A path of many colors leads to a magical place.

Follow this path of many colors and you will enter a magical place!
Follow this path of many colors and you will enter a magical place!

This morning during my walk I stumbled upon inexplicable wonder. A rainbow had mysteriously fallen to the ground. The shattered rainbow formed a twisting path.

I followed that path of many colors to a magical place.

Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park is a place of many wonders. Today there were exhibitors from the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society outside selling their beautiful lapidary work.
Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park is a place of many wonders. Today there were exhibitors from the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society outside selling their beautiful lapidary work.
I learned the yellow in this labyrinth was painted a couple weeks ago by an artist who works in Studio 10. Now the magical design really stands out. You'll find it in front of Studio 13. Many curious kids (and some adults) like to journey down this curving path!
I learned the yellow in this labyrinth was recently painted. Now the once elusive design really stands out. You’ll find it in front of Studio 13. Many curious kids (and some adults) like to journey down this curving path!
If this is a Road to Nowhere, I'll follow it happily!
If this is a Road to Nowhere, I’ll follow it happily!
Cool bits of art in front of funky Studio 13 in Spanish Village. The artist with whom I spoke was super nice. She once painted hopscotch patterns from different cultures around the world on the nearby patio.
Cool bits of art in front of funky Studio 13 in Spanish Village. The artist with whom I spoke was super nice. She once painted hopscotch patterns from different cultures around the world on the nearby patio.
Today there was also a big San Diego Potters' Guild sale on Spanish Village's main patio. My eyes were overwhelmed with so much to see. The potential for beauty is infinite.
Today there was also a big San Diego Potters’ Guild sale on Spanish Village’s main patio. My eyes were overwhelmed with so much to see. The potential for beauty is infinite.
Should you find yourself in Balboa Park, do not hesitate to follow this magical path of many colors!
Should you find yourself in Balboa Park, do not hesitate to follow this magical path of many colors! It was painted only a couple weeks ago by an artist who works in Studio 10!

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!

Balboa Park artist paints life size Breeders’ Cup horse!

Artist in Balboa Park's Spanish Village tells visitors about her very unique work of art.
Artist in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village tells visitors about her very unique work of art.

I discovered something very cool during my walk through Balboa Park this evening. Bonnie Chance, an artist in Spanish Village Art Center, was applying paint to a life size fiberglass racehorse!

This artfully painted horse will be displayed prominently in San Diego with various others during the upcoming Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar. The project is called Art of the Horse. The painted and decorated horses will be part of a dinner and auction prior to the Breeders’ Cup. Money raised will assist various local charities.

I believe the artist said her creation’s name is Biscuit.

Spanish Village Art Center is hosting two life size race horses being painted for the 2017 Breeders Cup at Del Mar.
Spanish Village Art Center is hosting two life size race horses being painted for the 2017 Breeders Cup at Del Mar.
This impressive, lifelike horse sculpture is painted with images of underwater ocean life.
This impressive, lifelike horse sculpture is painted with images of underwater ocean life.
A large seahorse on a horse named Sea Biscuit. The famous Sea Biscuit ran a legendary race at Del Mar in 1938.
A large seahorse on a horse named Biscuit. The legendary Sea Biscuit won a famous race at Del Mar in 1938.

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Create a collage in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village!

A cool work of art pieced together in Balboa Park's Spanish Village. Anyone can do this!
A cool work of art pieced together in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village. Anyone can do this!

My weekend walk in Balboa Park took me through Spanish Village Art Center. For a few pleasant minutes I paused to watch artist Kathi Vargo piecing together collages and unique assemblage at a table in the middle of the patio. Anyone passing by was invited to join in!

I learned that Kathi offers Paint and Paper Play classes where absolutely anybody can learn to create mixed media collages. If you’re interested, visit her website!

Kathi Vargo was having a fun Paint and Paper Play Collage Workshop in the middle of the Spanish Village Art Center's colorful patio.
Kathi Vargo was having a fun Paint and Paper Play Collage Workshop in the middle of the Spanish Village Art Center’s colorful patio.
All sorts of objects can be used to assemble this unique artwork.
All sorts of objects can be used to assemble this unique artwork.
Applying some paint to a strip of material.
Applying some paint to a strip of material.
Creating art expands the mind, enriches the spirit, and is just plain fun!
Creating art expands the mind, enriches the spirit, and is just plain fun!
You can make this!
You can make this!

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Balboa Park’s Sustainability Studio promotes conservation.

Gallery 21 in Balboa Park's Spanish Village features a special environmental exhibit called Sustainability Studio!
Gallery 21 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village features a special environmental exhibit called Sustainability Studio!

I discovered a fascinating environmental exhibit in Balboa Park this weekend. The Sustainability Studio is located in Gallery 21 near the center of the Spanish Village Art Center.

This small but information-packed exhibit discusses how various museums and buildings in Balboa Park are engaging in conservation efforts, by using solar panels, low-flow water fixtures, LED lighting, and the intelligent use of resources. The exhibit also encourages kids to think about the environment and pledge to protect it. Fun activities include making leaves for the Tree of Change and a Balboa Park scavenger hunt!

To read the signs, click the images and they will enlarge.

The Sustainability Studio will remain open to the public through December. Bring the kids! They can learn something new, create some fun art, and engage in the easy scavenger hunt and win a cool prize!

Ruby welcomes visitors into the Sustainability Studio, where one can learn about the conservation efforts of various organizations in Balboa Park.
Rubi welcomes visitors into the Sustainability Studio, where one can learn about the conservation efforts of various organizations in Balboa Park.
Signs and posters in the special exhibit raise awareness about various important environmental issues. Kids are provided with fun activities that promote activism and conservation.
Signs and posters in the special exhibit raise awareness about various important environmental issues. Kids are provided with fun activities that promote activism and conservation.
Sustainability refers to the conservation and efficient use of essential resources. Balboa Park's efforts include solar panels, low-flow water fixtures and LED lighting.
Sustainability refers to the conservation and efficient use of essential resources. Balboa Park’s efforts include solar panels, low-flow water fixtures and LED lighting.
Kids visiting the exhibit are encouraged to make a leaf with a hand tracing, then inscribe it with an environmental pledge.
Kids visiting the exhibit are encouraged to make a leaf with a hand tracing, then inscribe it with an environmental pledge.
Leaves on the Tree of Change. Kids pledge to ride bikes, turn off lights, recycle, use less water . . .
Leaves on the Tree of Change. Kids pledge to ride bikes, turn off lights, recycle, use less water . . .
A scavenger hunt is described on this flyer. Upload 5 selfies to Facebook that include a Balboa Park sustainability feature and claim a great prize!
A scavenger hunt is described on this flyer. Upload 5 selfies to Facebook that include a Balboa Park sustainability feature and claim a great prize!
Various museums and buildings in Balboa Park are working to become more environmentally friendly.
Various museums and buildings in Balboa Park are working to become more environmentally friendly.
The San Diego Natural History Museum became the first Balboa Park LEED Certified building in 2009.
The San Diego Natural History Museum became the first Balboa Park LEED Certified building in 2009.
The San Diego Air and Space Museum has increased energy efficiency and achieved significant water savings.
The San Diego Air and Space Museum has increased energy efficiency and achieved significant water savings.
Artwork produced by thoughtful, creative kids hang from the ceiling. I like the ocean!
Fun works of art produced by creative kids hang from the ceiling. I like the ocean!
I love turtles!
I love turtles!

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History comes alive during tour of Spanish Village.

Tour guide Jeff explains that today's Studio 36 Sculpture Guild was an outdoor theatre in the early years of Spanish Village. The front was a lobby and ticket booth. Writers, actors and set designers would act out plays on the inner patio.
Tour guide Jeff explains that today’s Studio 36 Sculpture Guild was an outdoor theatre in the early years of Spanish Village. The front was a lobby and ticket booth. Writers, actors and set designers would act out plays on the inner patio.

Spanish Village Art Center, in beautiful Balboa Park, is where you’ll find the colorful studios of many fine San Diego artists. Last year I blogged about the history of this fascinating place. A small exhibit in Gallery 21 recounted how Spanish Village was created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition, and traced the village’s evolution over subsequent decades. Unfortunately, that exhibit no longer exists. But I did record much of it. To enjoy an overview of the history, you can revisit my old blog post by clicking here.

Last Saturday I was given a terrific tour of Spanish Village by a super friendly guy named Jeff. During the tour, Jeff showed me some unusual, unexpected features of Spanish Village and delved into its often surprising history.

(Fortunately, Jeff gave me some notes that I will reference in this blog. Should you enjoy a tour yourself, you can probably obtain your own copy!)

Please read the photo captions where I provide descriptions and very short explanations. As you’ll see, many interesting changes in Spanish Village have taken place over the years. And I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface!

If something I’ve written is inaccurate, or needs some elaboration, leave a comment! What memories do you have?

Click here to check out the Spanish Village Art Center blog! Support these great artists!

An old photograph of how Spanish Village appeared around the time of the California Pacific International Exposition of 1935.
An old photograph of how Spanish Village appeared around the time of the California Pacific International Exposition of 1935.

In 1935, when Spanish Village opened, visitors strolled down simulated Old World streets, which featured restaurants and shops in picturesque, open-arched buildings. The architecture was inspired by the Andalusian region of southern Spain. In addition to wine shops, a cocktail lounge and a Chinese Bazaar, one could buy flowers and enjoy music, art . . . and even a high wire trapeze act!

You can see in the above old photograph a no-longer-existing building at the center of today’s large patio. It separated Spanish Village into two “streets” that visitors could enjoy.

Over the years, resident artists have built out the small open air shops to create practical but unique enclosed spaces. Some of the open arches have been filled in, or can now be seen inside certain studios.

A current map of Spanish Village shows how it appears today. You can find this wonderful part of Balboa Park between the Natural History Museum and the San Diego Zoo.
A current map of Spanish Village shows how it appears today. You can find this wonderful part of Balboa Park between the Natural History Museum and the San Diego Zoo.
Jeff shows me Studios 34 A and 34 B, which were originally one space featuring a puppet show.
Jeff shows me Studios 34 A and 34 B, which were originally one space featuring a puppet show.
Studios 24 through 28 surround a small inner courtyard. This area in Spanish Village originally contained a wishing well and actual horse stalls!
Studios 24 through 28 surround a small inner courtyard. This area in Spanish Village originally contained a wishing well and actual horse stalls!
Studio 6 has a sliding barn door! Two other studios dating from the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition have similar doors.
Studio 6 has a sliding barn door! Two other studios dating from the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition have similar doors.
Studio 8, like many others in Spanish Village, was built out from the original open archway to provide more space for the artists. The words The SHANGHAI are from 1935. It evidently used to be a bar.
Studio 8, like many others in Spanish Village, was built out from the original open archway to provide more space for the artists. The words The SHANGHAI are from 1935. It evidently used to be a bar.
Near Studio 8's entrance are two amazing works of art. Here's one. It was created by John Novy, a potter who was a member of Spanish Village from 1969 to 1977.
Near Studio 8’s entrance are two amazing works of art. Here’s one. It was created by John Novy, a potter who was a member of Spanish Village from 1969 to 1977.
Second amazing installation of ceramic tiles on exterior of Studio 8 in Spanish Village. This art was created by professional potter John Novy.
Second installation of ceramic tiles on exterior of Studio 8 in Spanish Village. This art was created by professional potter John Novy.
This used to be the east entrance into Spanish Village. Today you'll find outdoor glassblowers creating amazing glass art while visitors gather around to watch.
This used to be the east entrance into Spanish Village. Today you’ll find outdoor glassblowers creating amazing glass pieces while visitors gather around to watch.
The old east entrance (under the tiles) is now blocked off. Much of the grassy area used by today's Balboa Park Miniature Railroad used to be a parking lot.
The old east entrance (under the tiles) is now blocked off. Much of the grassy area occupied by today’s Balboa Park Miniature Railroad used to be a parking lot.
Studio 18 is now the office of Spanish Village Art Center. In the early years a caretaker lived here. That rooster weather vane can be seen in many old photographs.
Studio 18 is now the office of Spanish Village Art Center. In the early years a caretaker lived here. That rooster weather vane can be seen in many old photographs.
The south end of the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building used to extend a bit into today's patio area. You can see an old wooden beam on the present-day exterior.
The south end of the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building used to extend a bit into today’s large patio area. You can see an old wooden beam on the present-day exterior.
This quaint little street, during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition, led into the Fun Zone! Now it leads to a small parking lot.
This quaint little street, during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition, led into the Fun Zone! Now it leads to a small parking lot.
Gazing back south from the parking lot at today's Spanish Village in Balboa Park.
Gazing back south from the parking lot at today’s Spanish Village artist co-op in Balboa Park.
This west side of the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building was built sometime after the 1935 Expo.
The extended west side of the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building was built sometime after the 1935 Expo.
Originally, the building terminated where you see the arches.
Originally, the building terminated where you see the column.
Walking along the west edge of Spanish Village. Many historic columns and arches provide this artist's co-op with unique character.
Walking along the west edge of Spanish Village. Many decorative columns and arches provide this artist’s co-op with unique character.
Looking through the west archway toward a shrub elephant, which stands on a nearby, newly improved walkway the heads north to the San Diego Zoo.
Looking through the west archway toward a shrub elephant, which stands on a nearby, newly improved walkway the heads north to the San Diego Zoo.
This large dance floor (and the area where I'm standing) at the center of the colorful Spanish Village patio was once occupied by a large building. It seems there is some debate what that building was, exactly.
This large dance floor (and the area where I’m standing) at the center of the colorful Spanish Village patio was once occupied by a large building. It seems there is some debate as to what that building was, exactly.
Studio 3 is occupied by artist Don Knapp. He arrived at Spanish Village as a child! His grandmother was a founding member in the 1930s.
Studio 3 is occupied by artist Don Knapp. He arrived at Spanish Village as a child! His grandmother was a founding member in the 1930s.
Loads of fun, creative stuff is going on in Spanish Village Art Center in 2016. Please click the image to enlarge it and then mark your calendar!
Loads of fun, creative stuff is going on in Spanish Village Art Center in 2016. Please click the image to enlarge it, and then mark your calendar!
Jeff provides a really interesting tour. Look for his friendly smile if you happen to find yourself in wonderful Spanish Village!
Jeff provides a really interesting tour. Look for his friendly smile if you happen to find yourself in wonderful, historic Spanish Village!

I live in downtown San Diego and walk like crazy! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Artist creates amazing lumen and cyanotype photos!

Uniquely beautiful Fern Lumen by artist Patricia Grabski.
Uniquely beautiful Fern Lumen by artist Patricia Grabski.

This weekend you have an opportunity to see something really unique. Patricia Grabski is displaying her amazing lumen and cyanotype photo art in Balboa Park. Her work is part of a five artist exhibition called Ain’t Nothing Like a Dame, which you can enjoy inside Gallery 21, in the always wonderful Spanish Village Art Center.

I learned that cyanotype printing was invented in England in 1842. Utilizing two chemicals, ammonium iron citrate and potassium ferricyanide, this process was used to create early blueprints. In 1843, the world’s first woman photographer, Anna Atkins, placed organic materials onto paper coated with cyanotype; when exposed to sunlight, ghostly, artistic photograms were created.

Lumens is a very similar process that uses old unexposed black and white photo paper. Exposure to sunlight creates all sorts of fantastic colors and effects.

My own poor photographs don’t do this fascinating artwork justice. You have to see the subtle detail in person. So head on over to Spanish Village tomorrow.  Patricia Grabski’s work will be displayed through March 14. If you want to contact the artist, her info is visible in one photo.

Patricia Grabski is currently exhibiting her unique creations in Gallery 21, in Balboa Park's wonderful Spanish Village Art Center. Her pieces are available for purchase.
Patricia Grabski is currently exhibiting her unique creations in Gallery 21, in Balboa Park’s wonderful Spanish Village Art Center. Her pieces are available for purchase.
Patricia Grabski uses neither camera nor lens--she contact prints her images with alternative photographic processes--cyanotype, platinum, palladium, albumen, van dyke brown, salt and lumens. Her prints are made on photographic paper, art paper, glass, tin, cotton handkerchiefs and old linens.
Patricia Grabski uses neither camera nor lens–she contact prints her images with alternative photographic processes–cyanotype, platinum, palladium, albumen, van dyke brown, salt and lumens. Her prints are made on photographic paper, art paper, glass, tin, cotton handkerchiefs and old linens.

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Leaf Lumen. Fantastic art created by Patricia Grabski.
Leaf Lumen. Fantastic art created by Patricia Grabski.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special new blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

A colorful dance of art history in Spanish Village!

The San Diego Potter's Guild in Spanish Village recently created this artistic tribute to the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and Balboa Park's centennial.
The San Diego Potter’s Guild in Spanish Village recently created this artistic tribute to the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and Balboa Park’s centennial.

A fun exhibit debuted today in Spanish Village’s large outdoor patio courtyard. It’s called Dance through the Decades of Art! Colorful works by local artists jut out of various planters, representing the history of art styles over the past century. It’s another creative offshoot resulting from Balboa Park’s centennial, which is being celebrated throughout this year! The cool exhibit lasts through November 25.

I walked about and took these photos…

Spanish Village in Balboa Park has a new Dance through the Decades of Art exhibit in their patio courtyard. It celebrates the evolution of art over the last hundred years. This bold piece represents the graffiti art style!
Spanish Village in Balboa Park has a new Dance through the Decades of Art exhibit in their patio courtyard. It celebrates the evolution of art over the past hundred years. This bold piece represents the graffiti art style!
I was allowed to photograph these works of art being created on Saturday (the day before the exhibit opened) in a hidden Spanish Village work area!
I was allowed to photograph these works of art being created on Saturday (the day before the exhibit opened) in a hidden Spanish Village work area!
This artwork represents the 1930s, when the Works Progress Administration provided artists with employment during the Great Depression.
This artwork represents the 1930s, when the Works Progress Administration provided artists with employment during the Great Depression.
This work loosely represents photorealism, a distinctly American genre of painting that originated in the late 1960s.
This work very loosely represents photorealism, a distinctly American genre of painting that originated in the late 1960s.
This fun art in Spanish Village contains elements of steampunk, a sub-genre of science fiction that highlights 19th century Victorian and industrial themes.
This fun art in Spanish Village contains elements of steampunk, a sub-genre of science fiction that highlights 19th century Victorian and industrial themes.
Visitors to Balboa Park look into a double kaleidoscope! This wildly colorful sculpture represents psychedelic art, which originated from 1960s counterculture.
Visitors to Balboa Park look into a double kaleidoscope! This wildly colorful sculpture represents psychedelic art, which originated from 1960s counterculture.
Here's a photo I took after turning a dial of the kaleidoscope.
Here’s a photo I took after turning a dial of the kaleidoscope.
I turned the dial again!
I turned the dial again!
These splashes of bold color are a tribute to Abstract expressionism, which originated in the late 1940s, the first specifically American movement to achieve international influence.
These splashes of bold color are a tribute to Abstract expressionism, which originated in the late 1940s, the first specifically American movement to achieve international influence.
Someone sits on a planter which contains artwork representing minimalism, a literalist movement that arose during the 1960s.
Someone sits on a planter which contains artwork representing minimalism, a literalist movement that arose during the 1960s.
This panel celebrates the Art Deco style with images of musical instruments popular in the Jazz Age.
This panel celebrates the Art Deco style with images of musical instruments popular during the Jazz Age.
This creation for the exhibit represents Cubism, an early 20th century avant-garde movement, which revolutionized painting and other art forms.
This creation for the outdoor exhibit represents Cubism, an early 20th century avant-garde movement, which revolutionized painting and other art forms.
Dance through the Decades of Art enlivens Spanish Village. Painted pieces trace art's history and development over the past 100 years.
Dance through the Decades of Art enlivens Spanish Village! Painted pieces trace art’s history and development over the past 100 years.

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