We spy a beautiful rendition of the Arts Council office at the Tannery! This ceramic mural project at Amesti Elementary School in Watsonville is the result of a long creative process that the students began in the fall of 2019. The “My Community, Our Community” mural was led by VAPA arts teacher Lucia Herrera and SPECTRA artist Juan Gimeno, with support from the Arts Council.

We’re so honored that our office building at the Tannery was included as part of this mural community! The lead artist teachers shared with us the whole beautiful story of how this mural was created:

During the process of creating this large collective mural, the students were asked to become aware of what “community” meant. They saw how individual elements form a common whole and appreciated everything that belonging to a community brings to us. They thought about how to represent this concept of community in an artistic way.

Each student made their own house representing their family and environment. Together, with other students, they formed a city. One group of students was in charge of carrying out the infrastructure and municipalities, such as the hospital,  fire department, library, school district, shops, churches, etc.

At first, they made drawings, which later gave rise to simple cardboard models, which became the first three-dimensional view on one of our art room walls. Next, the students modeled their projects in clay and then painted them with ceramic colors. What a great opportunity at a Primary School to be able to work in 3-D with these gratifying materials that, after they are fired in the kiln, become consistent and durable ceramic pieces!

Finally, with the help of teachers and volunteers from our community, this large mural was installed. The individual ceramic pieces were mounted onto a cement relief painted with acrylic paint in the form of a great city, representing our Community.

This process of making the mural had been scheduled for the 2019-2020 academic year but was delayed due to the COVID pandemic. Some students finished their work by coming in the afternoons or during their vacation time or even when they were no longer in school because they had graduated and finished that grade.

Precisely because of the arrival of COVID, which confined us to our homes and highlighted the importance of community services such as health, essential jobs, shops, transporters, and many others, the pandemic unexpectedly enhanced in raising awareness for the work on the community and that became more evident and necessary than ever.

This collective mural now becomes part of the Amesti School and will last over time. “The children are very proud. They love to show their work.” 

In years to come, children will grow up, and their vision of the Community will be transmitted to future students who will come later and perhaps even their own children.

The Art teacher who directed this project, Lucía Herrera, with teachers Julie Nino Newman and Erin Legorreta and participating students, wish to thank Santa Cruz School Plus for their financial help and for believing in our project, The New Tidings Foundation, for their constant contribution of art materials, year after year and our new school administrators for their support and for providing and solving everything that has been necessary and of course, a heartfelt thanks to all of the volunteers who have made this Mural possible.

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