New public art coming to Balboa Park previewed!

Monumental public art is now being created for the Palisades area of Balboa Park!

Once completed, a pair of life-size grizzly bear sculptures will be placed on the roof of the 1935 California State Building, home of the San Diego Automotive Museum. In addition, a large 12′ x 20′ cold cast bronze panel is destined to greet visitors approaching the front entrance of the 1935 Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries, which today serves as the Municipal Gymnasium.

The two buildings were constructed for the 1935-1936 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.

In 2021, almost a century later, both building exteriors, with the help of local architect Robert Thiele, are undergoing a historic restoration.

Today I was privileged to have an amazing preview!

Take a look at these photographs of a model grizzly bear standing in an indoor work area at Bellagio Precast. The bear, symbol of California, was created by San Diego sculptor Michael Matson and his son Kevin.

As you can see, the huge golden grizzly is ready to be completely cast.

A rendering shows how completed bear sculptures will be positioned atop the two front corners of the San Diego Automotive Museum, overlooking Pan American Plaza, with its proposed Singing Color Fountains.

The large bronze panel to be placed above the front entrance of the Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries building will soon be created out in the yard of Bellagio Precast. Some blocks of ornamentation meant to surround the panel are already finished.

The panel’s design is based on the original 1935 bas-relief designed by Arturo Eneim that was carved out of layers of fragile wallboard.

Imagery in the panel includes an electrical power plant and the gears of industrial machinery. During the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition, crowds marveled at the latest technological inventions. Inside the Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries was the House of Magic, which showcased a “talking kitchen” and television!

The following images show how the building and its panel will appear when all is completed.

A wood framework for working on the very large cold cast bronze panel is ready outside.

I took a photograph of finished blocks of ornamentation that will be installed beneath the panel, along the edge of the building’s marquee.

It will be interesting to follow the progress of these projects, which are made possible by the Balboa Park Committee of 100. It will be really exciting to see the final result!

Is it possible for beautiful Balboa Park to become even more amazing?

Yes!

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Death and Monsters in Escondido!

Fearless people (and art lovers) have the rare opportunity to view Death and Monsters in Escondido!

Muerte y Monstruos (Death and Monsters) is an exhibition currently on view in the museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. The collection of traditional Mexican artwork, created by the Linares family of Mexico City, includes many papier-mâché sculptures depicting skeletons and skulls, or calaveras, engaged in living and death.

And there are fantastic monsters, or alebrijes, too! Pedro Linares is credited with inventing that form of very colorful folk art.

It’s fortunate many of the fragile pieces on display have survived. Their purpose was to be burned or broken during holiday festivals in Mexico. The sculptures in Death and Monsters were preserved by San Diego art collector Larry Kent.

Much of this art was inspired by legendary Mexican printmaker José Guadalupe Posada. His iconic work is being concurrently displayed in the main gallery of the museum!

Would you enjoy a unique experience during the upcoming season of Día de los Muertos? The exhibition continues through November 21, 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!

Art found in the Cedros Avenue Design District!

The Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach is home to many galleries, design studios, boutiques, specialty shops and outdoor cafes. Walk along Cedros Avenue and your eyes will discover art everywhere they turn!

During my recent walk along Cedros Avenue I took the following photographs of street art, murals and fun sculptures.

I haven’t included photos of the numerous crazy wind sculptures outside the Exclusive Collections Gallery. I posted those pics separately here.

The Wonder Woman sculpture you’ll see coming up stands by the entrance to the Art Alley on Cedros, which I explored in my last blog post here.

Much of the art I found has a bicycle theme. Bicycling is popular in the coastal part of Solana Beach. Cedros Avenue is just a block from scenic Highway 101.

Ready to see some cool stuff? And cross a couple of “fishy” crosswalks?

Let’s go for our walk!

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!

Crazy wind sculptures in Solana Beach!

Look at this!

I was walking on Sunday through the Cedros Avenue Design District in Solana Beach when my eyes were drawn by twirling, whirling movement tucked between two buildings. I had stumbled upon a fantastic garden of kinetic wind sculptures at the Exclusive Collections Gallery!

As I walked among the wind sculptures, I felt I had entered some huge, elaborate mechanical clockwork. Or a crazy carnival funhouse! The spinning, turning, wheeling sculptures were everywhere around me. Even the shadows were delightfully fun!

After looking at the Exclusive Collections website, I believe these very inventive pieces were created by Lyman Whitaker.

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!

Amusing photos from an Oceanside walk!

ON THIS SITE IN 1897 NOTHING HAPPENED. A funny plaque on the Inner World Smoke Shop building.

This morning I took the first scheduled Coaster train up to Oceanside. I wanted to watch the annual Annual Labor Day Oceanside Pier Swim, but it was already over when I arrived. Oops!

But I did go on a long random walk and discovered a bunch of cool stuff!

First off, enjoy this collection of amusing photos. It appears many people in Oceanside have a good sense of humor!

I spotted these as I sauntered down various sidewalks…

Only COOL people allowed. A humorous COVID-19 sign.
It seems even the chef at Mary’s Family Restaurant has to wait in line.
Yellow hand seats at Alfredo’s Mexican Food.
Beer speaks. People mumble. Here’s lookin’ atcha, Oceanside!
Is he heading for Trestles? Malibu? The Jetties?
Beware the hammerhead shark at the entrance to Sandy Toes Gift Store. That’s one big mouth!
A slice of metal pie is included in the patio fence at Carmine’s Pizza.
A giant rooster guards the entrance to Carrillo Pottery.
A funny face painted on a window at Knuckleheads Barbershop.
O’side or No Side. Humorous graphic at the Real Surf Shop, on the rear of their old Chevrolet Apache.

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!

Unusual sculptures rise above Spanish Village!

Check out these unusual, wildly creative sculptures. They were recently placed on columns near the center of Spanish Village Art Center’s large outdoor patio. I had to stop in my tracks to look up during my Saturday walk through Balboa Park.

These five unique pieces are the work of two artists in the San Diego Sculptors Guild, which is located in Spanish Village. I’ve identified the artists in the next photo caption.

I don’t know if there’s a unifying theme. But this art does makes you look twice, to say the least!

From left to right, the sculptures are: Cupid’s Hammer by Sergey Gornushkin, Pinocchio by Yuriy Akopov, Holy Surf by Sergey Gornushkin, Seal the Deal by Yuriy Akopov, and Gotem by Sergey Gornushkin.

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!

Poet and Muse reappear in Balboa Park!

The long absent Poet and Muse has reappeared in Balboa Park!

Le Poète et sa Muse–Poet and Muse–by Franco-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle, used to stand near the Mingei International Museum’s main entrance. Now, as the Mingei is almost ready to reopen after a major renovation and expansion, the sculpture has returned to public view. It has been placed in a corner of the Alcazar Garden, near the House of Charm’s tower and a new public entrance to the museum!

The beloved Nikigator is also returning to Balboa Park! The fun sculpture, also by Niki de Saint Phalle, will again welcome kids near the Plaza de Panama entrance to the Mingei. I saw today that preparation is underway to move Nikigator back from Liberty Station, where it has been located temporarily during the museum’s renovation.

The redesigned, even more amazing Mingei International Museum will open to the public on September 3, 2021!

Preparing for the return of Nikigator…

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!

Hidden public art on a Liberty Station rooftop!

Very few know of this “hidden” public artwork in Point Loma. It can be found on a building’s rooftop at Liberty Station.

In the next photograph you can see green stairs climbing the side of the New Americans Museum. During all of my visits to Liberty Station, I’ve never seen a single person going up them. I myself had thought these stairs to the building’s roof were out of bounds to the public.

Not so!

Head on up, push open the swinging gate, and take a look!

The unique rooftop artwork is composed of colorfully painted skateboards. Appropriately titled Rolling It Forward, the installation was created in 2018 by local artist Jeremy Nuttall of Poway, California. The sculpture, according to a sign represents a boat and rolling waves made entirely of community-painted skateboard decks. It builds on the concept of “pay it forward,” and it required the support and involvement of the community…

The skateboards that compose Rolling It Forward have become weathered by several seasons of rain and sunshine. They are cracked and faded. They are rolling forward through time.

But the creative, often crazy images endure!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

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More fantastic art in Azalea Park!

Here are more photographs of fantastic art that I discovered during my recent adventure in Azalea Park.

This neighborhood on the south end of City Heights is full of surprises, with murals, sculptures and mosaics just about everywhere one turns!

If you’d like to see more public art in Azalea Park that I’ve already shared, you can click here or here or here or here.

Large mural at intersection of Poplar Street and Jamie’s Way by Gloria Muriel.
Mural shows map of City Heights Urban Wilderness Trail.

If you’d like to see a detailed map of the City Heights Canyons Loop Trail, which connects four urban canyons, click here!

One of these days I’ll go hike it!

Natural beauty and wildlife one might see exploring the canyons of City Heights, including nearby Manzanita and Hollywood Canyons.
Teach the Youth above graffiti and Mexican sweet bread, painted on the side of a bakery near the entrance to Azalea Park.
I learned from local artist Jim Bliesner that these colorful palm trees on Poplar were originally located on University Avenue in City Heights.
Murals on The Brown Building community center.
Abstract mural with eyes by Isaias Crow.
Mural on building’s southwest side by @SART95.
A suspended leaf on a street corner. A common sight in Azalea Park, whose street names come from plants and trees.
Amazing artwork on the fence of a very artistic resident of Azalea Park!
Shipping containers by the playground at Azalea Community Park are covered with fantastic murals!
Cool spray paint art by muralist Maxx Moses.
A wall just east of the Azalea Park Water Conservation Garden has been decorated with beautiful murals. Gloria Muriel teamed with several other artists.
Calla Ditos and Gloria Muriel, aka Glow.
Amandalynn and Lady Mags together are known as Alynn-Mags.

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!

Neighbors create sculptures for community garden!

There’s an outdoor sculpture garden in San Diego that very few know about. It’s called the Azalea Park Water Conservation Garden. You can find this special place in Azalea Park, a neighborhood in south City Heights, at the east end of Azalea Community Park.

Last weekend I was given a tour of the sculptures by local artist Jim Bliesner and members of the Azalea Park Mosaic League!

As you can see in my photos, all of the garden’s imaginative artwork is made of recycled materials. What I really loved is the pieces were all created by people who live in the neighborhood!

Come wander with me through this peaceful garden, down several dirt paths through native drought tolerant vegetation, and let’s see what we might discover…

A tall sculpture attracts those who are nearby. Curious eyes will discover something special.

PEACE BEACON

INSTALLED ON JUNE 12, 2016

IN HONOR OF THE VICTIMS OF THE SHOOTING THAT OCCURRED ON THIS DATE IN ORLANDO, FL.

Donated to the Azalea Park neighborhood, where people of all faiths, cultures, and ethnicities proudly live together as one community. May we shine as a beacon to the rest of the country.

Artist: Vicki Leon, 2016

Installation team: Vicki Leon, Bonnie Brooks, Jennifer Lindsey, Brent Lindsey, Aiya Lindsey, Aiden Lindsey. Title by Aiden Lindsey (10 years old).

City Heights artist Jim Bliesner stands by his fun sculpture Joy Ride. It’s made of colorfully painted car hoods!
A dreamcatcher made of recycled metal objects.
A bull made of old car mufflers.

“The Bull”

By Karim Carlock

Welded by Jose Orozco

I.W.U. Local 229

All the sculptures in the Azalea Park Water Conservation Garden are wonderful. Take a look at this!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.