Working on Lynn Moon’s wonderful portraiture busts got me thinking about sculpture. And that inevitably led to Niki de St. Phalle and Queen Califia.
There’s an almost completely unknown place of beauty and whimsy in Escondido. It’s one of the best kept secrets in the entire San Diego region.
Niki de St. Phalle was a world-renowned sculptor and artist. She created installations in Paris, Jerusalem, Tuscany and Hannover Germany, among a few other sites.
Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is in Kit Carson Park at the south end of Escondido, close behind the North County Fair Shopping Mall. It’s well off the beaten path (exactly as de St. Phalle wanted it) and almost always empty. There’s no admission fee and it’s ‘kid friendly.’ It’s a great stop on the way to the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
This is de St. Phalle’s only American sculpture garden. And almost no one here is aware of its existence. Strange.
p.s. The titles for the pieces are definitely mine…not Niki’s.