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Vibrant new murals adorn the exterior of City Heights Plaza del Sol, an affordable housing complex in the heart of San Diego’s City Heights community. The murals are the latest addition to a series of ArtReach Murals created under lead artist Josué Baltézar.


APRIL 12, 2024

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City Heights Plaza del Sol recently welcomed 75 local families into their new homes. The new community results from a partnership between local nonprofits, Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation and Price Philanthropies, who understand that providing much-needed affordable housing and impactful resident services is essential to maintaining a thriving community.

To honor the diverse residents of City Heights, including refugees and immigrants from around the world, ArtReach was asked to bring their expertise in directing community-activated mural projects to lead a brand new series of murals on the outside of City Heights Plaza del Sol, centering community participants in every step of the way. 

The result is a bold pop of color on the bustling corner of University Ave and Fairmount Ave spanning six panels of exquisite and resonant murals, designed by Baltézar and painted by over 100 community participants.

One of the core aspects of the ArtReach Mural Program’s process is the inclusion and prioritization of community design input. Through ArtReach-led listening sessions with neighbors, residents, and local organizations, Josué and the ArtReach Mural Team were able to meet community members, hear their stories, and gather ideas for the final mural design. Josué then used their direct input as inspiration for the artwork, which celebrates the rich diversity of City Heights while paying homage to the native land on which we stand. The mural imagery throughout these 6 panels features symbolism from Somalian, Ethiopian, Mexican, South East Asian, and Kumeyaay cultures. 

This mural at City Heights Plaza del Sol is just the latest of a series of six community-painted murals that ArtReach has led at schools and other neighborhood sites throughout District 9 over the last year. Because of this in-depth work, including notable projects at The Copley-Price Family YMCA (Artist: Hanna Gundrum) and The Little Flower (Artist: Regan Russell), ArtReach was recently awarded ‘Artists of Year’ at District 9’s State of the District event by City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera for engaging over 400 District 9 youth and community members in mural making, helping to transform this neighborhood, one wall at a time. 

Partnering with ArtReach San Diego was an easy decision for us due to their stellar reputation for involving local groups in every step of the process, ensuring their stories are accurately portrayed. Josué and the ArtReach team exceeded our expectations by actively engaging the City Heights community throughout our project. The result is a breathtaking mural series that beautifully captures the diverse spirit, culture, and essence of the neighborhood.

Cara Vereschagin, Project Manager, Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation, concludes, “We could not be more thrilled with the finished product!”

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