Pomona students and residents gathered to explore their creativity by brainstorming street mural ideas at Imagining Pomona Nov. 16 at the dA Center for the Arts.
Marisol Morales, director of civic and community engagement at the University of La Verne, and Margaret Aichele, executive director of the dA Center, partnered to create Imagining Pomona to give local students a chance to express democracy, social justice and equality through visual arts by creating street murals that best represent Pomona.
“The dA Center is interested in redesigning the underpasses in Pomona, so we’re using designed thinking to engage the community through creative brainstorming around this potential project,” Morales said. “It’s a way of bringing people together and engaging in a more collaborative process.”
The murals will be painted on White Avenue, Towne Avenue and Garey Avenue, which are all main streets in Pomona.
Attendees spread out among multiple tables set up in the Center’s lobby. In the center of each table were large sheets of blank paper and various drawing utensils to give participants access to creative freedom.
Morales asked the students to reflect on what Pomona means to them and what they imagine for the city, and then translate that into a visual piece of art.
“I got the idea of Imagining Pomona from a seminar, ‘Imagining America,’ which was based on social justice in education, held at ULV,” Aichele said.
“When I was thinking of events for the dA Center as a part of the 15th annual exhibit, ‘Aztlan: A Sense of Place’ I remembered this seminar and thought, wouldn’t it be cool to incorporate that at the dA Center?”
Student volunteers from ULV walked around and sat with the participants to help them create their murals.
“The dA Center is cool because they focus on bringing art into the community, which not a lot of people take the time to do,” Richard Navarro, sophomore math major and student volunteer at the dA Center, said.
“It is great to see everyone here coming together to design these murals. Art offers a way for people to express themselves and for the community members to get involved with each other.”
After everyone finished designing their murals, Morales asked the students to present their creations to everyone. One by one, the groups went to the front and showed the audience what they wanted to see on the street murals in Pomona.
“We wanted the students here to be a part of the conversation and we wanted to hear their ideas of what they want to see in these murals,” Aichele said.
Each group’s mural was vastly different, but all of the students’ ideas reflected what Pomona meant to them in their lives.
“Art has no boundaries and it brings a lot of people together,” Oscar Leal, volunteer at the dA Center and participant in Imagining Pomona said. “It has nothing to do with your economical background or your political stance. Art is just powerful and for everybody.
Having opportunities to express yourself artistically like we’re doing here at this event, Imagining Pomona, is great because it’s so close to home.”
The dA Center plans to share these mural ideas with the city of Pomona and get them incorporated into the city’s plan.
“We’re hoping that this process eventually gets implemented in the city plan and our job here is to facilitate that process,” Morales said.
Madison Rubino can be reached at email@example.com.