San Diego’s Friendly Public Art

SAN DIEGO — America’s Finest City might also be one of the country’s friendliest, as San Diego is home to a pair of interesting pieces of public art commemorating the city’s relationship with members of the Pacific Rim.

Masahiko Katori’s Yokohama Friendship Bell sits on Shelter Island and recognizes San Diego’s sister city relationship with Yokohama, Japan. Also on Shelter Island is James T. Hubbell’s Pearl of the Pacific, which recognizes San Diego’s relationship with Tijuana (Mexico), Vladivostok (Russia) and Yantai (China).

The Yokohama Friendship Bell, located on the western cul-de-sac of Shelter Island, was presented to San Diego by the citizens of Yokohama in 1958. It stands 6 feet tall and weighs nearly 2.5 tons. The bell was made in Japan and delivered to San Diego aboard the U.S. Navy’s U.S.S. Prairie. A delegation was finally able to install and dedicate the bell in 1960.

Hubbell’s Pearl of the Pacific, meanwhile, is a fountain located at Pacific Rim Park. Architectural students helped Hubbell create the pearl fountain with Chinese fans and Russian-themed ironwork. Pearl of the Pacific was created in 1998 – about 40 years after the Yokohama Friendship Bell. Its tile patterns feather an American shorebird, Chinese dragon, Mexican Quetzalcoatl and Russian Siberian tiger. The Port of San Diego, Ilan-Lael Foundation, Far-Eastern State Technical University, city of Vladivostok and Pacific Rim Park nonprofit corporation all helped bring Pearl of the Pacific online.


Sources: Port of San Diego, Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego, Pacific Rim Park

Photo Credit: Port of San Diego

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