By KELSEY KLOSS / FOR THE REGISTER
SANTA ANA – First, they found inspiration. Then, they found a wall.
Now, local artists have three months to turn both into a mural with one theme: Santa Ana.
The artist group Workshop for Community Arts organized eight artists to paint a Plaza Santa Ana mural at the intersection of 4th and French streets by Dec. 13. The artists named themselves the Plaza Santa Ana Community Mural Artists Coalition, and inspired by locals’ ideas, they are recruiting volunteers to help paint, said project director Adriana Alexander.
“People want to see something that reflects the culture here,” Alexander said. “They want to see people on the wall, people like them.”
The city approved the artists to use the wall, which is part of an East End public parking garage and the backdrop for the plaza’s summer concerts. The city will pay the group $250 once it completes the 66-by-33-foot mural, according to information provided by city spokesman Jose Gonzalez.
Originally, painting was planned to begin Sept. 16, but was postponed at least two weeks to allow time to complete city permits and raise money for supplies. The group had collected about 10 percent of the $6,000 needed, fundraising coordinator Alicia Rojas said.
“Everything will be donated,” Rojas said. “A lot of people think they don’t have a lot of money to give, but they still want to see the mural.”
The mural will represent the history and culture of Santa Ana residents. Throughout the summer, the artists surveyed 100 locals, asking, “What do you like about Santa Ana?” The answers, returned in Spanish and English: “The trees,” “4th Street,” “The people” and “That there are many Latinos.”
Based on the responses, art director Moisés Camacho sketched a draft. It depicts locals bustling through streets that stretch into the distance. Near the center, a large, flowering jacaranda tree is rooted in field land.
“Most of the people who live in Santa Ana are, or have been, field workers,” Camacho said. “This is very meaningful to them.”
The city, however, must approve the final design. The artists are still gathering input from city residents.
The Santa Ana Business Council, which advocates a cultural and family-friendly downtown, will help the artists financially, said that group’s president, Adolfo Lopez.
“We’re one of the main sponsors for them,” Lopez said. “So far nobody has called me saying, “Hey, what are you doing, why are you painting that?’ I think people would like to see something that reflects their business and their customers.”
The mural will be more relevant than the neighborhood’s older artwork, said Claudia Arellanes, owner of the Mega Furniture Superstore across the street.
“There are murals in alleys that nobody can see. There’s a mural on the wall of The Yost with dragons, and it’s fine,” Arellanes said. “But what I’m excited about for this mural, specifically, is it’s going to tell the story of Santa Ana, and what part Hispanics play. You can bring your children and tell the story.”
The Plaza Santa Ana Community Mural Artists Coalition is still accepting volunteer applications and donations. Those interested in getting involved can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 714-542-9392.