Category Archives: Art

Wrapping Up The Year

treeimageDreams realized.

Sometimes I get paralyzed and can’t write. I have a hard time distinguishing what would be the best thing to share because I experience so much in this amazing city every week. I’m continuing to meet new people and I’m deepening relationships with friends I’ve met over the last four months. I’m witnessing wonderful, learning experiences in my classroom and I’ve (almost) memorized the names of my 240 students. I’m getting involved with organizations and continuing to explore art galleries, museums and the many little streets and shops in Istanbul.

Time is moving at an incredible pace. The end of another year will be here shortly and when I reflect on my Annual Review this year, it will show the satisfaction of a goal realized; a goal that began 7 years ago with a free trip I won to Paris and London.

PortaxeI am entirely grateful. My life is rich beyond measure. Somehow I was fortunate enough to get a job at a great school in a culturally rich city. Recently my school gave us an evening at Portaxe, a beautiful restaurant, on the shores of the Bosphorus. This was in recognition of Teacher Appreciation Day, an actual day on the Turkish calendar, in which teachers are given gifts of love. It is so nice to be in a country that actually appreciates its teachers! As we entered Portaxe, we were greeted with trays of cocktails and the evening was celebrated with an open bar, delicious food, live band and lots of dancing! This past week we were given a beautifully wrapped box containing a personalized bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and deliciously rich Christmas fruit cake.

PAWI11.9.13Two of the very best discoveries of moving to Istanbul are two organizations I’ve joined called FWI (Foreign Women of Istanbul) and PAWI (Professional American Women of Istanbul). FWI operates with a Facebook presence and these remarkable women can answer any question about Istanbul that is put before them, including, “Where can I find marshmallows in Istanbul?” and my recent question of “Are banks open on Sunday?” PAWI meetings are monthly and rotate between Asia Istanbul and Europe Istanbul. Their meetings always include guest speakers. Since I’ve been here, our speakers have included a psychologist, who shared her experiences of working with people on the residual effects of the Gezi protests, a historian-artist-writer who just published her second book, Drawing on Istanbul 2,  and the Adahan Hotel and Restaurant owner who spoke to us about the years of sacrifice she and her husband gave to an 1874 building, bringing it back from the dead and turning it into a thriving business.  The discussions and knowledge base of these women is broad. Some are attorneys, others writers. Some work in marketing, others as translators. Some are owners of restaurants and hotels and some work in banking and education. Within these groups I’m finding many new friends, each with her own unique story of how it is she lives in Istanbul.

I’m happy to report that I’ve also experienced my first snowfall in Istanbul. It was gorgeous! It not only snowed in Istanbul, it snowed all over the Middle East and we quickly learned how Cairo, Egypt got snow for the first time in 122 years! After easing myself down the hill that morning, and into my warm classroom, I was shocked at the beauty outside my wall of windows. The sight continued to amaze my students and I all day long as nature painted a frozen picture across the landscape. Although we were graciously given two days of early release, I was hoping for a snow day so I could somehow get to Aya Sophia, lay down in its courtyard and make a snow angel, as I’d heard of some teachers doing last year.

MiroThe availability of world-class art continues to amaze me. Last week I went with a Turkish friend to the Miro Exhibition. I found it difficult to concentrate on the beautiful artwork because I was distracted by the amazing architecture. The exhibition building was a canon factory during the Ottoman Empire and I could not keep my eyes from wandering to the domes of the brick ceiling. After leaving, we wandered down antique-filled streets, twisting and turning, as all Istanbul streets do, and walked by Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence. We made a quick decision to view that collection another day.

choirThat evening I was able to listen to a friend sing in a choral concert at the British Consulate. Because of the bombing at this British Consulate in 2003, its grounds are heavily guarded and security is ever-present. Walking past photos of Queen Elizabeth and ancient looking framed documents, I noticed how elegantly the Christmas decorations were placed; fully regal, yet understated and charming. The singing was beautiful and transported me to thoughts of peace.

This week I will be flying to another distant, far-away place. I will spend the Christmas holiday with a friend that I met at the SEARCH Associates Boston International Job Fair last year! She got a job, that wretched, blizzard weekend, at an IB school in Switzerland, and she now lives there with her daughter. We’ve deepened our friendship over the months over Skype calls and we are eager to see each other again and share stories of the first half of our school year.

In these last few days of 2013, I want to challenge you to set your own plan in place. Kick the rock to start its tumble down the hill. Don’t be afraid to make your dream happen. This beautiful place I live- this dream that I’m living- did not happen overnight. I started planning it in 2006-almost eight years ago! Time goes quickly and life is such a gift. As we quietly pass into 2014, I wish you love, peace, health and inspiration. Be well!

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Tour on a Rooftop

Me on roof of Grand Bazaar.In the distance.

I didn’t have to work on Thanksgiving but it wasn’t because of pilgrims, Indians, cranberries or pumpkin pie. A few days before Thanksgiving we received a welcomed email. Our school had been selected to host a national Turkish test and classes would be cancelled on Thursday. Although the forecast showed a rainy, cool day, this unforeseen holiday would allow me to go on a walking/photography tour in the massive Grand Bazaar that I’d heard about through a friend.

It was tempting to keep the covers pulled up over me in bed that morning, but I forced myself out and I’m so glad I did! Like I’ve said before, every time I step out my front door, I am whisked away into an adventure-filled wonderland and this was no exception.

Inside Gate 2; Grand BazaarMonica Fritz is a photographer in Istanbul and she knows the ends and outs of the Grand Bazaar like the back of her hand. She’s lived here many years and offers walking tours specifically for people who want to have photo opps in wild and unexpected places. This tour promised its attendees rooftop scenes from the James Bond movie, Skyfall. Rain or shine, I couldn’t allow this opportunity to slip through my fingers so I rolled out of bed and onto the wet streets of Istanbul.

The Grand Bazaar is just shy of 600,000 square feet in size. It is beyond enormous and you can easily get lost inside its maze-like streets. It is the oldest and largest covered bazaar in the entire world. From information inside a brochure I picked up while there, I learned that it has 21 entrances, 66 streets, almost 4,000 shops and employs more than 30,000 people. Mehmet II built the earliest structures after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453. It was hoped that the sales from merchants would provide financial resources for Hagia Sophia. For centuries it was the center of commerce, handicraft and finance in the Mediterranean and Near East. The two oldest buildings in the bazaar, called bedestens, provide examples of classical Ottoman architecture. It is so big and so confusing inside, I have been resistant to go there since arriving here in August. I dipped inside once on my vacation here in 2011, but haven’t been back since. It’s intimidating both in it’s size, its confusion of whereabouts and in the way the merchants call out and haggle to passersby. But to go and explore its passageways with someone who knows its secret stairwells and courtyards, and who knows the merchants themselves, would be an entirely different experience.

Once inside the maze, I was grateful to have a guide. We entered Gate (entrance) #2, and then twisted and turned ourselves through the silver and gold section, went down a few dark hallways and up shadowed staircases, and then found ourselves in a han or caravanserai. These are beautiful, u-shaped open courtyards that are surrounded by two or three-storied buildings. During the Ottoman Empire, merchants who travelled here from afar, to sell their goods, would feed and keep their animals, such as camels or donkeys, in the courtyards and stay in the inns above. Merchant workshops have replaced the sleeping quarters within the hans, called hucre (cell) and they face the rectangular inner court. Monica knows many of the merchants and we were able to photograph them at work on their wares and leisurely shop in their cramped quarters. Monica took us off the beaten trail. We didn’t see many people in these quiet courtyards and hallways. The majority of the public was shopping in the buzzing, loud, main streets of the bazaar.

During our 5-hour tour, sometimes we’d step inside the main bazaar and go down a few streets, but then we’d twist and turn and go through small, hidden doors and up a few staircases and then find ourselves on the roof, for example! She took us out onto the roof, for spectacular views, three times, but she waited until the end of the tour to take us on the rooftop where the scenes from the James Bond movie Skyfall were shot. It was so amazing! Even under cloudy skies, pockets of sunshine pointed at minarets and the river and its bridges were easily seen. Surprisingly, the roof looks like a street too! Looking down, we could see people walking on the roof sidewalks, just going about their business like normal. We even saw a dog up there walking around!

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After we came back inside, we visited a few more merchants and then several of us chose to eat a late lunch at a wonderful restaurant called Pedaliza, located just outside the textile area of the bazaar. We were relieved to warm up with corba, ekmek and chai (soup, bread and tea). I hope all my American friends enjoyed their Thanksgiving weekend as much as I did. I am constantly thankful for all that I have, including all the new friends I made on the roof.

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Zor Who?

Swanky.

The Jersey Boys billboardAs I understand it, construction started about six years ago. Four sleek, contemporary high rises are just around the corner, and up the hill, from me. All I have to say is “Zorlu Center” and taxi drivers can get me close to the neighborhood I live in from anywhere in the city. When I arrived in Istanbul in August, I was told that this building complex would house offices, a hotel, residences, an upscale designer mall, top restaurants, a performing arts theater and cinema. It has looked finished from the outside for the past few months, but, at night, while passing by in taxi, I’ve seen workers feverishly constructing on the interior. It looked marvelous!—and it is! The Zorlu Center opened about a month ago and soon after, a friend at school organized a group event, for those interested, to see The Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. This is one of the first productions to be performed on this new stage.

Of course I bought a ticket! Who could resist? As the event date approached, several of us decided to make a night of it and dine at the new Jamie Oliver restaurant, located in the Zorlu Center! I’m not much of a cook, but I’d heard of the famous British chef from one of my friends in the UK. Chef Jamie is not only known from TV shows and cookbooks, he has been a voice in the campaign against the use of processed foods in national schools. He is most interested in improving unhealthy diets in the UK and the USA and he made a believer out of me last night! The food was DELICIOUS and so beautifully prepared! As a vegetarian, I’ve not had the best of luck in menu selections here in the city, but that is not the case at this eatery. The atmosphere was trendy casual, not stuffy formal. Afterwards, we made our way to Gloria Jean’s for a coffee and then on to the show!

I didn’t realize all the songs that the Four Seasons made famous! The entire night we were chair dancing and singing along. In some ways, it made me wish for home, as I watched the life stories unfold of these young men, from poor backgrounds, who became successes. Their stories are like many people who find riches and fame; poor choices can ruin a life that has so much potential.

outsideescThe songs were stuck in my head all night. Big Girls Don’t Cry, Sherry, Oh, What A Night, My Eyes Adored You, Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, Working My Way Back To You and Rag Doll to name a few. I typically wander the ancient streets and neighborhoods of Istanbul. This experience showed an affluent and contemporary side of Istanbul. East meets West; Old meets New.

Istanbul has the best of both worlds.

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Anish is bliss


Anish Kapoor
Me and my art buddy.

Every weekend for the past month, I’ve been climbing stairs, high and low, and in and out of a variety of city districts, to look at contemporary art in this great city. The 13th Istanbul Biennale started on September 14, 2013, and a wide variety of galleries, museums and public art spaces have put their best foot forward. Amazing exhibitions and installations are being shown from one corner of the city to another.

Before I left the USA, I was reading many blogs about Istanbul written by people that were living here. When the riots started in June, I used these sources to stay abreast on the conditions in the neighborhoods that I soon would call home. Through my research, I came across a blog that I enjoyed because of the rich photos and personal commentary. After reading many articles, I decided to write the author and compliment her on her work of maintaining her blog. As it turns out, she wrote me back. Then I wrote again, etc., etc., and low and behold, once I moved here in August, we met face-to-face and have become friends. She, too, is an artist and we both belong to PAWI (Professional American Women in Istanbul) and Artists in Istanbul. My new friend, who has lived here almost a year, knows the city, and its language, better than I do. With Google maps in hand (and on iPhone), we’ve started conquering these exhibitions, one neighborhood at a time.

When I step into these venues, and catch my breath, I think, “I’m going to write about this!” but then I go to the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that, and by the end of the day, I’m completely confused on what to write about. Too much to choose from! Today, I’ve decided to share with you photos from the stellar Anish Kapoor show at Sakip Sabanci Muzesi, north past Babek and close to the shores of the Bosphorus.

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Anish Kapoor is an Indian-Brit. His work being shown here in Istanbul covers the last 25 years of his career. As I looked at the monumental pieces of steel and marble I kept wondering how they got here; how did those enormous pieces make their way into this beautiful, but crowded, neighborhood on the Bosphorus? I rode the bus to get there and it took an hour. It’s not that far of distance, but the roads were so crowded with cars, motorcycles, buses, melon carts, pedestrians that it felt like I’d never arrive. Did the sculptures float up the Bosphorus on a barge? Did they arrive on a truck up the steep hills of the city? This would have been an interesting installation to see!

Americans may know his large, chrome-like “bean” the best. It sits in Chicago’s Millennium Park and is wildly popular. The sculpture’s title is actually, Cloud Gate and, although it went way over budget (to the tune of about $25 million) the city of Chicago and its residents love it! His most recent piece, Ark Nova, is a one-of-a-kind inflatable concert hall in Japan.

I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves. The work was mesmerizing and provoked curiosity. How did he do this? Were the pieces fabricated by machines? How many assistants does he have? I’m so fortunate to have been able to see this exhibition. It’s up through January sometime in the event you want to see it!

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Shipwrecked

Into the depths.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hidden_Harbor_Mystery, Author: Franklin W. Dixon, Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
The_Hidden_Harbor_Mystery,
Author: Franklin W. Dixon,
Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap

Noticing that I would soon be accompanying Grade 5 students to the Istanbul Archeological Museum during their Ancient Civilizations Unit of Inquiry, I invited a friend from Ireland to go with me and check it out. I wanted to get my bearings before taking the students and I’m so glad I did! Although we only made it into two of the three vast buildings, our eyes and minds were full from the experience. The museum houses artifacts from the centuries and it would be nearly impossible to see everything in one day. As in many ancient cities, there is scaffolding and renovations happening all around the grounds. I can’t imagine the expense of taking care of an ancient city! One could easily start digging in a grassy garden and unearth an ancient arch, pottery or who knows what! This modern city has been built on top of many cities that came before it. Although the treasures of this fine museum are remarkable, I was most captivated by a special exhibition called Stories From The Harbor, Shipwrecks of Yenikapi.

Just south of Sultanahmet, the popular tourist part of the city, where many famous Istanbul mosques and shopping bazaars are located, lays the Sea of Marmara and the Theodosian harbour. In 2004, during a transportation project that was underway, a great discovery was made. Under the sea, in an area called Yenikapi, a total of 37 shipwrecks were found, unbelievably preserved in a water grave. The Yenikapi wrecks constitute the largest collection of shipwrecks ever found in one place. These thrity-seven boats vary from long warships (galleys) to sea-going traders and even include small, local trading vessels. The boats date from the 5th-11th centuries and included a surprising artifact inventory. This amazing archeological find sheds light not only on the trade business of the harbor city, and Byzantine capital, Constantinople, but on vessels of the period and everyday life during the Ottoman and Byzantine periods.

The special exhibition was of the highest caliber. Multimedia video and interactive displays delighted and mesmerized me as I pushed buttons to see how a thunderstorm at sea could easily set a ship off course and lead to its demise. Other videos showed the common trade routes through this area of the world and gave information on what was carried on the ships. Not only did they carry a plethora of vessels but also coins, jewelry, candles, leather sandals and rigging equipment, to include ropes and anchors. I was most surprised to see nuts and seeds, like peach seeds and walnut shells, on display. Skeletons are also a part of the findings and provide a frightening reminder about all the lives that have been lost at sea. Another video, with the speed of a factory, showed how these beautiful, old ships were crafted.

As we were leaving we stopped by a beautiful, outdoor café on the grounds for a cup of tea. The tables were placed amongst the many ruins and helped to provide a lovely time of reflection.

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Pioneer Teachers

Turkish Tea with FriendsI’ve been thinking about American teachers of the past, who traveled for days, by stagecoach, or on horseback, across miles of dusty trails, to fulfill a longing to move to a new place, meet a new community and to teach young children. Over the past two weeks I have likely experienced many similar feelings and adjustments. After arriving in Istanbul on August 12, I have begun to explore my new city, I have met an ever-increasing new community of lovely people and I have started to adjust to a new teaching pedagogy in hopes that I will be able to ensure a lifetime love of learning to my young students. It’s been so completely overwhelming to all of my senses, my head’s been spinning since I got here!

Istanbul is all (and more!) that I remember it to be from my travels here in 2011. I live in the neighborhood of Ulus, in Ortakoy, a beautiful, historically rich environment full of new sights, new tastes and smells, new sounds and new textures. My legs are getting stronger every day from walking up miles of marble stairs and down long, winding, brick roadways. This host country is fascinating beyond belief and I’m guessing the two years of my contract will pass quickly. I fear there won’t be enough time to see it all.

Upon my brisk arrival, and clearance through customs, at the Ataturk Airport at 7:00 pm, I was wisked away to deliver my belongings into my lovely, furnished apartment. After dumping my containers inside the door and having a quick look around, a small group of us set off on an excursion that took us to the edge of the Bosphorus. It was dreamlike. Bouncing lights off the bridge, rushing taxis on the narrow streets, wafting fragrances from street vendors and hearing strange dialects all around me caused a swarming, full force, into my sleep-starved head.

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The quick motion never stopped. I was transported through various experiences, in full sensory overload for days, meeting people of many nations, testing my tongue to this new language, and adopting a new style of teaching art to a group of children outside my experience realm.

I am happy. I’ve been dreaming of this experience for years, never quite understanding how dramatically new and exciting it would be. I had to experience it, and now I’m living it. These are things I’ve already learned that I want to share:

  • Fill your days with happiness.
  • Go so far out of your comfort zone that you have no choice but to become dependent on others.
  • Have an open heart and an open mind to endless possibilities.
  • Consider opinions that are very different from your own and that you previously hadn’t.
  • Listen to people’s stories.
  • Let people help you.
  • Learn to be friends with people very different from you.
  • Learn what people from other countries think of your country.

I’m learning about all these things. Thanks for traveling with me.

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Bye, Bye Miss American Pie

alliswellFly away.

A friend compared it to living inside a hair dryer, and it’s true. The blissful temperatures of San Diego made for a rude awakening when I arrived in Dallas this week. 105-degree temperatures help me let go of this place I’ve called home for 28 years.

I’ve been able to see some folks, but mostly I’ve been packing and re-packing and making difficult decisions on what to take with me, and what to leave, for the hundredth time. My school gave me a generous excess baggage allowance, but my international teacher friends reminded me to be ruthless and to only bring absolute necessities. They told me that whatever I heaved over, I’d have to hoist back. Meditating on this thought caused me to clear out the contents of one more container.

Three international teacher friends I’ve made this year have already departed to their new countries: one to Switzerland, one to China and one to Ethiopia. During the stressful days of interviewing at recruitment fairs, the connections you make with people are emotional and friendships can develop quickly. I look forward to staying in touch with these friends and comparing their new experiences to mine.

My favorite hours spent this week were with my Mom. We went out to breakfast two times, talked non-stop and watched a special TV series on Istanbul called, “A Short History of the World.” She is excited for me and I hope she can come visit one day and see the great, preserved histories of the Byzantine, Ottoman and Roman empires. She recently sent me a newspaper article about a young, mid-western man who has been living in Istanbul. Within the article, this quote, from Missouri native, Mark Twain, resonated with me:

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the Earth all of one’s lifetime.

This is one of the truest things I have ever read and describes my feelings exactly. I started dreaming of teaching overseas when I first visited Europe in 2006. Since then, I’ve been unraveling a big tangle of ideas and possibilities to make this dream come true. And here I am today, a few hours from arriving at the DFW Airport, about to fly 6,278 miles (think of the mileage points!!) to Istanbul. And yet, I’m already starting to dream about the next thing. I’ve learned to never stop dreaming, and casting your net, for all things are possible!

Please be patient with me as I begin to assimilate all that I’ll be involved with during the next few weeks. Two caring teachers, who remember what it’s like to be a newbie, have been organizing social outings for the next couple of weeks and I’m grateful. I’m sure I’ll be gathering many ideas to blog about!

The last few days I’ve been remembering back to all that I’ve done in the past two years, to make this dream a reality. It seemed overwhelming at first: finding ways to earn extra money, going through all my possessions and determining what to keep, store or sell, sorting through all my art supplies and artwork, and re-examining every area of my life, but I took baby steps, one day at a time, and it happened.  I’m not special. I’m not doing anything that isn’t available to everyone. What’s your dream? You can make it happen.

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JOB NOTICE

Hello my readers!

I was just contacted by MEF International School (my new school) that they have an urgent need to fill a Grade 2 Homeroom Teacher position. This could be YOU! Write me for more information!

Color Field of Love

ANITAfloorRow after row.

Excited to live as a San Diegan for two months, I leapt into figuring out how to participate in the city’s activities upon my arrival almost a month ago. Without a doubt, this city is full of delights to participate in year round. Reading on the website of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego I couldn’t believe what I saw: an open call for art assistants for Liza Lou! An internationally recognized artist, Lou currently lives in South Africa, and is best known for constructing large installations and artworks out of very teeny-tiny beads. I remember noticing photographs of her installation, Kitchen about ten years ago in a magazine article and I’ve been interested in her work ever since. Her work blows my mind! Seed beads, really? Immediately I wrote the museum staff and pleaded my case to be selected for three days of installation work with Lou. Within days, I was notified that I indeed would be able to participate in this installation team. This past week many volunteer members of the community worked with Lou and helped transform her vision into a physical artwork that an audience of many could enjoy.

Lou employs about thirty people in her studio in South Africa and she is fully aware of how important her continuing work is to their livelihood. Our “teammates” in South Africa had already manipulated the materials for three years before they arrived in our hands this week! Strands of beautiful custom-ordered-from-Japan glass beads were already threaded onto stainless steel wire and organized in beautiful boxes by color. Precise labeling and documentation was obvious. Foam Core type boards were cut, drilled, wrapped and labeled as well. After a short introduction and instruction, we began inserting the wired-beads into the drilled holes. Each tile had 576 holes and I found that I could complete about 4 tiles in three hours. I might have been able to complete more, but talking with friends at our tables made the time go quickly. When complete, Color Field would cover the main gallery floor of the MCASD Jacobs Building floor like a carpet. If you find yourself in the San Diego area, the public opening will be this coming Friday night.

When I asked Lou about the concept of Color Field, her answer was simple.

She said it is about Love.

anitaliza

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Painting The City

Big CatWalking around.

Like many cities around the world, getting around as a pedestrian is quite normal in San Diego. Taking advantage of the amazing weather temps, I’ve been walking in a new direction almost each day to simply explore. From my front door, going south is the famous Balboa Park; to the north is the wonderfully hip neighborhood, University Heights that has wall-to-wall, trendy, craft breweries and restaurants; to the west is Hillcrest, the PRIDE of the city; and to the east is the neighborhood of North Park, full of good eateries and unique shops, but also brimming with Craftsman cottages and bungalows. No matter which direction I go, there is always much to see.

Out on the streets, it doesn’t take long to notice the assortment of beautifully painted public art murals on the sides of buildings. These handcrafted masterpieces are available for all to enjoy and when I walk past, I can’t help but grab my camera.

Located at the intersection of University Avenue and Richmond Street, in Hillcrest, at an open-air coffee shop called Filter, local artist, Cody Griffith, painted captivating, luscious purple tigers! As I understand it, the coffee shop provided Griffith the art supplies and allowed him to paint whatever he wished.

Less than a mile away, at 425 Robinson Avenue, on the side of a building that houses Crest Café, Griffith painted a beautiful elephant with some of the same vibrant hues as in the tiger. In 2012, the owner commissioned this mural to commemorate the café’s 30th year in business.

Before I Die I Want ToA little further east on University Avenue, Andrew Barajas and his daughter, Emma, painted an exterior wall of the Alibi Bar with the internationally recognized Before I die global campaign, first started by founding artist, Candy Chang. The wall holds the aspirations and dreams of many and is washed at least once a day, giving way for a new set of dreams to be documented. The giant chalkboard has 98 blanks that can be filled in by pedestrians on this busy corner, with provided, colored chalk . Watch this video for a smile.

In North Park, at 3038 University Avenue, in the Undisputed Martial Arts Building, another ambitions and completely unique public art mural installation captured my attention.

Signed at the top as Cat Cult, I later learned that this is a Los Angeles collective and collaborative group of artists who have an affinity for feline motifs.

2012 Kony mural San DiegoVandalized twice in 2012, along the wall of Kelly’s Treasures Thrift Store at 815 University Avenue, a mural dedicated to the Kony 2012 campaign has been restored. Staff and volunteers of the Invisible Children Organization, initially painted this mural to bring attention to the crimes associated with Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda.

A few weeks after it was finished in 2010, renowned street artist, Shepard Fairey’s OBEY mural was tagged with blue spray paint by an unknown culprit. Fairey may be best known for his Barack Obama “Hope” poster. Beautiful photographs, by Angela Carone/KPBS, documented this sad incident and below is a youtube video showing Fairey’s work in progress.

I am fortunate to be able to enjoy this vibrant landscape and cityscape with my fellow San Diegans this summer. These large murals are big and bold and many carry a deeper meaning than what first meets the eye. I encourage you to walk around your own cities this week. Who are your local artists? Can you devise a plan to get a mural painted in your neighborhood?

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