Celebration held to honor mural artists

Photos by lots of people Patricia Schallert, Richard Lieberman, Trent Steven, Jenny Cooper and Kathy Navarro.

On Saturday, March 26, Mayor Rubalcava joined the Westside Community Development Corporation welcomed a large gathering to celebrate and honor the 57 artists who brought to life a 600-foot mural called Pura Avenida.

It featured a Chumash blessing, photo opportunities, and lowriders.

The Pura Avenida mural features images and icons celebrating beloved features of life on the Avenue in the Westside area of Ventura. The project stretches across a 600-foot public wall that runs along Wall Street, a well-known street located between and parallel to Ventura Avenue and Cedar Street in Ventura.

“Pura Avenida was brought to life thanks to the many established artists, mural makers, and youth who worked together every step of the way. From washing the wall to priming, sketching, painting, and sealing the mural, community members were involved in all aspects of the project,” said WCDC Director Jackie Pearce. “The Pura Avenida mural was led by a team of talented artists who also worked with at-risk youth to engage them in the project. They learned new skills and contributed to a community project designed to create something far more than they expected. It was so great to see.”

The project was conceived by the WCDC and artists Cynthia Polk, Vince Felix, Onofre Banderas, Juan Martinez, Dain Acevedo, and Patzy Salazar. Fifty-seven artists and over a dozen community members were involved in realizing the project. The mural design was developed by Cynthia Polk and begins with the image of a young girl, masked in traditional Día de los Muertos face paint, who is blowing bubbles that flow down the wall. Each bubble celebrates elements of the Avenue that are appreciated by residents and visitors alike. There are natural features such as the hillsides and “the point” surf spot, vintage cars, popular landmarks and iconic buildings, cultural images, foods, Chumash heritage, recreational features and more! The mural incorporates different graphic styles realized through both hand painting and spray paint techniques.

The WCDC is a local nonprofit and HUD-certified Community Based Development Organization that applies for and receives HUD Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to bring economic development opportunities and revitalization to the Westside Community. For the past five years the WCDC has overseen five Westside mural beautification projects to deter graffiti and eliminate blight, celebrate the importance of the local creative economy, and increase community pride and engagement.

To learn more, visit www.westsideventura.org/pura-avenida or contact Pura Avenida Program Manager Onofre Banderas at Onofre.vta@gmail.com. To take a virtual tour of other Westside murals, visit www.westsideventura.org/mural-tour.

Mural Artists Celebration

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