Gabriela Joseph, Staff Reporter
Students of Juan Luna-Avin’s Visual Public Arts (VPA) class are hard at work completing a new mural on the intersection of Inter-Garrison and Fifth Avenue.
Back when California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) was the Fort Ord military base, military personnel painted the original mural with armored tanks and toxic lead paint. Years later, beginning on Sept. 11 2001, Johana Poething and her Visual Public Arts (VPA) students continued to build the mural creating what was known as “Signs and Symbols.” After trying to simply cover up the lead paint and military motif with other designs, it became obvious that the whole mural needed to be replaced, not just from an artistic standpoint, but because of health hazards as well.
At first CSUMB’s VPA faculty thought about replacing the lead paint and keeping the same design. However, says Luna-Avin, lecturer for the VPA mural class, the opportunity to fabricate a completely different mural is “rare,” especially on a small campus like CSUMB. So, mirroring CSUMB’s habit for change they decided to make something completely different.
The new design, Luna-Avin said, was created in collaboration with CSUMB staff and faculty, members of the surrounding community and of course Visional Performing Arts students.
According to Luna-Avin, students contributed about 80 percent of the final design. This design, consisting of interlocking and slightly abstract images of CSUMB’s vast landscape—the beach, ocean and campus—will be displayed as our very first “vision mural.” The centerpiece, a warped compass bordered by a telescope and other lenses portrays CSUMB’s vision of an ever better future, said site supervisor John Elliott.
For now, the VPA Mural class is measuring lines to outline where certain parts of the image will go. Luna-Avin plans to start painting at the end of September and ideally, he said, to finish by the end of this semester.
And with their team of passionate and dedicated students it looks very possible. While a majority of the students helping out are VPA majors, CSUMB alumni will also be involved. And once the real painting starts, if anyone wants to stop by to lend a helping hand—definitely do it Luna-Avin says.
There’s a lot of excitement and once it’s done the mural will be a source of pride for everyone. The operation may seem a little disorganized now but “that’s how art is,” Juan Luna-Avin confided to the Otter Realm, “it’s always chaotic.”