Creativity and joy thrive in Spanish Village!

A happy orange face dangles by a studio doorway in Balboa Park's welcoming Spanish Village Art Center.
A happy orange face dangles by a studio doorway in Balboa Park’s welcoming Spanish Village Art Center.

I can’t get enough of Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park. I love to meander through its colorful courtyard patio.

The place is magical. Dreamlike. A refuge. The cares of the world drop instantly away in Spanish Village.

It’s a place where creativity and joy thrive!

A sign tells visitors they've entered a magical world where creativity thrives.
A sign tells visitors they’ve entered a joyful world where creativity thrives.
Walking through Spanish Village, with fanciful architecture inspired by southern Spain, created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.
Walking through Spanish Village, with fanciful architecture inspired by southern Spain, created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.
A bright face peeks out from behind flowers near Studio 13.
A bright face peeks out from behind flowers near Studio 13.
A fun work of art hangs near the entrance to Studio 15, home of Doug Snider Ceramics.
A fun work of art hangs near the entrance to Studio 15, home of Doug Snider Ceramics.
Friendly local artist paints a surfboard on the table outside Studio 10.
Friendly local artist paints a surfboard on the table outside Studio 10.
Forest creatures look up from one of several painted benches in Spanish Village. You can find this fun art in front of the Southwestern Artists Association's Studio 23.
Forest creatures look up from one of several painted benches in Spanish Village. You can find this fun art in front of the Southwestern Artists Association’s Studio 23.
Some amazing art glass displayed outside Studio 19, where glassblowers work as visitors watch.
Some amazing art glass displayed outside Studio 19, where glassblowers create beauty as visitors watch.
More beautiful glass.
More fantastic glass.
Carefree people ride bikes through Spanish Village Art Center.
Carefree people ride bikes through sunny Spanish Village Art Center.
Some artwork on the patio pays tribute to beautiful Balboa Park.
Some artwork on the patio pays tribute to beautiful Balboa Park.
A sunflower painted on door to Studio 28.
A cheerful sunflower painted on door to Studio 28.
Come to Spanish Village and your eyes will be filled with creativity, joy and life wherever they turn.
Come to Spanish Village and your eyes will be filled with surprising creativity, joy and life wherever they turn.
I was graciously allowed to take a photo of the art glass inside Studio 25. A skylight turns many pieces into shining jewels.
I was graciously allowed to take a photo of the art glass inside Studio 25. A skylight transforms many pieces into shining jewels.
Back outside, where I took a photo of a colorful door through glassware.
Back outside, where I took a photo of a colorful door through glassware.
One table on the patio is like an enormous, cheerful yellow flower.
One table on the patio is like an enormous, cheerful yellow flower.
Visitors to Spanish Village Art Center are invited to build a spirit totem.
Visitors to Spanish Village Art Center are invited to build a spirit totem.
A friendly artist of the Studio 36 Sculptors Guild interacts with a potential buyer. Their courtyard is overflowing with imaginative sculptures.
A friendly artist of the Studio 36 Sculptors Guild interacts with a potential buyer. Their courtyard is overflowing with imaginative sculptures.
Amusing sculpted creatures greet visitors to the Studio 36 outdoor courtyard.
Amusing sculpted creatures greet visitors to the Studio 36 outdoor courtyard.
A shining jester.
A shining jester.
A simian in a space rocket.
A simian in a space rocket.
Like a joyful dream world where fantasy and imagination have come to life.
Like a joyful dream world where fantasy and imagination have come to life.
Dreamers...
Dreamers…
Come again. Bring friends.
Come again. Bring friends.

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!

A colorful Frida Kahlo sculpture at Spanish Village!

The colorful, unmistakable likeness of Frida Kahlo now stands at the main entrance to Spanish Village in Balboa Park!
A colorful sculpture of Frida Kahlo now stands at the entrance to Spanish Village in Balboa Park!

Look what recently appeared at the main entrance to Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park! An amazing glass mosaic sculpture of Frida Kahlo!

The eye-catching piece is titled Frida. It’s a collaboration between two talented artists who show their work in Spanish Village: Yuriy Akopov and Ilya Idelchik.

According to a nearby sign, Frida is available for purchase at the San Diego Sculptors Guild in Spanish Village’s Gallery 36.

If you think this shiny, very colorful piece closely resembles the world-famous sculptures of Niki de Saint Phalle, you’re correct! Years ago, while he worked with the company Art Mosaic, Yuriy’s own hands helped to create Niki’s fantastic artwork!

A sleek glass mosaic sculpture of Frida Kahlo greets visitors to Spanish Village Art Center!
A sleek glass mosaic sculpture of Frida Kahlo greets visitors to Spanish Village Art Center!

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!

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.

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Balboa Park becomes more beautiful one Friday morning.

San Diego Park and Recreation Department workers paint a wall one Friday morning in Balboa Park.
San Diego Park and Recreation Department workers paint a wall in Balboa Park one Friday morning.

During my walk through Balboa Park this morning, I saw lots of people out and about working to beautify the park. It’s Friday, which means another busy weekend is just around the corner…

Cleaning the Plaza de California near the Museum of Man with a blower.
Cleaning the Plaza de California near the Museum of Man with a blower.
Another worker clears leaves with a blower by the Niki de Saint Phalle Nikigator sculpture.
Another worker clears leaves and litter with a blower by the Niki de Saint Phalle Nikigator sculpture.
Working on some underground repairs in the outdoor courtyard of the House of Hospitality, near Donal Hord's sculpture Woman of Tehuantepec.
Working on some underground repairs in the outdoor courtyard of the House of Hospitality, near Donal Hord’s iconic sculpture Woman of Tehuantepec.
Restoration work if being done on this facade by the reflecting pool. Sadly, a vandal must have climbed the scaffolding and spray painted graffiti.
Restoration work if being done on this facade by the reflecting pool. Sadly, a vandal must have climbed the scaffolding and spray painted graffiti.
Raking between enormous roots behind the Botanical Building!
Raking between enormous roots behind the Botanical Building!
Some work is going on to fix up the front entrance of the San Diego History Center.
Some work is going on to fix up the front entrance of the San Diego History Center.
More leaf blowing in the Plaza de Panama.
More leaf blowing in the Plaza de Panama near the Museum of Art’s Sculpture Garden Court.
A Park and Rec worker gathers up some garbage one Friday morning, preparing for the weekend.
A Park and Rec worker gathers up some garbage one Friday morning, preparing for the inevitable weekend crowds.
A tree trimming service removes fallen eucalyptus trees in Palm Canyon. This year's winter storms have knocked many large trees over.
A tree trimming service removes fallen eucalyptus trees in Palm Canyon. This year’s winter storms have knocked many large trees over.
Some of the enormous eucalyptus trunks weigh many tons.
Some of the enormous eucalyptus trunks weigh many tons.
A truck dumps mulch, with the Balboa Park Club rising in the background.
A truck dumps mulch, with the Balboa Park Club rising in the background.
Mowing the green lawn at the International Cottages.
Mowing the green lawn at the International Cottages one quiet Friday morning.

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!

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!

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!