Sculptures beautify Paradise Creek Gathering Place.

On the south side of National City’s Kimball Park, near 16th Street, a footbridge crosses Paradise Creek. Look up near the bridge and you’ll spy beautiful small sculptures mounted atop high posts.

These shining metal sculptures at the Paradise Creek Gathering Place were created by San Diego artist Vicki Leon, in collaboration with high school students at A Reason To Survive (ARTS), an organization in National City that uplifts local youth using the power of creativity.

The Paradise Creek Gathering Place sculptures together are titled Migratory Flight. They resemble silvery birds taking wing. Solar-powered lights illuminate bits of colored glass in clear tubes beneath each sculpture.

The environmental sculptures, symbolizing wildlife that depends on Paradise Creek, were installed in 2018. Many in the community came out to help build and beautify the Paradise Creek Gathering Place, including the Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center’s Kitchenistas and students from San Diego City College and San Diego State University. You can read more about the project here and here.

Lead artist Vicki Leon has also helped to beautify her own City Heights Azalea Park neighborhood. You can see photos of more amazing public artwork that I took during a special visit to Azalea Park here and here and here.

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Bright, colorful butterflies fill National City parks!

Giant butterflies take flight in the blue sky above three National City parks!

Should you visit Butterfly Park, Kimball Park or Las Palmas Park, you’re certain to spot many large butterfly wings! The colorful sculptures were created in 2015 by families throughout the National City community.

Every butterfly is composed of two pieces of cut aluminum, and the separate sides of each butterfly are uniquely decorated with different colors of reflective vinyl tape. I’ve been told that car headlights shining on the butterflies at night reveal bright bursts of life!

The project, led by local artist Roberto Salas, is called Butterfly Path. Its creation was made possible through a commission from the San Diego Museum of Art’s “Open Spaces” program, supported by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation.

The first time I spotted some of these butterflies–last year at Kimball Park–I didn’t know a thing about them. Comments made by readers provided great information. Revisit that old blog post here.

Since then I’ve seen more of the beautiful sculptures, and have learned more about them, particularly during an amazing tour of Butterfly Park, which you can read about by clicking here.

These artistic butterflies symbolize an ongoing metamorphosis in National City. The transformation is to an even more proud, healthy and environmentally friendly community that shines with greater and greater beauty.

Here are just some of the butterflies you might encounter, in no particular order…

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!

Glass artists exhibition in Spanish Village!

Many pieces of amazing glass art can be enjoyed this weekend in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center. The public is invited to view the Art Glass Association of Southern California’s 40th Annual Members’ Exhibition in Gallery 21. Unfortunately it ends much too soon on Monday.

I’ve always had a love for lustrous, luminous glass art. Pieces often appear like liquified light, caught for an instant in time. Like carefully hand-crafted jewels, their appearance changes depending on one’s angle of view. One extraordinary piece, as you’ll see, cleverly uses prism refraction to produce many different bright colors.

I noticed that most of the exhibited pieces are for sale. If I had a million dollars, I’d grab them all.

To me every one is magic.

Sunburst, Diana Griffin.
Abundance, Kathleen Mitchell.
Bellora, Michelle Bohannan Sherer.
Gen Z Redhead, Marti Blair.
Drop Vessel, Krista Heron.
Baby Blue Monk, Tom Marosz.

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!

Five public sculptures debut in Del Mar!

Five eye-catching works of public art recently debuted in Del Mar! They are part of a City of Del Mar Temporary Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit.

These new pieces join a couple of other interesting sculptures along Camino Del Mar that I photographed previously here and here.

During a leisurely “art walk” through Del Mar Village yesterday I captured the following images…

Moonshadow, by artists Jeffery Laudenslager and Deanne Sabeck. Stainless steel, titanium and dichroic glass mosaic. At Camino Del Mar and 9th Street.
Terpsichore, by artist David Beck Brown. Monochrome steel, paint. At Camino Del Mar and 12th Street.
Bird’s Eye View of Torrey Pines Beach, by artists Robert Petrello and Drew Graham. Fused glass, copper and raw metal with rubbed bronze finish. At Camino Del Mar and 14th Street.
Hanging Out #3, by artist Maidy Morhous. Bronze on stainless steel pedestal. At 15th Street and Stratford Court.
Pasaje a lo Infinito, by artist Hugo Heredia. Fused glass, fabricated stainless steel and fabricated steel. Just west of Camino Del Mar on 15th Street.

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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Three painted Breeders’ Cup horses in Del Mar!

The 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships was held yesterday and today at the Del Mar Racetrack. So I decided to enjoy a walk through Del Mar Village on this beautiful, sunny Saturday!

What did I see?

I spotted three colorfully painted horse sculptures that were created in 2017 when the Breeders’ Cup was last held in Del Mar! That past public art project was called Art of the Horse.

The three horses now on display stand near the intersection of Camino Del Mar and 15th Street.

Two of the three life-size horses I hadn’t seen previously. To view past photographs of several more painted horses, you can click here and here and here!

(Thank you to two friendly members of the Rotary Club of Del Mar for their kindness in helping me solve a mystery. They were stationed by the sidewalk at Del Mar Plaza, offering information to out-of-towners visiting Del Mar during the Breeders’ Cup.)

Sea Horse. Created by artist Wyland.
Hang On To Your Hats! Created by artist Daphne Gaylord.
Triton’s Steed. Created by artist Chase Martin.

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!

Presidio Hill sculptures moved to History Center.

Two remarkable and historically important sculptures were moved recently from Presidio Hill to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

When I visited the History Center today I was surprised to see the two large Arthur Putnam works, because I’d observed them several times in the past during walks through Presidio Park.

An explanation on the gallery wall explains that The Indian (1904) and The Padre (1908) were moved to protect them from the outdoor elements and vandalism. I learned they will be gallery centerpieces as this section of the San Diego History Center receives additional material. Critical context will be provided for these bronze statues.

If you’d like to see photos of the two sculptures when they stood on Presidio Hill, check out past blog posts here and here.

The first link will take you on a walk from Old Town up to the Serra Museum–a walk I made years ago when Cool San Diego Sights was just getting started.

The second link concerns an Arthur Putnam exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art. You’ll learn that he was internationally renowned, particularly for his sculptures depicting animals. And he also had an interesting San Diego connection!

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!

Rabbit sculptures find a home in Civita Park.

Walk through beautiful Civita Park in Mission Valley and you’re likely to cross paths with numerous rabbits. Rabbit sculptures, that is!

The bronze bunnies, which are pleasing to children (and the young at heart), can be encountered in surprising places around the spacious public park, which opened in 2017.

The lifelike rabbits were created by Encinitas sculptors T.J. Dixon and James Nelson. Their fantastic work can be viewed all over San Diego. (Click here to see many more of their creations!)

The above photo of a rabbit standing guard by small baby bunnies is located right next to the Civita Park welcome sign. As you can see in the next two photographs, a bronze book containing a story about two rabbits finding their home is perched on another rock nearby.

Finding Home… Once upon a time there were two little bunnies named Franklin and Alta. They were looking for the magic stone that had once covered their little doorway for so long…

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!

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!

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!

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!