Tonight, the Cristo Rey Community Center got a makeover. It unveiled a mural which now graces its outer wall. The improvement makes the community center a part of more than 100 urban revitalization art projects by REACH Studio Art Center.
Teens from the Teen Open Studio program at the art center created the mural over the last ten weeks as one of their four community art projects for the year. Joy Baldwin, who is the REACH Studio Art Center program director, said that the Cristo Rey Community Center had been seeking an outdoor mural for some time.
“We took a field trip on the first week of the project to go see what they do and got a big tour, learned about all of the services,” Baldwin said. “Then they started to create a design based on all of those services that are offered.”
Baldwin said that designs were pitched to the community center’s executive director Joe Garcia.
“He approved specific things, and then we reworked that and made a gigantic mural.”
Garcia said he was impressed with the REACH students’ artistic interpretation of Cristo Rey’s services, calling it a “wonderful representation.”
“Cristo Rey Community Center is a basic-needs provider, serving the vulnerable populations within our community,” Garcia said. “We provide access to medical care, mental health services, food and financial counseling.”
The mission of the REACH program is to make art accessible for everyone, as well as to create a safe space for the development of art skills — with a dash of community service.
“It is very empowering to do things that are helping others in the community,” Baldwin said. “[The teens] are learning about a large variety of different opportunities that are available in our community that are above and beyond just art making. All in all, it’s just a positive thing from every direction.”