downtown from atop Central Library!

Last weekend I was able to enjoy some amazing views of downtown San Diego. I took photographs from the 9th Floor of San Diego’s Central Library, looking west.

It isn’t often the library’s outdoor Woods Family Sunset View Terrace can be accessed. But a program was scheduled to begin at the Shiley Special Events Suite when I happened to be walking around, and the terrace was open to the public.

Wow! Nice view, huh?

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Books celebrated at Local Author Showcase!

The 56th Annual Local Author Showcase is presently on display at the San Diego Central Library!

Local writers whose work was published last year are being honored for their hard work and success. Every sort of book is included in the showcase: fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, children’s picture books, poetry, music, history, religion, politics, travel guides, self-improvement . . . you name it! And eBooks, too! The authors, young and old, come from every walk of life, and their words all combine to enrich our shared culture and understanding.

I see that in 2021 books came out about Balboa Park, Ted Leitner, Father Joe, and the Padres. And I see a fun book about a visit to the San Diego Library, too!

If you want to learn more about the City of San Diego’s Local Author Program, check out the web page concerning it here.

The Local Author Showcase can be viewed on the ground floor of the downtown Central Library through the end of February.

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!

Two fun sculptures at the Central Library!

Downtown San Diego’s Central Library is filled with all sorts of public artwork. Walk around the various floors with your eye on the walls and you’ll make frequent unexpected discoveries!

A couple weekends ago I was walking around the library’s 5th floor when I came upon two abstract sculptures by internationally renowned multimedia artist Italo Scanga. They are titled Music I and Music III. Both were created using oil paint, wood and found objects. And what appears to be symbolic imagery. Much of Scanga’s work incorporates elements of mythology.

Italo Scanga was born in Italy. He lived the later part of his life in San Diego. His pieces can be found in many museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Read a Wikipedia article about Italo Scanga here.

Both of these fun, very colorful sculptures, Music I and Music III, are in the City of San Diego Civic Art Collection.

Enjoy a few 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!

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!

A librarian’s Call to Serve in San Diego.

An inspiring exhibit now on display at the San Diego Central Library is titled Call to Serve: Clara E. Breed & The Japanese American Incarceration. It can be viewed through January 2022 in the Art Gallery on the downtown library’s Ninth Floor.

The exhibit recalls how San Diego librarian Clara E. Breed comforted and advocated for those American citizens of Japanese ancestry who were sent away to internment camps during World War II. She particularly helped and encouraged the children, with whom she kept in communication. Part of the exhibit includes many of her letters.

Clara Breed also fought against the censorship of books, and for a library collection that contained more international and multicultural material, that would speak to readers from diverse backgrounds.

I was touched by Clara’s compassion as I read many of the letters. She clearly had a love for the hundreds of children that she tirelessly championed. Anyone reading her words will be moved.

A replica of a barracks that was used to incarcerate Japanese-Americans during World War II can be viewed on the Central Library’s First Floor, near the main entrance. I blogged about it about a month ago here.

“Military necessity” was the justification for the removal of all persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast of the United States…On April 1, 1942, Civilian Exclusion Order No. 4 announced that all persons of Japanese ancestry were to report to Santa Fe Depot…Military guards supervised the transportation fo some 1,150 San Diegans to the Santa Anita Race Track…
“…When the children came to return their books and surrender their cards we gave them stamped postcards. Write to us. We’ll want to know where you are and how you are getting along, and we’ll send you some books to read.” –Clara E. Breed
…I am going to miss you a great deal, as you must know. You have been one of my restorers-of-faith in the human spirit. I know that you will keep your courage and humor in the weeks and days that lie ahead, no matter what they may bring…

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Replica WWII incarceration barrack at Central Library.

Just inside the entrance to the Central Library in downtown San Diego stands a life-size model barrack. It accurately replicates barracks that were used to incarcerate Japanese-Americans during World War II.

The model barrack was built by Frank Wada, who was sent to the Poston “Relocation Center” in Arizona, before being released to fight in the war. He was ultimately awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

In 1942 ten prison camps were built in the United States to incarcerate those with Japanese ancestry. About 120,000 people were imprisoned in these camps. The model barrack shows what life was like for those who were forced to live away from their homes, with little comfort or privacy.

An exhibit in the Central Library’s 9th floor Art Gallery, titled Call to Serve: Clara E. Breed and the Japanese American Incarceration, is on view through January 30, 2022. It documents how San Diego city librarian Clara Estelle Breed was an active opponent of Executive Order 9066, the internment policy instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt in February 1942.

On Saturday afternoon I rode the elevator up to the library’s rooftop to see the exhibition, but for some reason the Art Gallery was closed. I’ll try again in the future!

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!