Winters Market is the canvas for the latest local history mural

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Since 2002, the Winters Participation Gallery has been supporting local artists, beautifying the town and bolstering the community’s culture. This nonprofit’s creative tradition continues with its latest mural on the side of the Winters Market facing the Railroad and Grant Avenues intersection. The Participation Gallery can be thought of as a “gallery without walls.” From the Winters Laundrywork to the east side of Town and Country Market, the organization’s murals showcase the creativity of local muralists and students alike. “We pick walls and buildings with an interesting history. We talk to the owner of where we’re painting so they understand it’s part of Winters history and has a connection with the town,” said lead muralist Jaime Montiel. “Part of the projects we do is historical research. We’ve gone to the Yolo County Archives and had speakers like Woody Fridae and Tom Crisp talk to the students involved. This starts conversations with parents and grandparents. From there we come up with a couple of drafts of the mural and decide what’s best for the site.” Thanks to the efforts of Liz Coman and Valerie Whitworth, the Participation Gallery has the funding to produce these incredible murals around town. The latest addition to the gallery without walls can be found on the east side of the Winters Market. “The manager of the store reached out first and talked about how people who come from out-of-town wonder what there is to do in Winters. So the students came up with the idea of a postcard with tourist-type things that show the things to do, the history, the train bridge and other things you’d see on a postcard,” Montiel said. “The mural reflects history that’s been lost. The more we worked on it, the more people came and suggested things to include. It’s part of the process and lets people start a conversation on how things have changed over the years and show what the town used to be like.” Although the project is led by professional muralists, a portion of the creative labor is comprised of students lead by Winters High School educator Kate Humphrey. Their passion for art is shared by assistant muralist Celestino Galabasa. “I love hanging out and getting to meet the community and make the town look nice. It’s also nice being involved with something that was one of my first loves which is art,” said Galabasa “Jamie is very organized and keeps everything on schedule. He’s a great guy and has a system that works well. It helps the kids too seeing how organized he is.” Although affirmation was never the purpose of creating the mural, the students, Galabasa and Montiel received an abundance of it from those passing by. “A lot of people stopped by and say they love it. We were encouraged and people thought we should make a poster out of it,” Galabasa recalled of the communal support. “This project also gave the kids involved something to do that’s positive. I enjoyed it and we want to keep on finding walls to be able to paint.” The mural on the side of the Winters Market serves as a testament to the creative passion found in the community. Community members can donate to the continuation of the Winters history mural projects on the Participation Gallery’s website, www.wintersparticipationgallery.org.

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