House of Hospitality courtyard garden replanted!

Some say the House of Hospitality is the heart of Balboa Park. I can understand why. Visitors who pass through the courtyard colonnade might feel they’ve wandered into a beautiful dream.

The House of Hospitality’s fantastic architecture, interior garden and iconic sculpture by Donal Hord appear like a painting of paradise. An eternal canvas into which the living step–if only for a moment.

With the recent refreshing of the historic garden’s four corner planters, the Spanish Colonial courtyard is more alive and welcoming than ever.

Originally created for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the House of Hospitality was rebuilt by architect Richard Requa for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition. In 1997 the building was recreated as accurately as possible from historical documents.

Before sunset today I walked about the courtyard, read a sign which described the garden’s revitalization, then climbed stairs to the second floor balcony.

Sunlight was slanting into the outdoor courtyard, turning many of its trees and plants bright green. And high above it all, up in the blue sky, shined that eternally amazing tower…

Sign explains how aging plants in the House of Hospitality's courtyard garden were replanted and refreshed, with the help of Urban Corps of San Diego.
Sign explains how aging plants in the House of Hospitality’s courtyard garden were replanted and refreshed, with the help of Urban Corps of San Diego.

At the center of the House of Hospitality courtyard is Woman of Tehuantepec, a 1935 sculpture and fountain by Donal Hord.
At the center of the House of Hospitality’s courtyard is Woman of Tehuantepec, a 1935 sculpture and fountain by Donal Hord.

In one of the four planters is a time capsule placed on September 13, 1997, to be opened May 29, 2035, the centennial of the California Pacific International Exposition.
In one of the four planters is a time capsule placed on September 13, 1997, to be opened May 29, 2035, the centennial of the California Pacific International Exposition.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

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Beautiful photos outside the Balboa Park Club.

Cacti in front of the Balboa Park Club. The building was created in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition to showcase the state of New Mexico.
Cacti in front of the Balboa Park Club. The building was created in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition to showcase the state of New Mexico.

Last Sunday, during my walk through the Palisades area of the park, I circled the Balboa Park Club searching for interesting photos. The earthy, very distinctive Pueblo Revival architecture of this building contrasts beautifully with the green plants that surround it.

The Balboa Park Club is located in the park's Palisades area. The building was enlarged and remodeled for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
The Balboa Park Club is located in the park’s Palisades area. The building was enlarged and remodeled for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
Once called the New Mexico State Building, the architecture is in the attractive, very distinctive Pueblo Revival style.
Once called the New Mexico State Building, the architecture is in the eye-pleasing Pueblo Revival style.
Leafy green against earthy colors and textures.
Green leaves and shadows against earthy colors and textures.
Behind the Balboa Park Club is the 1935 (Old) Cactus Garden.
Behind the Balboa Park Club is the 1935 (Old) Cactus Garden.
White flowers beside the Balboa Park Club.
White flowers contrasted with the Balboa Park Club’s rain-streaked exterior.
Looking upward at one corner of the Pueblo Revival-style building.
Looking upward at one corner of the Pueblo Revival-style building. Ornamental wooden beam “vigas” project outward and cast slanting shadows.
A beautiful sight in Balboa Park.
A beautiful taste of the American Southwest in Balboa Park.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Nudist colony recreated in Balboa Park’s Zoro Garden!

Sign warns of simulated nudity at the Zoro Gardens in Balboa Park. It's a one day recreation of the historic 1935 nudist colony, arranged by Parkeology, supported by various art institutions.
Sign warns of simulated nudity at the Zoro Garden in Balboa Park. It’s a one day recreation of the historic 1935 nudist colony, arranged by Parkeology, supported by various art institutions.

The historic 1935 Zoro Garden Nudist Colony was recreated today in Balboa Park!

The unusual one day event was produced by Parkeology, an organization that according to their flyer “is a public art series that excavates sites, stories, and sense of our urban parks”.

In 1935, San Diego opened the California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park, trying to replicate the enormous success of the earlier 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The main intent of this “world’s fair” was to promote economic activity during the Great Depression. Various lowbrow entertainments created for the exposition were designed to lure a popular crowd.

Well, today’s recreation of the Zoro Garden Nudist Colony certainly did draw some eyeballs, and a very wide range of reactions!

It was interesting to note most participants appeared to be college age females. The literature suggests the motivation for the event was at least partly political, stating “the reincarnation of the 1935 nudist colony can be an accessible, diverse, intersectional, gender-non-conforming and body positive social experiment.”

One thing I know for certain. Take a walk through lively Balboa Park on any given day and you never know what surprises you might stumble upon!

Visitors to Balboa Park view a reenactment of the nudist colony that was a sensational attraction here during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
Visitors to Balboa Park view a reenactment of the nudist colony that was a sensational attraction here during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
A variety of placid picnic-like activities are undertaken by the supposed naturists. The literature suggests a political motivation--a body positive social experiment.
A variety of placid, picnic-like activities are undertaken by the supposed naturists.
Body suits worn by people in the Zoro Garden simulate nudity.
Flesh-colored bodysuits worn by people in the Zoro Garden simulate naked bodies.
A variety of reactions are provoked by this rather unusual sight in San Diego's most popular public park.
A variety of reactions were provoked by this rather unusual sight in a public park.
One of the nudist actors photographs another. One thing is for certain--one doesn't see this everyday!
One of the friendly “nude” actors photographs another. Not the sort of performance one often sees!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! Sometimes I encounter surprising things!  You can experience even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Fun works of art discovered around Balboa Park!

A cat snoozes near the front door of Studio 13 in Spanish Village Art Center.
A cat snoozes near the front door of Studio 13 in Spanish Village Art Center.

Here are some random photos of fun artwork around Balboa Park. Mind you, the park is jammed with beautiful art from one end to the other. New discoveries await around every corner.

These few glances I happen to like. I hope you enjoy them, too!

A mirror by the moon reflects colorful patio tiles near Studio 18.
A mirror by the moon reflects colorful patio tiles near Studio 18.
Stunning mermaid artwork on a wall near the entrance of Studio 18.
Enchanting mermaid artwork on a wall near the entrance of Studio 18.
A fun artistic bench awaits walkers with tired feet in Balboa Park's Spanish Village.
A fun artistic bench awaits walkers with tired feet in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.  (I guess a dog’s appreciation of art requires a nose.)
Studio 6 in Spanish Village has clay classes for kids! Call the painted phone number!
Studio 6 in Spanish Village has clay classes for kids! Call the painted phone number!
A drinking fountain on El Prado built into the House of Charm features elegant shell-like artwork.
A drinking fountain on El Prado built into the House of Charm features elegant shell-like artwork.
This fun street art was painted on an electrical box next to the building that is home to the San Diego Chess Club and Balboa Park Horseshoe Club.
This fun street art was painted on an electrical box next to the building that is home to the San Diego Chess Club and Balboa Park Horseshoe Club.
The friendly face of a Scotsman gazes upon visitors to the House of Scotland!
The friendly face of a Scotsman gazes upon visitors to the House of Scotland!
This stunning stained glass artwork depicting Budapest can be found inside the House of Hungary. The artist is Isabel Piczek.
This stunning stained glass artwork depicting Budapest can be found inside the House of Hungary. The artist is Isabel Piczek.
Art deco image underfoot at the entrance to the Municipal Gymnasium. In 1935, this new building was called the Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries, erected for Balboa Park's California Pacific International Exposition.
Art deco image underfoot at the entrance to the Municipal Gymnasium. In 1935, the new building was called the Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries, erected for Balboa Park’s California Pacific International Exposition.
Section of frieze on the Federal Building, home to the San Diego Hall of Champions. The artwork was designed in 1935 by Richard Requa, who was fascinated by pre-Columbian Mayan motifs.
Section of frieze on the Federal Building, now home to the San Diego Hall of Champions. The artwork was designed in 1935 by architect Richard Requa, who was fascinated by pre-Columbian Mayan motifs.
Tibetan art on display in a glass case outside the Mingei Museum. A fierce deity with a frightful appearance!
Tibetan art on display in a glass case outside the Mingei Museum. A fierce deity with a frightful appearance!
Looking upward at Spanish Colonial Revival ornamentation on the Casa de Balboa.
Looking upward at rich Spanish Colonial Revival ornamentation on the Casa de Balboa.
Artistic leaves among fallen leaves. Photo taken on stairs between Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality.
Artistic leaves among fallen leaves. Photo taken on stairs between Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality.
A colorfully spotted giraffe greets visitors to Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park!
A colorfully spotted giraffe greets visitors to Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

To read a short story that I wrote about how to paint angels, click here!

Sculpture and mural in Balboa Park Club’s grand foyer.

A historic sculpture and mural grace the grand foyer inside the Balboa Park Club.
A beautiful sculpture and large mural grace the grand foyer inside the Balboa Park Club.

Lovers of art should step inside the Balboa Park Club when visiting Balboa Park. The historic building’s grand foyer is dominated by two monumental works of art: a sculpture titled Four Cornerstones of American Democracy by Frederick Schweigardt, and a mural titled The Progress of Man by painter Belle Baranceanu. Both were created in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition.

Here are some photos. Please read the captions for more detailed explanations.

The Balboa Park Club is found directly west of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, in the area of Balboa Park called the Palisades.

The handsome Balboa Park Club building in San Diego's beautiful Balboa Park.
The handsome Balboa Park Club building in San Diego’s Balboa Park.
The Pueblo Revival-style Balboa Park Club was originally the New Mexico State Building at the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. It was remodeled in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition. (Click image to enlarge.)
The Pueblo Revival-style Balboa Park Club was originally the New Mexico State Building at the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. It was remodeled in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition. (Click image to read sign.)
Folk dancing is a common activity in the large 13,000 square foot ballroom inside the Balboa Park Club.
Folk dancing is a common activity in the large 13,000 square foot ballroom inside the Balboa Park Club.
Photo just inside the entrance to the Balboa Park Club, looking left.
Photo just inside the entrance to the Balboa Park Club, looking left.
Old photo of same fireplace on the left of the building's entrance hall, taken in 1915 during the Panama-California Exposition.
Old photo of same fireplace on the left of the building’s entrance hall, taken in 1915 during the Panama-California Exposition.
1915 photo of main facade of the New Mexico State Building during the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.
1915 photo of main facade of the New Mexico State Building during the Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.
Inside the Balboa Park Club's grand foyer, looking back toward the entrance. At the center stands the Four Cornerstones of American Democracy, a 1935 sculpture by Frederick Schweigardt.
Inside the Balboa Park Club’s grand foyer, looking back toward the entrance. At the center stands the Four Cornerstones of American Democracy, a 1935 sculpture by Frederick Schweigardt.
Frederick Schweigardt created the Four Cornerstones of American Democracy sculpture in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition. The building then was called the Palace of Education.
Frederick Schweigardt created the Four Cornerstones of American Democracy sculpture in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition. The building then was called the Palace of Education.
Bronze dancer atop the Four Cornerstones of American Democracy sculpture. The cornerstones are Home, School, Community and Church.
Bronze dancer atop the Four Cornerstones of American Democracy sculpture. The cornerstones depicted are Home, School, Community and Church.
The Progress of Man, a large mural painted by Belle Baranceanu in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition. Step into the Balboa Park Club building to see it!
The Progress of Man, a large mural painted by Belle Baranceanu in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition. Step into the Balboa Park Club building to see it!
Belle Baranceanu created The Progress of Man mural in 1935. It is a traditional subject, painted with a modernist sensibility. She also painted a mural for the La Jolla Post Office.
Belle Baranceanu created The Progress of Man mural in 1935. It is a traditional subject, painted with a modernist sensibility. She also painted a mural for the La Jolla Post Office.
Education, medicine, science and printing are subjects included in The Progress of Man mural.
Education, medicine, science and printing are subjects included in The Progress of Man mural.
Another close look at The Progress of Man mural, which depicts technology and society in 1935.
Another close look at The Progress of Man mural, which depicts technology and society in 1935.
Two beautiful, historic works of art can be experienced in the Balboa Park Club's grand foyer.
Two beautiful, historic works of art can be experienced in the Balboa Park Club’s grand foyer.  Simply step inside!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!