López Creates a Mural and a Mirror

With the absolute support and permission from the building’s owner, the mural has been custom designed by Rafael López to fit a large wall on the corner of Tulare and Cedar Avenues, directly across the street from Roosevelt High School of the Arts. The wall in its current state is, by no definition, something beautiful. See for yourself.

Now imagine… “What good can a splash of color do in a community of gray?” This question is asked in the book Maybe Something Beautiful, the inspiration for the SE Fresno Mural. The story follows Mira, a young child and artist, who wants to share the liveliness of color that she usually captures on paper with the people of the grey city where she lives. When color transfers to the buildings, real magic happens. The community comes together to paint a mural and the solidarity felt by the participants who now have a common goal is the catalyst for change in a freshly proud community. Flowers are planted, more buildings painted, people are excited and want to share what they have done with others. The mural isn’t just about painting a pretty picture; it is SO much more than that!

After visiting Fresno several times and doing his research, Rafael came up with a mural design that represents the city, county, and San Joaquin Valley. Remember the ugly wall from moments ago? Now…

“What good can a splash of color do? ” Well…


It can be transformative.

While the mural is absolutely fabulous, it is important to us that it be representative of those who live in the immediate community so we reached out to a few schools in the area to see what they had to say. We have only had one response so far, but the principal of Burroughs Elementary School is enthusiastically supportive of the project and has gotten his PTA involved; the PTA at Burroughs is highly engaged with their school, children, and community and they plan to help with the project in several ways. We have had two meetings with them so far where we have introduced the project and led a discussion on what they would like to see reflected in the design. It was amazing to see just how involved the parents of the students are and how much thought they put into contributing ideas to the mural. The final product looks like this:

The additions from the original include the book on the left to represent literacy. Hands were given to the figure in the second scene; they are on a ladder, one hand reaches for an orange, an ode to the many hard workers that inhabit the community. Slightly higher, the second hand reaches for something beyond, a star, the potential that we hope to nurture in our youth. These seemingly simple elements transcend the message from what we are to what we hope to become through hard work, education, and the courage to climb a ladder and reach for something more.

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