“Wheat Field and Cypress” a Van Gogh masterpiece is the first in a series of murals to be painted in Monrovia. The project is being tentatively funded by the Monrovia Endowment for the Arts with talent provided by the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts (MAFA). This particular mural is located on the side of the Kids Art Studio and was championed by owner Betsy Thurmond and painted by Besty and local artist Ernesto Cinzano.
The mural is located at 128 E Lemon Avenue in Monrovia (1/2 block east of Myrtle) in the heart of Old Town Monrovia. The grand unveiling and ribbon cutting will take place later this month in conjunction with MAFA’s Art Walk celebrating art produced by the local school children.
The mural assembly was done in just one day, with only fine detail work left. According to Besty “I honestly thought this would take a week or longer and the first day to just get it sketched out. I was amazed once we got going it just flowed and it was done before the end of the day”. The reaction has been positive and many Old Town Merchants like Andrea Robles owner Scoops just two doors down from the mural, have said “This is what we need to generate excitement in town.” According to Besty several merchants visited her during the painting and asked how can they get their own mural.
To get to bigger pictures of “Wheat Fields and Cypress” and a bit more history on the project you need to make the jump.
The mural program got its start quite simply last fall when the MAFA Board members had met and discussed ways the group could help brighten up a boarded up business in Old Town and bring some art to the community. The idea of painting holiday related theme was presented by Bill Beebe to the city managers office for permission to do it. Arrangements were made with the building owner and a simple holiday theme was put up by MAFA member Rouzanna Berberian. It was a hit and that started the ideas rolling.
Betsy Thurmond had the idea to make it bigger and bolder through out Old Town Monrovia. City Manager Scott Ochoa liked the idea, approved it and things got moving very fast.
Funding was an easy one. Several years ago Councilman Joe Garcia had an ordinance passed where developers with projects over 1 million had to put a small percentage into a fund for public art. This fund is managed by the city via the Monrovia Endowment for Art.
Finding talent was equally easy as there are many artists within MAFA and the area that were interested and jumped at the chance to participate.
More murals are planned in the community. The next one proposed is for the North East corner of Myrtle and Olive. That mural will tell the story of Monrovia’s founding and history. From what I have been told the mural will start on the left in the classic “California Style” and the early days of the city transitioning to a more modern “pop art” style on the right. The sketch is pending approval. It is hoped that this painting will be approved and completed to coincide with MAFA’s June Art Walk. When I have details on that look for another post.
Betsy has taken the lead on the project and advises that one more mural is in the planning stages. The theme is being discussed with the city and building owner. It is hoped that it will move to production at a location on Myrtle and Colorado and be done in time to coincide with MAFA’s July Art Walk.
The lead photo was provided by Besty from her cellphone. The latter two are by me and do get bigger with a click. As a little disclosure, I am a board member of MAFA, a non-profit that I devote a lot of energy to increase art education and bring art to the community.