Neighbor releases butterflies in San Diego park!

A neighbor in San Diego’s Cortez Hill community has released butterflies in a city park. She accomplished this with a paintbrush and stencils!

Take a look!

I learned from Joe Ciavarella of Friends of Tweet Street Park that the beautiful butterflies–and birds, flowers and dragonflies–you see in my photos were painted on planters and stones recently by Victoria Villavicencio, who periodically visits Cortez Hill.

Tweet Street Linear Park at the top of Cortez Hill becomes ever more inviting over time, thanks not only to the friendly workers of San Diego’s Parks and Recreation Department, but to unselfish community volunteers who devotedly plant, tend and clean the garden-like park.

From one who lives a few steps away: Thank You!

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!

Girl Scout’s inspiring community mural project!

Mural painted in City Heights inspires those who see it to register to vote.
Mural painted in City Heights inspires those who see it to register to vote.

Check out this great new mural in City Heights!

The mural was painted this weekend to inspire members of the community to vote in this year’s election. It’s the Girl Scout “Gold Award” project of Lauren Crane!

She and a team of volunteers have painted a portion of a wall at Mid City Wash on University Avenue with a cool red, white and blue design that asks: Are you registered to vote? A nearby table, presided over by a couple of other friendly Girl Scouts, provided voter registration information for anyone who might pass by on the sidewalk.

I met Lauren today, as well as the folks of the organization Love City Heights, who’ve helped to make this awesome project a reality. Painting such a public mural requires the approval, resources and coordination of many people, and earning a Gold Award is all about leadership . . . and using that leadership to actually make the world a better place.

Not only does this project provide great experience for an up-and-coming leader, but it provides inspiration to all of those who are associated with it, and encourages those who happen to see the mural to become more involved in their community, too!

Is this awesome, or what?

Girl Scout Lauren Crane is responsible for this Gold Award mural project.
Girl Scout Lauren Crane is responsible for this Gold Award mural project.
Community volunteers pitch in to help paint the inspiring mural.
Community volunteers pitch in to help paint the inspiring mural.
Here are some of the people who have volunteered and made a real difference.
Here are some of the people who have volunteered and made a real difference.
A Guide to Voting in California pamphlets on a nearby table.
A Guide to Voting in California pamphlets on a nearby table.
An important community project brought to life by a Girl Scout, working to make the world a better place.
An important community project brought to life by a Girl Scout, working to make the world a better place.

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!

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.

A world’s “top three” maritime museum needs help!

Two beautiful tall ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, Star of India and Californian, head out into the Pacific Ocean.
Two beautiful tall ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, Star of India and Californian, head out into the Pacific Ocean.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego has been rated one of the top three maritime museums in the entire world, and the best in the United States.

For many museums that rely on a stream of paying visitors, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is causing financial strain. The Maritime Museum of San Diego is no exception.

I received a letter in my mail today from the museum’s President and CEO, Dr. Ray Ashley. You can read it online by clicking here.

The current COVID-19 crisis has placed the historic ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego in the doldrums–that region just north of the equator where there’s little or no wind.

Without visitors, the museum is struggling. They’ve had to lay off 80% of the staff. They are relying on volunteers and new donations as they try to sail through a region that is “far more complex, ominous, and intimidating that a few degrees of latitude ever were.”

I know there are people reading this blog who love San Diego and its treasured Maritime Museum as much as I do, if not more. At this moment in time, the museum really needs our help.

Click here!

A tale of two San Diegos.

Many of these photos aren’t cool. But they represent reality.

There is a tale of two San Diegos that can be read every day.

One San Diego is optimistic. The other is bleak.

We are all participants in this tale of two San Diegos.

The story is complex and heart-breaking, and has uncounted pages.

There are many ways to help San Diego’s homeless. If that’s something you’d like to do, click here.

Nature and art at San Diego River Garden!

There’s a very special garden in San Diego that few people visit. It’s called the San Diego River Garden. It’s situated near the center of Mission Valley, a short distance south of the San Diego River.

Every so often I drive past this native plant garden, but I never see a place to park. The stretch of Camino del Rio North beside it is mostly used by people going to and from nearby office buildings, and no street parking is available.

The gate of the San Diego River Garden’s small dirt parking lot is usually shut. The only other way in is to walk along a dirt path beside the road and pass through an entrance in the fence. Which is what I did this morning!

All was quiet. The early morning summer breeze was pleasantly cool. The few picnic benches were empty. I saw no other people. But I did see many active birds. And bright flowers. And lots of flourishing native plants including some cacti. And modest planters holding more greenery. And many winding trails. And Bigfoot! Yes, you heard me correctly! And–to my additional delight–a whole lot of nature artwork created by young students, including painted tiles scattered here and there on the ground and a cool mural on a shipping container!

According to the San Diego River Park Foundation website: “This site used to be a vacant area reserved for future use by the City of San Diego. But thanks to the City and the many volunteers, sponsors, groups that have come out to garden, the River Park Foundation is caring for this 5 acre area to make it attractive for the community.”

If you or your group would like to volunteer and do a little gardening out in the warm San Diego sunshine, or if you simply want to visit this beautiful kid-friendly park or learn more about it, 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!

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!

Help others! Join virtual Red Shoe Day online!

The 11th Annual Red Shoe Day is almost here! But this year it will be different. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the gathering of donations for Ronald McDonald House in San Diego will be entirely online!

Instead of plunking your spare change into a big red Ronald McDonald shoe held by a volunteer at a busy intersection, there’s going to be a virtual Red Shoe Day on June 4, 2020 that everyone can safely take part in and share online with others!

Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, according to their mission statement: provides a “home-away-from-home” for families with children being treated for serious, often life-threatening conditions at local hospitals.

Put yourself in the shoes of a family with a seriously ill child and imagine how important this would be. You could spend much more time with your child as they undergo super scary medical treatment at a big, scary hospital. Read more about what Ronald McDonald House Charities does here.

And here is what you can do!

Click here and join this year’s virtual Red Shoe Day!

Recruit friends, coworkers and family members! Form a winning team!

Look at all the smiling volunteers I photographed in past years, before the coronavirus pandemic…

Click here to join Red Shoe Day and make a huge difference in people’s lives!

You’ll feel good, too!

How to support the museums of Balboa Park.

This group wanted to see fine art so they headed into the San Diego Museum of Art.

Do you love Balboa Park?

One big reason the park is so wonderful is its many diverse museums. World-class museums. Museums that enhance the culture of our city and document the life of this planet. Museums that educate, entertain, highlight beauty and provide inspiration. Museums that bring our community together.

But these nonprofit institutions are always in need of public support. Especially during the present coronavirus pandemic, when Balboa Park is closed to all visitors. Today many of these beloved museums really need your help.

Would you like to make a donation to one or more of the museums of Balboa Park, or perhaps find another way to give them a helping hand?

I’ve visited each museum’s website and created the following list of links. These links will take you to web pages that explain how you can provide each museum with support.

Every little bit helps in this difficult time!

Visitors walk up the front steps of the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.

Here come the links where you can provide help…

Museum of Photographic Arts

San Diego Art Institute

San Diego Automotive Museum

Fleet Science Center

Japanese Friendship Garden

San Diego Air and Space Museum

Centro Cultural de la Raza

Marston House

Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden gaze at Kannon Bosatsu, a nearly three century old 5750 pound bronze statue recently installed in the Lower Garden by crane!

WorldBeat Center

Timken Museum of Art

Mingei International Museum

Veterans Museum at Balboa Park

The San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Model Railroad Museum

San Diego History Center

San Diego Museum of Man

San Diego Natural History Museum

Inside one of the galleries. The small fine art museum is free to the public and a popular destination in Balboa Park.

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!

Redecking famous tall ship HMS Surprise.

Lumber is prepared on the main deck of HMS Surprise during the famous tall ship's re-decking project.
Lumber is prepared on the main deck of HMS Surprise during the famous tall ship’s redecking project.

During my Sunday visit to the Maritime Museum of San Diego, I noticed good progress has been made redecking HMS Surprise. While nobody was working on that project at the time, I was able to see some of the process that is required to put a beautiful, weather-resistant new deck on the amazing tall ship.

HMS Surprise was used in the filming of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, starring Russell Crowe, one of the greatest epic films depicting the Age of Sail during the Napoleonic Wars. The ship is a replica of the 18th century Royal Navy frigate HMS Rose, and is just one of several world-famous ships and submarines you can step aboard at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

As you can see in my photo of a sign, the museum welcomes new members, volunteers, docents, donors, and even sail crew! I can tell you that being a member is cool beyond description. I never tire of visiting the museum’s historical exhibits and many beautiful vessels.

An innovative technique used on Star of India is being applied here. It involves multiple epoxy layers, fiberglass layers and planking.
An innovative decking technique that was successful on Star of India is also being used for HMS Surprise. It involves multiple epoxy layers, fiberglass layers and planking.

The main deck of HMS Surprise is full of lumber, saws and other woodworking tools!
The main deck of HMS Surprise is full of lumber, saws and other woodworking tools!

In this photo you can see how some of the layered decking work is done.
In this photo you can see how some of the layered decking work is done.

Another photo of the redecking in progress.
Another photo of the redecking in progress.

Some of the hand tools.
Some of the hand tools.

The finished decking on HMS Surprise's quarterdeck is very beautiful and should last many years.
The finished decking on HMS Surprise’s quarterdeck is very beautiful and should endure sun, weather and the feet of curious visitors for many years.

There's always more work to be done at the Maritime Museum of San Diego! Your help is welcomed!
Volunteers head out to the museum’s barge with some lumber. There’s always more work to be done at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Your help is appreciated!

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!

Free activities and help for San Diego seniors!

Look what I discovered today!

I was walking around Balboa Park, looking at an arts and crafts sale in the Casa del Prado courtyard, when I discovered some great information. If you’re in San Diego and at least 55 years old (or if you know someone who is) there are lots of activities and services available for seniors, and many are absolutely free!

A friendly gentleman with the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department told me all about it. The program is called AgeWell Services. You can visit the AgeWell Services website by clicking here.

AgeWell Services offers art classes, senior art shows, needle crafts, poetry parties, dance lessons, talent shows, craft sales and much more. There’s free tea, coffee, water, bingo and social opportunities in the Balboa Park Senior Lounge, and easy walks around Balboa Park. There are laugh hours and free movies. There are informative talks. There is even free assistance for those 60 years or older with a variety of legal issues such as wills and renter disputes!

There are senior activities at many City of San Diego Recreation Centers!

AgeWell Services also has occasional day trips to interesting places like the J. Paul Getty Museum, Big Bear, Catalina Island and Julian. I noticed these special trips are offered for a very reasonable fee.

If you’d like to see all of these activities and services that are available to San Diego seniors, you should subscribe to a newsletter that comes out every few months called The Scroll. The Scroll is packed with all the latest information, including a Calendar of Events.

To join the mailing list for The Scroll, or to learn more about AgeWell Services, simply call 619-525-8247.

Volunteers are also needed! Call 619-236-6905 if you’d like to volunteer!