Funding and a passion for the arts have a positive ripple effect in most communities. Especially in an era when raising awareness about the importance of the arts has never been more vital. To that end, the City of Moreno Valley stands out for some of its recent initiatives.
One of them is specifically designed to spotlight local artists in a grand way.
“Tapping into our local artist community and cultivating the arts here in Moreno Valley always energizes our community,” says Matthew Bramlett, Public Information and Intergovernmental Relations Officer for the City of Moreno Valley. “We have such a thriving group of local artists here and it’s intergenerational.”
Bramlett quickly points out Jesse Aleman and Genevieve Aleman, a dynamic father-daughter duo who have been active in city council meetings and working with elected officials to establish a bona fide artist enclave here in the Valley.
“We want to make sure we cultivate that talent at a city level because we know it will help boost city pride and the community,’ Bramlett notes. “We had already seen a couple of excellent results with a privately funded group of mural artists working on a business on Sunnymead Boulevard. We want to keep going.”
That it will.
The City of Moreno Valley recently received a grant from IECF and the California Creative Corps Fund, which provides grants to local, regional and statewide organizations in 58 counties for unemployed and underemployed artists. The grants allow artists to create public awareness messages and projects in support of civic engagement and community participation in multiple priority areas, including pandemic recovery and environmental, civic and social engagement.
Bramlett said portions of the funding will be used to fuel the MyMoVal Four Mural Project, which will assist in cultivating the arts in the City of Moreno Valley. Four mural locations will be assigned throughout the city, one in each district. One mural will be located on the north side of the Conference & Recreation Center at city hall, another at the restrooms at Shadow Mountain Park. Yet another mural will reside on a wall at the city’s main library.
“Moreno Valley is overflowing with local talent, and these investments will ensure that our artists can showcase their skills in their home community,” said Mayor Ulises Cabrera. “The MyMoVal Four Mural Project will result in community-driven masterpieces that reflect our city’s diversity. On behalf of our residents, we thank the Inland Empire Community Foundation for believing in the dreams of our residents.”
“Our Conference & Recreation Center is the hub for events, recreation, and culture for Moreno Valley,” added Council Member Elena Baca-Santa Cruz of District 1. “Thanks to the IECF, this mural project will further beautify our CRC, making it more welcoming than ever before.
“We’re also going to have a mural on the south side of Fire Station 65,” Bramlett adds, “and the mural messaging is going to be focused on topics such as public health and pandemic recovery, water and energy conservation, and disaster preparedness and recovery. There will be topics such as civic engagement and voter participation, and we’re going to be doing a mural about social justice and community engagement.”
“We’re very excited to move forward with this one, and we think it’s going to be a really great project that’s going to not only cultivate our local artists, but also transform the Moreno Valley community,” he shares.
The selection committee will choose four artists for the mural projects. Each artist chosen will receive nearly $15,000 each to complete the mural.
By all accounts, the City of Moreno Valley stands out for its commitment to expand and grow. When asked what most people may not realize about the city, in general, Bramlett circles back to the mural project, which is geared to highlight the creative class that exists in the area.
“Now more than ever, I think it’s important to really harness that creative spirit that has always existed in Moreno Valley,” he adds. “Creating these murals will create local pride, but also show everybody else in Riverside County and throughout the Inland Empire, that Moreno Valley can be an artist’s hub, that it can be a place where local artists can thrive.
“I can’t think of a better way to tap into the strengths our local artist community than this mural project,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ed Delgado of District 2. “From Shadow Mountain Park and beyond, we are making sure our artists have the opportunities they need to succeed.”
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