Long Beach vice mayor launches citywide mural challenge to beautify 9th District, reduce blight

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Long Beach vice mayor launches citywide mural challenge to beautify 9th District, reduce blight

Photos by Sebastian Echeverry | Signal Tribune
Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson on Jan. 27 launched the second cycle of the Creative Corridor Challenge– an initiative to beautify various sites in north Long Beach by utilizing art and civic engagement. The mural, a rendering of which is pictured here, will cover the outside wall of the Dominguez Pizza restaurant located on 6176 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach.

Photos by Sebastian Echeverry | Signal Tribune Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson on Jan. 27 launched the second cycle of the Creative Corridor Challenge– an initiative to beautify various sites in north Long Beach by utilizing art and civic engagement. The mural, a rendering of which is pictured here, will cover the outside wall of the Dominguez Pizza restaurant located on 6176 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach.

Photos by Sebastian Echeverry | Signal Tribune Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson on Jan. 27 launched the second cycle of the Creative Corridor Challenge– an initiative to beautify various sites in north Long Beach by utilizing art and civic engagement. The mural, a rendering of which is pictured here, will cover the outside wall of the Dominguez Pizza restaurant located on 6176 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach.

Photos by Sebastian Echeverry | Signal Tribune Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson on Jan. 27 launched the second cycle of the Creative Corridor Challenge– an initiative to beautify various sites in north Long Beach by utilizing art and civic engagement. The mural, a rendering of which is pictured here, will cover the outside wall of the Dominguez Pizza restaurant located on 6176 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach.

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Photos by Sebastian Echeverry | Signal Tribune
Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson on Jan. 27 launched the second cycle of the Creative Corridor Challenge— an initiative to beautify various sites in north Long Beach by utilizing art and civic engagement. The mural, a rendering of which is pictured here, will cover the outside wall of the Dominguez Pizza restaurant located on 6176 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach.

The Renaissance of the 14th century used the idea of artistic reinvention as the main method to steamroll across Europe. By the end of the 17th century, the civilization that followed the Middle Ages had witnessed several famous works by Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. Their talent now lives on in museums and classrooms.

Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson believes that the 9th District is currently undergoing its own type of artistic renaissance.

Similar to the European movement over seven centuries ago, the 9th District’s renaissance is riding a wave of new artistic projects happening throughout the city.

Richardson invited the public to attend the formal Jan. 27 launch of the Creative Corridor Challenge. The event showcased a new mural that will be painted onto the wall of the Dominguez Pizza restaurant located on 6176 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach.

The mural kicks off the second cycle of the Creative Corridor Challenge— an initiative to beautify various sites in north Long Beach by utilizing art and civic engagement. The first cycle of the challenge brought 10 new murals across the 9th District. The launch signifies the kick-off for projects that are scheduled to take place from January to April 2018.

“Art is a part of every renaissance and any urban revitalization in the city,” Richardson told the Signal Tribune after the event. “Here in north Long Beach, that is no different.”


Video by Sebastian Echeverry | Signal Tribune

City officials said that murals and other large-scale art projects have proven to be an effective method to reduce blight and graffiti citywide.

Richardson said the artwork also has a transformative effect on the community. He recalled a wall that was covered with graffiti 103 times. He said that when a mural was painted onto that wall last year, it was only marked with graffiti twice.

The second cycle of the mural challenge features work from new artists and some who have previously worked on murals in the city.

Melissa Flower is a new artist who will oversee the mural on Dominguez Pizza’s wall near where Saturday’s event took place. She is tasked with creating an art piece for a 10.20-foot tall and 43-foot wide wall. Her mural will be called “Creative Minds,” and Flower said she hopes to complete it by the end of March.

“This is the first mural that I’ve ever done,” she said. “So, I’m taking my time with it. First I’ll have to prime the wall. I already have it measured out on my computer. Hopefully, we can bring in the community to paint some of the blocks of color, and we could really get residents involved here.”

Despite attempting to prevent citywide blight and graffiti, the murals are also made with a purpose to capture the spirit of the community where the art is erected.

Artist Jason Pereira’s mural “Tautua” — meaning “to serve” in Samoan— will highlight that culture in the community. It will be located on the outside of an Armex Incorporated building at 6850 Long Beach Blv-. The large 50-foot-wide and 19.5-foot-tall wall has been a popular spot for graffiti in previous years, according to city officials.

“Tautua is a pillar to our Samoan community,” Pereira told the Signal Tribune. “The Samoan community has been in Long Beach, especially north Long Beach, for a long time. It isn’t as active, but I wanted to highlight that there is a large Samoan community here.”

Richardson also said that the City would recruit the help of students in the art program from California State University, Dominguez Hills to complete some of the murals.

“Over the next couple of months,” Richardson said, “you’ll see a lot of art go up here in District 9.”