Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Niki de Saint Phalle's Queen Califia's Magical Circle

If you are ever planning a trip to the Escondido, California area, get yourself over to Niki de Saint Phalle's Queen Califia's Magical Circle (DANG, that is a mouthful). It is AMAZING! It really is MAGICAL! It is so fun and so incredible to see in person, and definitely a crowd-pleaser. Kids absolutely love it and get to touch and climb all over everything, and adults of all ages were smiling and taking pictures non-stop.  It's pretty much a fun place for anyone to visit.  And it is free.  And it is located in a gigantic park, so bring a picnic, a dog, a bike, a friend -- bring it all.

Here are a few pics I took while visiting over the weekend.































HA!  Sorry.  HAD to include this pic, because I am klassy like that.  And so is he. 



Note: this snake in the grass isn't part of the sculpture garden, 
but it is in Kit Carson Park nearby, and it is pretty freaking fabulous 



More info about this sculpture garden, as seen here...


Queen Califia's Magical Circle is the only American sculpture garden and the last major international project created by Niki de Saint Phalle (born France, 1930-2002). Inspired by California's mythic, historic and cultural roots, the garden consists of nine large-scale sculptures, a circular "snake wall" and maze entryway, sculpturally integrated bench seating, and native shrubs and trees planted within the interior plaza and along the outer perimeter. The garden bears the brilliant, unique mosaic ornamentation that is an unmistakable part of Saint Phalle's later work.

Queen Califia's Magical Circle is situated within a 12-acre natural habitat in the Iris Sankey Arboretum in Kit Carson Park on a parcel of land donated by the City of Escondido. The park's entrance is located five minutes from I-15 (Via Rancho Parkway Exit) at the corner of Bear Valley Parkway and Mary Lane.

The sculpture garden's key architectural features are an undulating circular wall measuring 400 feet in length (with varying heights from 4 to 9 feet) that surrounds the garden. Monumental playful serpents, decorated in colorfully patterned mosaics, slither along the top of the wall, their curved bodies forming a pattern of solids and voids that allows visitors to see landscape vistas beyond the garden. The "snake wall" opens into a maze whose walls and floors are covered with black, white, and mirrored tiles. Once through the maze, visitors enter into the central courtyard.

There are nine freestanding sculptures in the garden. The imposing mosaic sculpture of Queen Califia standing on the back of a five-legged eagle commands the center of the garden. Eight large totemic sculptures surround Queen Califia. They are covered with symbols and forms freely drawn from Native American, Pre-Columbian, and Mexican art as well as the artist's own fantastic imagery.



Visiting times are extremely limited, so please consult the website before you plan your trip.

Niki de Saint Phalle's Queen Califia's Magical Circle
Located in the Iris Sankey Arboretum
Kit Carson Park
3333 Bear Valley Parkway
Escondido, CA 92025