September 30, 2011 | 9:45am
Rough outlines, accents stripes, and shades of blue, green and hot pink splash across a brick wall at the Cesar Chavez Community School in south Phoenix. A 15-by-12 foot, cement book stands in the center, where the face of the school's namesake will soon be carved.
The mural-in-progress is a project by Gennaro Garcia
, who says that through painting with the school's students, he hopes to inspire and motivate youth to be engaged in the arts.
With an exhibition opening next week at the Calvin Charles Gallery
in Scottsdale, seven more lined up to open before the end of the year, and his involvement in the Calle 16 mural project
, the local artist has his hands full.
Luckily for the students and staff at Cesar Chavez Community School, Garcia's always game for another project.
"It's important to get youth involved," he says. "It gets them off the street and out of trouble."
Garcia decided to donate the mural after learning the school's budget left little opportunity for art education and received sponsorship from State Farm Insurance and Raza Development Fund, Inc
.. He also enlisted help from fellow local artists.
Plans for the mural include a Phoenix cityscape and the Arizona desert as well as monarch butterflies (which are famous for a migration pattern through the Southwest to Mexico).
Garcia also bought 120 disposable cameras that will be given out to students, who will then take pictures of each other. The pictures that are chosen by Garcia will be blown up and outlined on the mural wall.
"Everyone is excited," he says. "Even the parents. They all signed the permission slips. Painting the mural was like being at a party last Saturday."
Ultimately, Garcia is happiest about the excitement shown by the students, who are anxious to see the progress of the mural even during lunchtime. "This was all for them," he says.
Gennaro Garcia's mural is located at Cesar Chavez Community School. For more information on how to get involved, visit his page
Cesar Chavez Community School students painting the mural. Courtesy of Carlos Rivas