“After Hours at the Arboretum” by Vincent Mattina.

By Joe Nalven

San Diegans and tourists will enjoy a bounty of exhibitions and special events that celebrate Balboa Park’s centennial this year.

The latest exhibit has just opened at the San Diego Art Institute: “San Diego Keeps Her Promise: Balboa Park at 100.”

“Echoes” by Will Given.

The artists stretch the notion of what does in describing and provoking how we ought to understand Balboa Park as it was and what it could be.

There are maps for the visitors to wander the Park and find stories inspired by the fragrances of the location. Aren’t the fragrances of the Arboretum different from the Cactus Garden?

Another artist wandered the park and captured an architectural soundscape; and yet another reimagined the nudist colony attraction from the 1935-36 exposition as famed photographer Edweard Muybridge did.

The exhibit is surprising — as it should be.


  • “San Diego Keeps Her Promise: Balboa Park at 100,” curated by Ginger Shulick Porcellas and Francis French 
  • On exhibit through Feb. 22 at the San Diego Art Institute, 1439 El Prado in Balboa Park
  • Hours: Tuesday-Saturday10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday noon to 4 p.m.

Joe Nalven is a San Diego-based digital artist.

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