August 6, 2019 8:50 AM
by Erin Taylor
The three-story, gray-colored building at the corner of Main Street and Pacific is in the process of getting a supersized injection of color in the form of a mural being created as a partnership between Community Corp. of Santa Monica and Beautify Earth — a nonprofit dedicated to beautifying city walls with vibrant and meaningful public art.
“This remarkable partnership for public art creatively celebrates not only our commitment to affordable housing, inclusivity and diversity – it says better than any words what makes Santa Monica such a special community – a city that strives to work for everyone,” said Rick Cole, Santa Monica City Manager.
The building itself is an apartment building with 44 units of affordable housing and three small businesses: Kafe K, Buster’s Shoe Repair, and Beyond O Waterhouse. The mural is going up as a celebration of the community, our commitment to affordability and diversity, and celebration of inclusiveness of Santa Monica and will highlight the work of Community Corp., the organization that owns the building.
Formed in 1982, Community Corp. works to provide high-quality affordable housing to Santa Monica, and they make it their goal to have at least one to two projects under construction each year. In 2019, they’ve exceeded that goal by starting construction on three different properties in various parts of the city, and they’re beginning their first modular construction project — an affordable housing building that will be manufactured in a factory in Rialto.
“We are striving to be innovative, cost-efficient, and to promote environmental sustainability,” says Tara Barauskas, executive director at Community Corp.
Expanding access to affordable housing is increasingly important in Santa Monica, a community where half of all households are low- to moderate-income and one in four people reports worrying about being able to meet a rent or mortgage payment each month.
Barauskas is excited about the attention the mural might bring to Community Corp.’s mission of bringing more affordable housing to Santa Monica, saying she hopes it “draws peoples’ eyes to our building and helps people understand the positive value that affordable housing brings to communities.”
Beautify Earth has facilitated thousands of murals all over the country and has seen the impact that public art can have on a community. Beautify Earth's Executive Director, Evan Meyer says,
“It's the people within our communities that make them special, and it starts from empowering within to create spaces that make us feel colorful, joyful, connected, and at home.”
Evan continues, saying:
"Creating thousands of murals around the globe, and over 120 in Santa Monica alone, Beautify Earth knows that there is no reason for a boring, bland, or blighted walls when the power and value of art is undeniable and proven - emotionally, culturally, AND financially. Art changes how you feel in a community, by the way, you feel when you look at nothing, or something blighted, to the way you feel and experience color and creativity. We have the opportunity of inspiring those in our communities to be part of both the civic and natural community growth process and embrace the opportunity to contribute in artistic and creative ways. It's the people within our communities that make them special, and it starts from empowering within to create spaces that make us feel colorful, joyful, connected, and at home."
Covering the walls facing both Pacific and Main, the mural itself will be painted by artist Gino Burman-Loffredo, and will feature a gradient background of warm oranges and reds fading into blues — a tribute to the sun setting over the Pacific. At the corner of the two adjoining walls will be two hands in black and white coming together to form a heart. Inside that heart will be small vignettes depicting the attributes that make Santa Monica a one-of-a-kind place.
“I like to walk the streets of where my next mural is, and really get a grasp of what is beautiful in each place. I depict the stories that I come across in my painting.”
By mid-August, those stories will be on display for everyone to enjoy and appreciate.
To access more information on affordable housing and to stay up to date on what the City is doing to keep Santa Monica an inclusive and diverse community, check out: weare.santamonica.gov.
And you can let your neighbors know you care by making your building or wall something we can all have pride in. So if you know a bland or blighted wall that needs some “artful love”, contact email@example.com to find out about the possibility of turning that wall into a work of art.
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