Balboa Park

This is a short article I wrote for an Art History Newsletter, hence the references to specific professors and classes.

Balboa Park’s 1200 acres hosts an array of museums, zoos, and botanical gardens, four of which Meghan Jordan and I visited during our recent trip to San Diego. We arrived before any of the museums opened, allowing us time to wander the park during a quiet and cloudy morning. I highly recommend a morning trip to Balboa Park, for it not only gives you the chance to appreciate the park itself, but you will also have a head start on the school tour groups, of which there were many, even on a Thursday.

After learning about the history of beer throughout the world at the San Diego Museum of Man, we eagerly headed to the San Diego Museum of Art, whose permanent collection hosts many of the Spanish works we and much of our cohort learned about in Dr. Plax’s Southern Baroque Art and Architecture class this past semester. Meghan described it best- there is nothing like seeing a work in person to inspire a deeper appreciation. This visit allowed us to really look at the details of paintings by Zurbaran and Cotan, an experience which we of course had to immortalize with a picture by our favorite work, “Still Life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber” by Cotan.

Later we headed to the Museum of Photographic Arts, former home of Megan, current registrar at the CCP. However, before we reached the photo galleries, we stopped at the San Diego Art Institute to see “Sweet Gongs Vibrating”. With works requiring viewer interaction and involving at least one of the senses, reflecting on Dr. Busbea’s Primary World of the Senses seminar was inescapable. From olfactory poetry to vocal visualization through light to a sound box that you stick your head into, the small space encouraged an intimate exploration of the senses through art. The San Diego Art Institute’s show solidified the experience of sensory art that isn’t fully obtainable through reading alone.

All in all, I encourage everyone to visit Balboa Park at some point during their studies. With many more museums and education facilities, not to mention beautifully restored Spanish colonial architecture, Balboa Park is worth the trip.

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