Art Adorns the San Diego Convention Center

While the San Diego Convention Center may be visually recognized for its iconic architecture and waterfront location, it is also home to an array of public art pieces. Carefully selected during the center’s 2001 expansion, five original artworks were chosen as mainstays to complement different aspects of the building and to engage attendees and the community. On one of San Diego’s signature sunny days, be sure to take the time before or after your meeting to explore the public art of the convention center.

Here is a guide to our "Five Must-See Pieces of Art."

Flame of Friendship

Flame of Friendship is a 20 feet tall stainless steel abstract sculpture crafted by renowned artist Leonardo Nierman. The polished flames reflect the surrounding scenery and curious expressions gazing at this piece of art. Presented as a symbol of goodwill and friendship from the Mexican Consul General, the art represents the long-standing partnership between San Diego and its neighboring city, Tijuana, Mexico.

  • Location: You will be greeted by the sculpture as you ascend the back staircase of the building, along the San Diego Bay. Also accessible immediately outside of the Mezzanine Level meeting rooms.

Coming Together

Standing 28 feet tall, Niki de Saint Phalle's iconic Coming Together sculpture resembles an engaging, dual-faced figure. Half of the face is comprised of bright ceramic mosaic tiles while the other half is made of dark mirrored monochromatic tiles - representing the light and dark facets of the human personality. Niki de Saint Phalle, a French-born artist, spent the final years of her life in the San Diego region and contributed public art throughout the county, including Balboa Park and the Stuart Collection at University of California, San Diego's campus.

  • Location: Stroll along the eastern end of the convention center to Plaza Park, at Harbor Drive and Convention Way. It can also be viewed from the lobby of Hall H.

Luminous Arc

James Carpenter’s Luminous Arc is an architectural highlight of the convention center’s outdoor Grand Staircase and Skywalk. Twenty-one stainless steel masts with light-reflecting prisms at their tips create a fan-like shape over the staircase. At night, the illuminated stairs look like a golden arch leading visitors to the center’s bayside terraces and observation area.

  • Location: Let the front Grand Staircase guide you. Located at the center's halfway point (outside lobby of Halls C and D), follow the prisms as you traverse the center and peer into the Sails Pavilion and take in breathtaking panoramic views of the Gaslamp Quarter and San Diego Bay.

Journey to Aztlan

Journey to Aztlan, a mural by Jamex and Einar de la Torre, adds texture and character along Harbor Drive. Comprised of six shades of polymers and 300 molded glass faces, the art blends blue, white and gold to depict a mythical homeland inspired by Mesoamerican culture. The piece was recently restored courtesy of the City of San Diego's Commission for Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • Location: The mural lines the walls of the lowered portion of Harbor Drive and can be seen by driving along Harbor Drive between First Ave. and Fifth Ave. It can also be viewed by foot from the entrance of the Gaslamp Quarter at the Fifth Ave. and Harbor Drive crosswalk or by strolling along Martin Luther King Promenade.

Benefit of Mr. Kite

Mags Harries and Lajos Heder stationed Benefit of Mr. Kite as a standout sculpture of glass, aluminum, plants and lighting. The installation was designed to improve aesthetics, visibility and access between downtown San Diego and the waterfront. Inspired by the bountiful sunshine of San Diego, the artwork includes two 35 feet high topiary figures at the city and bayside entrances to the walkway. The city-side topiary scans the bay through binoculars while the bayside mermaid topiary calls through a megaphone as she flies a prism kite – capturing the sun’s rays casting rainbow patterns on the walkway. The path runs between the center and the San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina and is lit by lanterns after the sun sets.

To see other images and photos from our bayside facility, be sure to follow @SDConventionCtr on Instagram and share your photos by tagging us!

Barbara Moreno's picture
Posted by Barbara Moreno, on May 20, 2013
Attendees, Between Meetings, Experience San Diego

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