Student artists gathered for mural signing

Artists, parents and organizers gathered at the official mural signing event.

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Artists, parents and organizers gathered at the official mural signing event. The mural, which was designed, drawn and painted over the summer, was officially completed on the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 12. The large mural on the eastern wall of Lorenzo’s Town and Country Market was a Winters Participation Gallery (WPG) project.  Valerie Whitworth, WPG chair, says that the entire project came from a conversation that started 10 years ago between herself and art teacher Kate Humphrey. Whitworth was inspired when visiting a city that featured murals painted by students. The students started the project by learning about Winters history through visits from local experts and a trip to the Yolo County Archives. The students then planned and sketched a few ideas. They took these sketches to John Lorenzo for his approval. “They got to work with the client,”Humphrey says, just like professional artists. Two of the planning sketches were on display at the signing event. Ben Nelson, one of the 11 student artists, described some of the images in the original plans to his mother and younger brother. In the finished project, Nelson worked on the image of the Native American dwelling on the southern side of the wall. Many of the students were proud to share their individual contributions to the wall. “I always tell my mom I drew out the sign,” April Quezada said, adding that her friend helped her paint it. As the students gathered they shared their experiences. “It was fun,” Ashlyn Gooden said. “We got to meet new people.” Was the project more work, or less than she thought it would be? “Definitely more!” Gooden said. But in the end she was proud of the achievement, because they worked so hard to arrive at the final product. Jaime Montiel, the professional muralist who directed the students, spoke a few words. He pointed out that not only did the students work hard on the mural, they worked through the heat. “Most of the time we out here it was 100 plus degrees,” Montiel said. Not only did the students have to contend with the summer heat, they were also mastering new skills along the way. Some of the artists, like Celeste Garcia, shared that they had never even worked with paint before. Other artists, like Te’a Novello, mentioned how much they enjoyed learning about Winters history and the different cultures that have lived in the region. “I usually never cared about what the history of this town was, but it was a lot of fun,” Christopher Mosqueda Velazquez shared. The WPG intends that this mural only be one of many in Winters’ future. Whitworth says that they hope to continue covering Winters with images that define the town’s “iconic” nature. This group of students will become the mentors to next year’s muralists. Whitworth shared with the crowd how proud she is of the artists. “These people worked so hard,” Whitworth said. “Every one of them finished what they started.” As the speeches wrapped up and the students finished sharing what they learned from the experience, it was clear that the artists understood that they had contributed to something that people will drive past for decades to come. Ashlyn Gooden told the crowd, “In 45 years from now or whatever, this will still be here, and you’ll be able to say, ‘I worked in the heat to do this.’” The WPG is already planning next year’s mural. For more information or to make a donation to the project, visit the gallery’s Facebook page at facebook.com/WintersParticipationGallery.]]>

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