July 19, 2024

IE COMMUNITY NEWS

El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

“Welcome to San Bernardino” Mural Unveiled: A 28-Day, 220-Hour Masterpiece by Resident Christian Mariscal

3 min read

Photo by Joseph Leon - The “Welcome to San Bernardino” mural is located on the west side of the Rudy C. Hernandez Community Center at 222 North Lugo Avenue.

This morning, July 9th, the Rudy C. Hernandez Community Center buzzed with excitement as a new mural, entitled “Welcome to San Bernardino,” was unveiled in a ceremony that brought together local artists, community leaders, and residents. The vibrant mural, created by San Bernardino Native Christian Mariscal, is a significant addition to the San Bernardino Beautification and Cultural Infusion Project, funded by a Creative Corps Inland SoCal grant from the Inland Empire Community Foundation in partnership with the California Arts Council.

The ceremony, which began at 10:00 a.m., marked a celebration of the city’s rich cultural tapestry. Each letter of the mural’s “San Bernardino” lettering showcases colorful and intricate depictions of the community, embodying the city’s spirit and diversity.

Artist Christian Mariscal, known for his previous public art projects, including murals at parks and community centers across the city, spent 28 days, totaling 220 hours, creating this masterpiece. “I’ve been doing a lot of serape style artwork and I tied that into the lettering and the background,” Mariscal shared.

Mariscal’s journey as an artist began in his youth, using graffiti as his medium. “I started spray painting at 11 or 12 years old,” he said. “I want people to understand that graffiti is art and I’m here breaking barriers with a spray can. I didn’t grow up with much education but I was able to use a spray can as my medium.” Mariscal has six murals across San Bernardino, and his work can be seen outside the Orange Show, the 5th Street Senior Center, and other locations.

The San Bernardino Beautification and Cultural Infusion Project, made possible by a $100,000 grant, allocated $40,000 to commission artists for public murals, $40,000 for cultural demonstrations and workshops, and $20,000 for supplies and equipment. The project aims to celebrate and enhance the cultural richness of San Bernardino through art, and another mural is currently planned for the Encanto Community Center.

Alejandro Gutierrez Chavez, Executive Director of Arts Connection, highlighted the broader impact of the project. “Arts Connection helped advocate for the funds in partnership with the Inland Empire Community Foundation, Riverside Arts Council, and California Desert Arts Council” he said. “We collectively pulled in $3.8 million to go directly to artists across the inland empire and here in San Bernardino, and after one year since the grantees were selected, it’s amazing to see this mural come to life.”

Chavez also emphasized community involvement in the project. “Arts Connection and the Creative Corps Inland SoCal team engaged 448 residents of the Inland Empire to understand the type of art projects they wanted to see. We conducted a listening tour, both online and through in-person feedback sessions and the top four elements residents want to see integrated into the art in San Bernardino are social justice, public health, environment, and voter and civic participation.”

The unveiling event was attended by Mayor Helen Tran and Councilmember Damon Alexander, adding to the community’s sense of pride and unity. “The Mayor and I went to the same high school, Cajon High School, and she understands the struggle that we all go through. It’s not just the art, it’s everything we do collectively to beautify and enhance the city,” Mariscal added.

“Public art plays a vital role in fostering community pride and engagement,” said San Bernardino Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Director Lydie Gutfeld. “This mural is a testament to that vision.”

The “Welcome to San Bernardino” mural stands as a symbol of the city’s vibrant community and the power of public art to inspire and unite.

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