Program inspires kids to get involved with community through art

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) – A local group is trying to add some beauty and color to San Diego County.

The Artreach Mural Program is designed to allow kids to explore their creativity while establishing a connection to their community, something that’s done even before murals are painted.

Oscar Gallegos, a student at John J. Montgomery Elementary, said this is the feeling he gets every time he sees the brand new welcome mural at his school.

“It feels great to think, hey, my friend helped make that. I helped bring this to life,” Gallegos said.

He, along with his classmates, participated in the unveiling Tuesday morning. It was designed by the entire 6th-grade class. Their idea was to highlight the school’s eagle mascot, palm trees that are seen all around San Diego, to an art brush that represents the arts on campus.

Isabel Halpern, the mural program manager, says, “They don’t just start by painting – they start by drawing out our ideas having group collaborative brainstorms for what they can see for the walls on their school or community center.”

All of this is done through the organization Artreach Mural Program, which works directly with youth in our community through their schools or community centers, giving them a platform and tools to create murals.

This morning ABC 10News showcases a few of the murals from Hillcrest to Paradise Hills. The mural called “Brightest View” at Pacific View Leadership Elementary School was started in March of 2020 but was put on hold due to the pandemic. It was finally completed two years later.

Hanna Gundrum, an artist who helped create that mural adds, “It’s a beacon of light optimism, especially after being postponed after the pandemic. Just serving as a bright stop literally and metaphorically on their campus and in their community.”

If you’d like to donate or learn more about ArtReach San Diego, including how to help the organization, by visiting www.artreachsandiego.org.

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