Plaza del Sol // January 2024

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Plaza del Sol Affordable Housing // City Heights

Mural Artist: Josué Baltézar

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These 6 panels of murals, designed exquisitely by Josué Baltézar, are located on the outside of City Heights Plaza del Sol, a new affordable housing complex in City Heights, which provides affordable housing for 75 local families. In partnership with Wakeland Housing and Development and Price Philanthropies, ArtReach collected community input from local organizations and individuals to help inspire the mural design. The result is the stunning culmination that brings celebration to the diversity of City Heights while paying homage to the native land on which we stand. Over 100 community members also helped contribute to the painting of these murals during an ArtReach-led,  publicly activated Community Paint Day, inspiring people of all ages who came together in collective collaboration. 

Let’s dive deeper into the symbolism behind each mural panel which adorns the corner of University and Fairmount starting from left to right:

1) King Protea, the national flower of Somalia with mirroring, Haan (jugs used to carry milk, butter). This panel serves to represent resilience, growth, and adaptability of immigrant populations while honoring the Somalian population in City Heights.

2) Calla Lilies, the national flower of Ethiopia surround the endangered ibex looking out with strength and protection for our shared community. This panel shows the importance of the community looking out for each other. 

3) This celebratory panel of papel picado includes imagery of the marigold, corn staple crops, positive sun, prickly pear cactus, and the Ollin symbol of movement and migration. Celebrating Mexican culture, the focal point features the migratory monarch bringing importance and light to migratory peoples. 

4) Kumeyaay are the original inhabitants of the land we are on. The acorns and oak leaves, staples for the Kumeyaay, form the shape of a heart with our state bird of the California Quail. This panel honors the Kumeyaay as the native stewards of present day San Diego. 

5) This panel shows a traditional Vietnamese celebratory lion dance. The lion dance is symbolized to ward off negativity and to reflect good luck and prosperity. The lotus lantern above brings light to the lotus plant which is an important cultural symbol to many South East Asian cultures. 

6) The leopard shark and endangered California Least Tern marks the critical coastal environment of San Diego and serves to remind viewers about the importance of caring for our natural environment. 

Thank you to the 100+ people who painted with us on our Community Paint Day. We are honored to have brought this piece to life and to have had so much community design input and painting throughout the entire process. 

In all, these murals are an inspiration to us: a reminder that only something so beautiful can emerge from different stories,cultural backgrounds, and hands working together.