Mural carries message

 Art serves purpose beyond purely aesthetic

From left, Fernando Macias and artist Jovany Rios discuss Rios’ poster with a visitor to the South Coast Artists’ Alliance art show Friday night in Pescadero, where Rios’ poster was unveiled. (Stacy Trevenon)

In an unexpected turn of events, graffiti scrawled under a Pescadero bridge evolved into a mural with a positive, hopeful message for the Pescadero community.

That mural shows a pair of extended hands from which a hummingbird is springing into flight. In a lower corner below the bird is a lighthouse on a rocky shore. Angled around the bird and the hands is the phrase, “We dream with strength and courage and together we succeed.”

The mural drew attention when it was featured in the South Coast Artists Alliance Art Show on Friday. The show, a reception featuring 44 SCAA artists from as far south as Davenport and as far east as Skyline Boulevard, kicked off the Pescadero Art and Fun Festival and drew scores of Bay Area art lovers.

On Friday, its creator, Pescadero resident and lifelong art lover Jovany Rios, 18, chatted with friends including fellow Pescadero residents Margaret Sedillo and Fernando Macias, 17, both members of the South Coast Prevention Partnership. That group’s goals for a positive, healthy South Coast had a direct bearing on the mural.

“It represents the beginning of a more healthy and informed community dialogue” around addressing alcohol and drug abuse, said Puente de la Costa Sur Director of Prevention Services Jorge Guzman.

It all began when local teens went to Sedillo, upset about graffiti they’d seen on the underside of a Pescadero bridge. She went to the bridge to see it and understand their concerns. “They felt it was negative and could be replaced with something more positive,” she said.

As part of her outreach work, she brought the youth into discussions with SCPP and its youth and adults from all walks of life from Pescadero, La Honda, Loma Mar and San Gregorio. The youth were asked for ideas of how to promote a more positive message, and Rios came up with several sketches. The SCPP gave him the phrase to be put in the design.

The hands in the design signify the Pescadero community, said Rios, and the bird signifies the lessons and potentials that come from it.

In time, partnership organizers say, the mural will be mounted outside in the heart of the town. It represents the first part of the SCPP’s effort of promoting a safe and healthy community. The second part, said Sedillo, involves parent outreach and addressing the graffiti by removing it or replacing it with something more positive.

“It’s making the community a better place,” said Macias. “We’re trying to represent that with the mural — a better community for our younger residents.”

Part of that process, said Guzman, involved visible, responsible handling of alcoholic beverages while enforcing prevention of underage drinking. At Friday’s reception, Guzman said, IDs were checked and armbands went to those who were of age.

While this was happening, art lovers thronged the I.D.E.S. Hall Friday evening, threading their way around display boards covered with paintings or photographs, tables displaying woodwork or other three-dimensional art.

The art was “fresh, exhilarating, and well-done,” said painter Rebecca Holland, who was displaying new works focused on barns and horses.

“It’s fantastic,” said Mark Velligan of Pescadero. “So much of it is local, really amazing.”

“There’s a lot of good artists in this area,” said photographer David Wong, who was exhibiting in the festival for the fifth year.

The art exhibit was due to run throughout the festival weekend.


Article from The Half Moon Bay Review. Printed August 22, 2012 and posted online August 23, 2012.

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