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Covering 75: April

Golden Hill–based muralist and illustrator Celeste Byers reimagines one of SDM’s first covers (August 1949) with a nod to the need to clean up Mission Bay
SDM August 1949

SDM August 1949

In August 1949, the editors of San Diego Magazine reported on a massive new project: the Mission Bay Aquatic and Recreational Park, a multimillion-dollar “aquatic playground” expected to significantly boost the city’s tourist revenue. For the cover, the magazine’s first art director, Enid Miller, illustrated a dream of what the park might entail for beachgoers—a grinning, swim-capped woman skimming over the surface of the bay.

But today, sections of Mission Bay are under advisory, bacteria levels in the water hovering above acceptable health standards. Would-be swimmers (and skiers) are urged to remain dry.

Covering 75 April Cover

Covering 75 April Cover

We’re celebrating 75 years of SDM by asking local artists to recreate iconic covers from our past. When reimagining this drawing for 2023, Golden Hill–based muralist and illustrator Celeste Byers embraced the city’s limitless possibilities (handsome mermen instead of skis!) but couldn’t ignore the wrench in the works of our coastal bliss: millions of gallons of raw sewage flowing from spills in Tijuana to San Diego’s beaches. “I made an art piece about the sewage problem maybe 15 years ago,” Byers says. “And it’s still a problem today.”

Last summer, the United States and Mexican governments agreed to commit nearly half a billion dollars to replace crumbling treatment plants and hopefully spell an end to the pollution—facilitating a future in which seaside play is purely magic.

By Amelia Rodriguez

Amelia Rodriguez is San Diego Magazine’s Associate Editor. The 2023 winner of the San Diego Press Club's Rising Star Award, she’s covered music, food, arts & culture, fashion, and design for Rolling Stone, Palm Springs Life, and other national and regional publications. After work, you can find her hunting down San Diego’s best pastries and maintaining her three-year Duolingo streak.

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