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Balboa Park Museums Offer Three New Exhibits Spring and Summer

THE RAMS HEAD BLUE MORNING GLORY painting by Georgia O’Keeffe merges two important elements of life. The exuberance of a morning glory flower in fresh bloom is juxtaposed against the skull of a ram, motionless but not quite silent in death.

May 23, 2023

By Lydia Ringwald

Balboa Park is always a great destination for a day get away. After only an hour and a half drive from Cerritos, one is walking on lovely landscaped paths and through gardens and greenbelts in the 1400 acre cultural park that includes a theaters, amphitheaters and several museums.

The recently opened Georgia O’Keeffe and Henry Moore exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) is an added highlight to the museum’s impressive permanent collections and continuing ‘Modern Women’ exhibit that includes the artworks of Helen Frankenthaler, Elaine de Kooning, Sonia Delaunay and Lee Krasner and other prominent women artists.

The special exhibit of O’Keeffe and Moore artworks also includes an inspiring learning component. In a studio space adjacent the exhibit are paper and colored pencils for art patrons and their families to visually interact with the art in the exhibit and create their own artworks on paper with the natural wood, shell and rock materials that inspired the art of O’Keeffe and Moore. This interactive art experiences gives art patrons an opportunity to really see, appreciate and experience the subtle expression and unique techniques of these famous artists.

The Georgia O’Keeffe and Henry Moore exhibit is installed until August 27 and ‘Modern Women’ continues until November 7, 2023.

At the San Diego Museum of Photographic Art (MOPA) throughout the Spring and Summer, visitors may enjoy an exhibit of the historical photographs of Julia Margaret Cameron who over a hundred years ago photographed some of the iconic personalities of the era, including Charles Darwin, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Virginia Woolf along with her series of staged photographic tableaux highlighting mythological and religious themes.


JULIA MARGARET CAMERON’S portrait of two women at the San Diego Museum of Photographic Art.


Starting later in life at the age of 48, after raising 11 children, Julia Margaret Cameron produced over 900 photographic plates and experimented with innovative photographic methods that are still admired and in use today.

The San Diego Museum of Photographic Art is the first museum venue in the U.S to exhibit the expansive collection of photographs of this renown British woman photographer. Enjoy this until September 3, 2023.

With a technology a hundred years later, Robert Wilson exhibits his life size digitally illuminated video portraits of celebrities of our time. Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt and other rock and movie idols are set in scenes referencing historical paintings.


ROBERT DOWNEY JR. at the Video Portraits Robert Wilson exhibit, now through Sept. 24, 2023.


Another MOPA highlight is the installation of underwater photography ‘The Water Holds Me’ by Suda House. While treading water, Suda House photographs images of swimmers in the wate’s ripples and swells, revealing the strange beauty of the distorted human form in an undulating watery medium. The photographs of Suda House are on display until October 3, 2023.

The third attraction are the exhibits in the San Diego History Center highlighting important events and personalities in San Diego’s vivid history and including permanent exhibit of Lomaland, a Theosophical Center founded and directed by Katherine Tingley, dedicated to exploring the wisdom and mysteries of ancient civilizations and bringing art and culture to San Diego. 

Katherine Tingley staged Ancient Greek and Shakespeare dramas in the Lomaland’s amphitheater, with costumes and sets created by Lomaland artists and artisans. Lomaland boarding school students who lived in the charming ‘Lotus Houses’ were required to not only play a musical instrument and study the arts but also to respect the ecology of the arid landscape and cultivate its gardens with vegetables, avocados, oranges and other fruit trees.

Photographs of Lomaland from its inception in 1897 and early buildings of the Raj School and Greek Amphitheater on a cliff overlooking the ocean are installed as a photo montage background for a display of Theosophical artist Reginald Machell’s  dramatically carved wood doors for the ‘Temple of Peace’ and his esoteric paintings ‘The Bard’ and ‘The Path.’

The spinning sanskrit logo for the Theosophical Society hearkens back to the ancient Hindu symbol for prosperity and good fortune and links the Theosophical Society at Lomaland to Adyar, it’s sister city location in India.

An Emmy award winning documentary about Balboa Park that screens in the mini auditorium of the Historical Center enriches the experience of this famous place that in 1915 was built to promoted the port of San Diego the commerce that traversed thtrough the newly constructed Panama Canal. 

In the middle of a day of artistic and intellectual delight, visitors may enjoy dining delicacies at the cafes and restaurants in the Balboa Park.

The splendid dining room of the Prado offers enticing entrees and a full bar. Patrons may enjoy the outdoor ambiance at the patio tables shaded by gorgeous umbrellas or may prefer seating in the historical Spanish style dining room interior.

Panama 66 in the courtyard adjacent the San Diego Museum of Art also offers an array of sandwiches and salads, a full bar and music.

Those who visit on a Sunday may enjoy an organ recital at 2 pm at Spreckles amphitheater and free concerts during summer evenings.

A day off. A day of delight. A different drumbeat. Then return home to Cerritos in the evening and start the week refreshed.