The faces of the Panama-California Sculpture Court.

Anglo-Saxon Queen, 1914. Staff plaster original statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Anglo-Saxon Queen, 1914. Staff plaster original statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.

Visitors walking through the Panama-California Sculpture Court in the Casa del Prado are greeted by many unexpected faces–faces that peer out of San Diego’s past.

The sculptures in the building’s courtyard were used in various ways to decorate the facades of buildings in Balboa Park during its colorful history. Most of the pieces are made of staff, which is a type of plaster reinforced with fibers. The artwork in the Panama-California Sculpture Court was rescued in 1975, found abandoned in a corner of the Casa de Balboa.

Please read the photo captions for information about each piece.

One of several fantastic pieces of rescued art in the Panama-California Sculpture Court at the Casa del Prado.
One of several fantastic pieces of rescued art in the Panama-California Sculpture Court at the Casa del Prado.
Religion, 1914. Original staff plaster statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Religion, 1914. Original staff plaster statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Mission Indian Head Pilaster, 1914. Staff plaster original from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Mission Indian Head Pilaster, 1914. Staff plaster original from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Spanish Conquistador, 1914. Staff plaster original vignette from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Spanish Conquistador, 1914. Staff plaster original vignette from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Grotesque Mask, 1914. Original staff plaster statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Grotesque Mask, 1914. Original staff plaster statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Angel Head Pilaster, 1914. Staff plaster original ornamentation from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Angel Head Pilaster, 1914. Staff plaster original ornamentation from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Junipero Serra Memorial, 1914. Staff plaster original ornamentation from the Food Products Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Junipero Serra Memorial, 1914. Staff plaster original ornamentation from the Food Products Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Angel Head Finial, 1971. Unused cast concrete replica of 1914 original, for the reconstruction of the building now known as the Casa del Prado. Christian Mueller, Jr., modeler.
Angel Head Finial, 1971. Unused cast concrete replica of 1914 original, for the reconstruction of the building now known as the Casa del Prado. Christian Mueller, Jr., modeler.
Velazquez, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Velazquez, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Murillo, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Murillo, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Zurbaran, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Zurbaran, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.

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!

Advertisements

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!

Faces sing, play pipes at Spreckels Organ Pavilion!

Two young faces sing together on Balboa Park's outdoor Spreckels Organ Pavilion. The ornamentation is composed of plaster of Paris mixed with coir fiber.
Two youth sing together.  Decoration on Balboa Park’s outdoor Spreckels Organ Pavilion. The faces are composed of plaster of Paris mixed with coir fiber.

Like many of the buildings created for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park, the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is decorated lavishly with unique plaster ornamentation. The impressive structure with its sweeping, semi-circular colonnade, designed by Harrison Albright in the Italian-Renaissance style, contains many sculptural figures and motifs, including human faces.

The other day I took a close look at the organ pavilion building and its colonnade. I noticed a number of different faces singing or playing pipes. Here they are!

The organ isn't playing and the benches are empty, but many still wander into the historic pavilion to marvel at its unique beauty.
The organ isn’t playing and the benches are empty, but many still wander into the historic pavilion to marvel at its unique beauty.
An exotic face made of plaster for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park appears to be singing.
An exotic face made of plaster for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park appears to be singing.
A youthful musician plays the pipes. Many figures made of plaster decorate the pavilion which is home to the majestic Spreckels pipe organ in Balboa Park.
A youthful musician plays the pipes. Many beautiful figures made of plaster decorate the pavilion which is home to the majestic Spreckels pipe organ in Balboa Park.
A cherub sings inside the pavilion's colonnade.
A cherub sings inside the pavilion’s colonnade.
Perhaps this is Pan playing the pipes--or just an ordinary person who loves making music.
Perhaps this is the Greek god Pan playing his pipes–or just an ordinary person who loves making music.

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!

Lions seen roaming free throughout Balboa Park!

One of two lions guarding the entrance to the Hall of Nations at Balboa Park's International Cottages.
One of two lions guarding the entrance to the Hall of Nations at Balboa Park’s International Cottages.

A multitude of dangerous lions have been spotted roaming free throughout Balboa Park! They leap at visitors unexpectedly, right out of the blue! Is no one safe?

I wandered about the park today and managed to capture some photos of the wayward lions, just in case you don’t believe me. But thank goodness. At no time was I in danger.

A large, fierce lion was seen lurking near the entrance of the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad tunnel!
A large, fierce lion was seen prowling near the entrance of the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad tunnel! Oops–that actually appears to be a work of art–a fantastic mosaic tile sculpture!
A fierce lion romps in a circle with other colorful animals at the historic 1910 Balboa Park Carousel.
A fierce lion romps in a circle with other fantastic animals at the historic 1910 Balboa Park Carousel.
The lion and other fun animals of the carousel are Herschell-Spillman creations, originally hand-carved in North Tonawanda, New York.
The lion and other fun animals of the carousel are Herschell-Spillman creations, originally hand-carved in North Tonawanda, New York.
One of several lion heads high on the happy carousel.
One of several lion heads high on the happy musical carousel.
And another lion on the hunt! Many nostalgic carnival-like images grace the antique carousel.
And another lion on the hunt! Many nostalgic carnival-like images grace Balboa Park’s antique carousel.
A golden lion lurks above the front door inside the House of Scotland!
A golden lion lurks above the front door inside the House of Scotland!
A lion's head roars out a fountain of water in the Casa del Rey Moro Garden.
A lion’s head roars out a fountain of water in the Casa del Rey Moro Garden.
A small fuzzy lion cub peers out of the window of the San Diego History Center's gift shop!
A small fuzzy lion cub peers out of the window of the San Diego History Center’s gift shop!
A koala and lion hang out together at the entrance to the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park.
A koala and lion hang out together at the entrance to the world-famous San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park.
And even more lions have been spotted in Balboa Park, in the mural that wraps around the WorldBeat Cultural Center's old water tower!
And even more lions have been spotted in Balboa Park, in the large mural that wraps around the WorldBeat Cultural Center’s old repurposed water tower!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk . . . and have a bit of fun!

You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Fun images on colored tiles in Spanish Village!

A cat, palm fronds, clouds and other happy images catch the eye while walking through Spanish Village Art Center.
A cat, palm fronds, clouds and other happy images catch the eye while walking through Spanish Village Art Center.

I was walking through Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park today when I spied some fun images painted on the patio’s colored tiles, right in front of Studio 16B. This studio is the home of several local artists, and in it you can admire beautiful works of pottery, jewelry, painting and more! I hope you enjoy these few photos!

A visitor to Balboa Park in San Diego walks along the colorful patio of Spanish Village. Some fun images can be found in front of Studio 16B.
A visitor to Balboa Park in San Diego walks across the colorful patio of Spanish Village. Some fun images can be found in front of Studio 16B.
Studio 16B is the home of several talented local San Diego artists. As you can see, this photo was taken during Christmas.
Studio 16B is the home of several talented local San Diego artists. As you can see, this photo was taken during Christmas.
More fun designs on the colored patio tiles include another cat and a swirl.
More fun designs on the colored patio tiles include another cat and a purple swirl.
A lizard on two tiles, and some swirly colored lines.
A red lizard on two tiles, and some colored waves.
Whoever painted these tiles must like cats!
Whoever painted these tiles must like cats!

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!

Beautiful Christmas trees made of green corks!

A fun gingerbread house can be found in Balboa Park's very creative Spanish Village Art Center during this holiday season.
A fun gingerbread house can be found in Balboa Park’s very creative Spanish Village Art Center during this holiday season.

Walk through Spanish Village Art Center this holiday season and you’ll see beautiful artwork everywhere. Including Christmas trees made of green corks!

Looks like a fun project! That’s a lot of wine bottles!

The beautifully textured Christmas trees have been artfully made from bottle corks!
The beautifully textured Christmas trees have been artfully made from bottle corks!
A forest of Christmas trees made of green-colored corks is the backdrop for Frosty the Snowman and some carolers.
A forest of Christmas trees made of green-colored corks is the backdrop for Frosty the Snowman and some carolers.

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!