One Vista // January 2021

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Vista La Mesa Academy // Lemon Grove

Mural Artists: Donald Gould + Regan Russell

One Vista // January 2021
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One unified cheetah. The mascot of Vista La Mesa Academy runs across the wall. Composed of multiple pieces of different shapes, sizes, and colors, the cheetah represents the harmony, togetherness, and diversity of the school’s community. Lemon tree foliage of moving leaves and budding blossoms symbolize growth and transitions while also giving homage to the city of Lemon Grove’s agricultural ties and history. Designed by Regan Russell and Donald Gould, this mural was inspired directly from drawings and words submitted virtually by the students and staff. During a time where meeting in person was not an option, ArtReach and Vista La Mesa Academy were able to come together to bring light and joy to the front and center, welcoming students back to school with cheetah pride, hope, and unity.

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7th Grade Mural Project // February 2021

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PRIDE Academy // Santee

Mural Artist: Hanna Gundrum

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A lightbulb of color. A caterpillar inching through the rain to become a butterfly. A strong and sturdy anchor. An anatomical heart with patterns of flowers. These are some of the many images and symbols that make up this two-wall youth-designed and painted mural. Hanna Gundrum led the 7th-grade students to work together to come up with the stunning imagery. They contributed their time, care, and focus in helping paint these two large walls from top to bottom. This mural adds bright positivity, bold color, and uplifting feelings, serving as a welcoming addition to the upper part of campus and nearby preschool. Leaving a lasting gift and contribution to their school community, the 7th grade class of 2020/21 truly came together to share their ideas and collaborate on new hope and perseverance during this unique and difficult year. What symbol or section do you connect to most on this mural?

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Looking Toward the Horizon // February 2021

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John J. Montgomery Elementary // Chula Vista

Mural Artist: Liesel Plambeck

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Musical instruments, eagles, rainbows, hands, and people looking out together in unity. These are some images from the many drawings students submitted from home to help inspire the design of this mural, led Liesel Plambeck. Sifting through their drawings and words and hearing from Montgomery staff, it was clear to Liesel that this school is a special space. One of togetherness, one of family, of school pride, welcomeness, collaboration, and diversity. Furthermore, it was evident that the Montgomery school environment places immersive importance on the arts. Almost every other drawing collected from students contained a musical instrument, a hand, or a paintbrush. ArtReach wanted to show this collective story through this mural. A story of students united together, looking to the creativity in the horizon, to a new day, to all perspectives and ways of seeing. 

This mural was funded in part by Turnaround Arts: CA.

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Leaders in Us // March 2021

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San Miguel Elementary // Lemon Grove

Mural Artist: Isabel Halpern

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Designed by Isabel Halpern, this mural serves as a welcome back piece to students returning to school after over a year of distance learning. Inspired by words and drawings collected from students, staff, and families, and by the 8 Leader in Me habits, the imagery in this mural inspires students and staff alike to look towards each other with a sense of calm, balance, synergy, leadership, acceptance, and collaboration. Symmetrical plants and budding prickly pear cacti remind all that growth and transformation are possible and constant. We hope that students can see themselves in the figures, excelling in the arts, offering seeds of ideas, and forming leadership, together around the bright light of learning.

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We are San Altos // May 2021

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San Altos Elementary // Lemon Grove

Mural Artist: Isabel Halpern

We are San Altos // May 2021
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San Altos is a school of transformation, growth, acceptance, and kindness. Led by Isabel Halpern, this mural serves to welcome all to a special space. Over forty 6th grade students from the class of 2021 contributed their time, care, and focus on painting this mural. 

The mural features coyote pride with the mascot front and center, but there is a lot more to be found in this work. The importance of our natural world can be seen with different California landscapes: wetlands, deserts, mountains, and oceans. Lemons are a tribute to Lemon Grove and the great California state flower of the poppy is sprinkled throughout. The mural also highlights transformation with the life cycle of the butterfly. How many caterpillars can you find on the wall? 

San Altos staff, during a staff-wide design input meeting, wanted to emphasize a  big focus on literacy and reading through book imagery. Reading can help you soar, it can help you fly. But most importantly, there was a need for showing inclusion, kindness, and acceptance. Puzzle pieces, representing the symbol of students with special needs are represented in the mural while a small butterfly rests on the nose of the coyote. This is a school where coyotes and butterflies can be and are friends. Where all students are accepted and an important piece of the puzzle that completes and makes San Altos the special school that it is.

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What Makes Us CHET // May 2021

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Chet F. Harritt School // Santee

Mural Artist: Isabel Halpern

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This mural was designed and painted by a group of 7th and 8th grade artists. Led by Isabel Halpern, this mural serves to welcome all to a colorful and transformative campus. The students played a direct role in the design of this mural. As a group, they decided collaboratively on four themes that represent Chet : The Cheetah, Nature of Santee, STEAM, and Togetherness/Kindness. After deciding on the themes, smaller groups of 2 or 3 students, each got to then work on specifically what goes inside each letter with their corresponding theme. The groups spent much time and care and focus sketching out their ideas and drawings for what should go inside each letter. What we see and what they came up with is the Chet Cheetah in “C” looking out towards the horizon- to the beautiful nature seen in Santee and on field trips to Big Rock Park (“H”). The “E” shows all of the elements of Chet being a proud and thriving STEAM school, with math, technology, art, engineering, and science symbolism. And lastly, the “T” shows togetherness. Holding hands reaching out in support, acceptance, and collaboration. A closed eye breathing through difficult times, with tears as raindrops watering and changing into the hope and newness of a growing flower. 

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8th Grade Garden Mural Project // June 2021

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PRIDE Academy // Santee

Mural Artist: Hanna Gundrum

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This bright, bold, and colorful garden mural celebrates growth, transformation, healthy eating, and nature!  Hanna Gundrum led the 8th grade students to work together to come up with much of the imagery seen here: bright daisies, strawberries with bites taken out of them, a camouflaged gecko, and more. The 8th grade mural artists spent 4 paint sessions painting the majority of this long stretch of wall with focus, creativity, enthusiasm, and care. This mural is a reminder of the benefits of teamwork : it could not have happened without everyone working together in collaboration. This work serves as a legacy piece for the 8th graders: a contribution and gift to PRIDE before they leave for high school. As the seasons change, new seeds will be planted, and new growth will occur. This big new mural will continue to help cultivate this garden space as one for reflection, gathering, and tending the earth. 

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The Rose That Grew From Concrete // July 2021

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REACH Academy // El Cajon

Mural Artists: Donald Gould + Regan Russell

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Did you hear about the rose that grew

from a crack in the concrete?

Proving nature’s law is wrong it

learned to walk with out having feet.

Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,

it learned to breathe fresh air.

Long live the rose that grew from concrete

when no one else ever cared.

-Tupac Shakur

This mural was painted by the REACH Academy summer class of 2021. Led by Donald Gould and Regan Russell, it is composed of modular sections containing different imagery, themes and symbolism. The duality of night and day, light and dark, can be seen as the focal point with the sun and moon centered on the doors. The natural landscapes surrounding El Cajon and San Diego as a whole are seen with the forest, ocean, and mountain imagery. Zig-zag, wavy, and flowing patterns designed by REACH students during mural-design input classes balance out the representational imagery. Light seeps through even the strongest of brick walls. Clouds and water are always moving and changing. A fist bump of collaboration speaks to the crucial teamwork needed to create such a large work of art. And lastly, a big and beautiful rose grows out of the cracked concrete ground. It is a reminder to all of hope, resilience, and perseverance.

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Veterans Community Mural // October 2021

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Genesis Senior Veterans Community // El Cajon

Mural Artists: Donald Gould + Regan Russell

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Designed by Regan Russell and Donald Gould, this vibrant mural was painted by over 20 community members and veteran residents as a collaborative effort to help bring a sense of color, beauty, calm, and peacefulness to this gathering space. The symmetrical elements help create a grounding feel as the design blends into the surroundings and opens up the space.

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument references the local historic landmark, acting as a beacon home and guiding light. Scattered in the foreground, the red poppies are often seen as a symbol of sacrifice and worn to honor those who have fallen while protecting our country. Additionally, the flowers serve as a symbol of peace and continued hope for the future.

Thank you to all Veterans of the armed services here in San Diego and beyond.

This mural was funded by MFRG-ICON Construction.

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Hola, Haawka, Hello // November 2021

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Valley Elementary // Poway

Mural Artist: Isabel Halpern

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This mural was inspired and painted by the Valley Elementary Fifth Grade Class of 2022. As their legacy gift to their whole school community, each and every 5th grade artist painted with care, focus, and heart. Designed and led by Isabel Halpern, movement, play, growth, language, connection, and heart are the main themes that can be seen. While looking at the mural, one can read the welcoming greetings of “Hola,” “Haawka,” and “Hello” which speaks to the importance and uniqueness of Valley being the only dual language immersion school in Poway Unified. If you didn’t know, “Haawka” means “Hello” in Kumeyaay. The Kumeyaay are the original people on the land that Valley sits on. We acknowledge the Kumeyaay with this word as well as some of the native plants in the area- yucca, agave, and the prickly pear cactus.

A large anatomical heart is nestled in student-drawn flowers. The “threads of kindness” emerge and flow throughout the mural, serving as a connecting thread and finish line for the running figures. This celebrates achievement, movement, goal setting, and going after our dreams. Above all, it serves as a reminder to treat all with our hearts first and with kindness.

This mural was funded in part by the TahDah Foundation.

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Middle School Mural Project // December 2021

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Hill Creek School // Santee

Mural Artist: Milan Finnie

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This mural was painted by students from the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes of 2022. Led by multi-disciplinary artist, Milan Finnie, it spans over 60 feet of bright colors, geometric patterns, and symbolic imagery. Inspired by the participating student’s drawings and ideas, this scene is one of learning, growing, tending, joy, and balance. As we are situated in the lunch area, the center garden piece reminds us all of healthy eating, taking care of the earth, and taking care of our very own Hill Creek school garden. A large book underneath the tree, on the left side of the wall, represents growth through life-long learning. A bright sun and moon mirror each other and serve as a reminder of the importance of having balance in life. The sun and moon also speak to life cycles, the power of imagination, and going after our dreams. Pawprint patterns of the Hill Creek Bulldog can be found throughout the mural, walking along the road of learning, growth, and community.

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A New Path // August 2021

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Corner of Park & University // Hillcrest

Mural Artist: Regan Russell

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Designed by Regan Russell, this intricate mural truly brightens up the corner of Park and University right where Hillcrest and North Park meet. Composed of isometric patterns, bold shapes, and popping colors, the 3-D feels of the design makes passersby feel as if they are walking through a colorful maze. 

We can’t tell you how many people from the community stopped to talk to us while painting, to tell us how much it meant to now see this burst of color on their daily walk or from their apartment window. This project couldn’t have happened without all of those who helped and volunteered their time. 

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