I’m a sucker for anything artsy so this was fun. Balboa Park’s own art colony occupies the space originally built as a representation of a Spanish village for the 1935/36 California Pacific International Exposition and nicely repurposed in 1937 for art studios and galleries. Except for a brief stint housing military personnel during WWII, it’s been in operation for nearly 70 years and today showcases handcrafted works of over 200 artisans. Glass, weavings, paintings, jewelry, pottery, baskets, woodworking, photography and many other mediums fill 37 colorful buildings circling a central courtyard which hosts musicians, demonstrations and special events.
Pieces cost more (sometimes a lot more) than what you’d pay for tchotchkes from San Diego souvenir shops but yours will be an original: carefully crafted by a local versus mass-produced pieces of plastic from who-knows-where, and well worth the price.
The village is located between the zoo and Natural History Museum, and there are two free parking lots nearby. You may also get here via public transport (reference http://transit.511sd.com/TripPlanner/index.asp) or on foot, as we did on the day we explored the park.
Little people will love the riotous color but some of the shops are too small/narrow to accommodate strollers, and have items too fragile to be within reach of curious fingers. Taking turns minding the tots in the courtyard (a good place to get a bottle or packed-along jar of baby food into them) will be easiest on everyone's nerves.
Open from 11:00 - 4:00 every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years; entrance is free; restrooms on site, free wifi spot; Village Grill nearby for rest and refueling.
Reference the park map here:
General information: http://spanishvillageart.com/
Just next to the San Diego Zoo (to the right of the zoo entrance) is a charming little village setting for artists.A whole village of art shops with jewelry, enamels, pottery, glass, sculpture and much more. Don't miss this great amalgam of local artists. Art is for sale all over the place! A really cool experience, and a great place to find gift items (or things for yourself!).
Spanish Village Art Center was built for the 1935-36 California-Pacific International Exposition. Nowadays it is a set of many art studios, add tables and umbrellas, and a huge variety of flowers. Quite interesting architecture but not at all Spanish: there were no Spanish typical white, narrow streets there. Maybe it was more typical for Mexico, I am not sure. Or maybe it remained me more a town square in Spain than white Spanish villages.
A few artists and craftspeople worked on site to demonstrate their skills and techniques in various kinds of art like painting, sculpture, jewelry and others. Original art works were offered for sale.
I have never seen such kind of floor ceramics in Spain (and such colours) as in my photo of Spanish Village Art Center. But I surely didn't visit the whole Spain (yet :-).
Maybe it was Mexican style. I visited only Mexican border city Tijuana, just close to San Diego but was it really Mexico? I don't think so.
Btw I liked this floor pattern much. Do you like it?
Hours: Open daily 11am - 4 pm (except Thanksgiving, December 25 and January 1)
Address: 1770 Village Place, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101
Location: Spanish Village Art Center is located in Balboa Park. Between San Diego Zoo and Natural History Museum
You can see many Spanish in style small buildings/houses in Spanish Village Art Center - I personally liked them. Especially their ascetic simplicity and many flowers around.
From CHRIS (balfor):
Spanish Architecture: in the southwestern US, the stying referred to as Spanish is actually more of a southwestern/north mexican style. They are usually flat or shallow roofed, single floor and stucco or adobe exteriors.
Thank you Chris for your explanations!