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San Diego: Artistree

When some trees bloom in San Diego, they sprout a colorful array of artistic expressions instead of nature’s leaves. Urban Trees is an annual celebration of the arts by the Unified Port of San Diego in which 30 artists are each given a pot, a 20-foot pole and $2,000. The rest is up to them.

“It was designed to give local artists exposure,” said Rita Vandergaw, director of marketing for the Unified Port of San Diego, and to encourage people to stroll the pedestrian promenade along the Embarcadero.

The 30 trees line a half-mile stretch along Harbor Drive from the cruise ship terminal to Hawthorn Street, past the USS Midway, the Maritime Museum, San Diego Harbor Excursions, Hornblower Cruises and several restaurants.

The trees are part of the Unified Port of San Diego’s ambitious public art program called the Tidelands Collection, which extends along the length of the bay from Imperial Beach to Chula Vista Bayside Park and showcases a wide range of media.

A section of the collection in Tuna Harbor Park near the USS Midway commemorates the Greatest Generation of World War II. It includes a 7-foot bronze sculpture depicting the joyous reunion of a sailor, his wife and child; the USS San Diego Memorial; and the distinctive four-color, 25-foot-tall sculpture Unconditional Surrender by J. Seward Johnson that re-creates the iconic news photo of a sailor kissing a nurse in New York’s Times Square on V-J Day in 1945.

A National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military depicts one of his typical road shows and shows Hope in World War II Army fatigues delivering a comedic line to 15 bronze sculptures representing men and women from all branches of military service from World War II to the Persian Gulf War in 1990.

For More Information:
San Diego: Big times on the Big Bay