Teaming Up with the 49ers to Paint a Mural at Cabrillo Middle School

By Morgan Bricca October 30, 2015

Last month the 49ers hired me to design a mural that celebrated a new STEM lab and program that the 49ers Community Foundation and Chevron have set up at Cabrillo Middle School. I painted the “rough draft” on the wall, and then students, players, and VIP’s from the 49ers and Chevron came out to help me paint the mural. It was a highlight of my year to be involved with such a worthwhile and fruitful project. Thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of the volunteers, the bulk of the mural was finished in one day!

My Crew:

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The finished product

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The 49ers put together a movie that captures the fun of the day:

Cabrillo Stem Lab movie

Each year, the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute will select 60 sixth graders that show academic promise to participate in a six-year program that will prepare the students to pursue STEM majors at top-tier universities and become future leaders in their fields. Students commit to longer school days as well as summer school and compete in local and national STEM competitions. Through the Chevron STEMZONE fabrication lab (or “Makerspace”), students will have the opportunity to explore, discover, build, and engineer their own projects. The program also provides dedicated STEM teachers, mentors and college counselors.

Here’s why I think this program is so important:

1. The Girls

For a myriad of reasons, many girls do not choose to take robotics, programming or other “STEM” based electives in junior high and high school on their own. This gap persists until you get in the real world, where women comprise only 26% of jobs in tech. I read a great quote yesterday by Susan Wojicki, CEO of Youtube, “If women don’t participate in tech, they are losing the chance to influence the largest economic and social shift of this century,”. It starts early. There are precious few girls that choose to take STEM electives at my son’s junior high. I know one robotics class where the only girl in in the class is there because her parents required her to take the class. Making computer science and engineering part of the core curriculum means balanced classes, and giving the girls chances to explore and create projects that are creative and meanningful to them.

2. The Resources Gap

Public schools do not get enough state funding to offer music, PE or art. These same schools are even further away from being able to buy laptops, 3D printers, and staff skilled enough to run a STEM program that prepares kids to put to use current technology to use to solve real world problems. This “exposure gap” will further exacerbate the skills and income inequality in our country.

In a dream world, all kids would have access to an education like these 60 kids will receive. At the same time, this program is a life raft for these highly talented kids. I also think there is a bit of magic in being surrounded by adults who believe in you; being a “first round draft pick” reinforces your confidence as a player. Even in my brief interactions, I could see these kids were both respectful and super bright. I was honored when they invited me give a talk to the whole group. It was a risky move on their part, however, as I might have converted a few of their STEM scholars to the dark..arts…

Jokes aside, I am trying to get my all my daughter’s female cousins to come stay with us for a couple weeks this summer to attend a tech camp together because I believe that no matter what path they choose, programming and engineering fundamentals will empower them in their careers. Exposure, however brief, brings familiarity and can open up a cascade of different choices for them down the line. My parents sent me to a computer magnet for two years in elementary school and also bought one of the first home computers on the market. No mouse, just a blinking green cursor. Fun! But I learned programming sequences, such as how to make my name glide a thousand times across the screen. While that trick has never proven useful in life, I think my comfort with computers influenced my decision to choose information technology as my first career.

The fact that there were hardly any women in the classes or at the conferences, and none working in the server room with me did influence my decision to leave that line of work that. I don’t want that to be the case for women in tech in the future. However, the skills I learned during those five years were extrememly useful when I wanted to start my own business. For example, I knew how and how important it was to create a nice website that could be found by organic Google search. Fifteen years ago that was a competitive edge! Now it is common knowledge. Tech skills helped get my business started, and elevated my career from “starving artist” category to “self employed”.

Speaking of impressive tech skills, check out this montage I made! All the figures in the mural were from photos of actual students (and Principal Garber acting as referee.)

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I had to make the embarassing confession more than once during this project: I don’t follow football. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the players, except that they would be big. They showed up ready and enthusiastic to paint. They were great with the kids. They clearly wanted to be of service. Since I don’t watch them throwing other humans to the ground on Sunday nights, I sleep well with the knowledge that these guys are gentle giants. I should not have been surprised to discover what hard workers they were. At 5:30 PM, with the paparazzi all gone and my van loaded up and ready to go home, I had to cajole a few of the hangers-on to put down their brushes and let go of the work. They were in to it! (Still, their shirts were not as messy as my apron at the end of the day. Go figure.)

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I hope you have a spooky Halloween! Boo!

Warm regards,

Morgan signature

 

Morgan Bricca

Morgan Bricca

Morgan Bricca is a mural artist living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her clients run the gamut from professional creatives, including architects and designers to building owners, school administrators and community advocates. When she is not making art, Morgan enjoys sipping boba tea with her kids and taking naps on the couch.

WHAT CLIENTS ARE SAYING

Our entire staff enthusiastically appreciates the artistic transformation of our clinic. The kids here for medical services LOVE the murals as well. One of our young patients returned from emergency psychiatric services for a self-harm issue and when she came into our office she had a huge smile upon seeing the mural. It is amazing to all of us how immediately a depressed patient responded to the mural art.

It has been a pleasure to work with you. We love both your work and the positive environment and spirit you have instilled in our kids.  Once again Morgan, thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart.

Warm regards,

Chia-Chen Lee
Juvenile Hall Medical Clinic Pediatrics

Review for Juvenile Hall Mural Project by Chia-Chen Lee

Morgan blew it out of the water.  As a general contractor, I would say my decision to hire Morgan for this mural is one of the best decisions I have made in terms of impact of my work.  Every kid will remember this mural as long as he or she shall live. Watching a child see the mural for the first time is an experience words can’t describe. It’s mesmerizing to them. Adults too, for that matter. It’s a show stopper.  So much better than I could have ever imagined.

I would go out of my very busy way to recommend Ms. Morgan Bricca on every possible level, with no hesitation. Please feel free to call me if you are considering hiring Morgan but can’t quite take the leap. I will be glad to push you in.

Chris Carver
Aquatic Management Group
Raleigh, North Carolina

Mural artist review by Chris Carver

Morgan offers a unique collaborative approach with her clients. On our project, she struck the perfect balance; she listened to our ideas and feedback but very much maintained her role as the creative expert, making us feel comfortable the entire time.

I would absolutely recommend Morgan with no hesitation. With all that she has done, she is going to find the right approach for just about any client.

Jonathan Meyer
VP, Marketing and Community Relations
San Mateo Credit Union

Mural painter review by Jonathan Meyer

We absolutely love our mural! I anticipated that it would add beauty and a much-needed “nature element” onto our campus, I never could have imagined what a huge impact this would have on our school. I have seen countless children, parents, and teachers walk by in awe, totally captivated. Not only does it make our campus a brighter, more beautiful place to learn and play, it reminds our entire community of the tremendous importance of art. This is a gift beyond measure, especially in tech-obsessed silicon valley. Once again, you have exceeded my (already high) expectations!

You are so fun, inspiring and professional to work with and your projects in our kinder yard and now this mural have been my most satisfying collaborations on PTA.

Warmly,

Christy Flahavan
PTA President
Springer Elementary School

Mural Artist Review for Springer Elementary School by Christy Flahavan

The real value and pleasure of working with Morgan was that we connected with her. She was very personable, very sincere, very collaborative, but not one to sit back and let us lead it in a wrong direction. We trusted her completely from the past work she had done for us, and told her, “here is a wall, do something with it – surprise us.” It’s like dealing with a friend.

The murals she has created for us make our home more intimate, warm, and personal. I was surprised at how quickly she worked, how easily it got done, and how watching the process was enlightening. It just flowed; it was like watching a very large masterpiece being created before our very eyes. It was especially interesting when she got into the tonality and the tints. For us, it turned out better than we could have expected. I absolutely recommend her without a doubt.

Mural Painter Review by Sandy Bland

Morgan, the mural you created for our building has been a major attraction for both locals and visitors in Downtown Napa. The transformation of an eye sore, to a work of art, has been nothing short of amazing. I feel a little guilty receiving so many compliments for your work, however that doesn’t stop me from stealing part of your credit. Your attention to detail and sensitivity, bringing the Wappo tribe into the process, unified Napa’s residents with its history. This public recognition of the Wappo Indians is long overdue, reminding us all of a different time in the Napa Valley when nature and people could live harmoniously.

Every day, as I watch children and adults transported to an earlier time in the Napa Valley, I appreciate your ability to be the vehicle for their journey. I hope soon you will return to sprinkle some more fairy dust on another wall, so I can watch your magic talented creations at work.

Thank You,
Michael L Holcomb

Mural Artist Review by Michael L Holcomb

Hi Morgan,

We had an end of the school year party at our house and everyone raved about your mural. I see your name and date, 2012, on it and can’t believe it was 4 years ago.

Just wanted you to know it brings me joy every day.

Warmest,
Josh Weinstock

Mural Artist Review by Josh Weinstock

I have worked with Morgan on five mural projects at our house over the past six years. I love her work and she is a pleasure to work with. Once you see how transformed your space is by the first mural, it is easy to start seeing other rooms that could benefit from a “Morgan”.

Susan Wojicki
CEO, YouTube

Mural Painter Review by Susan Wojicki

Morgan’s work is exquisite. She loves what she does, works extremely fast, and is a true pleasure to work with.

David DaPonte
Architect, HKS

Mural Painter Review by David DaPonte

Without fail, anytime someone comes to our house who hasn’t seen the painting, they comment on it and how much they like it.

Adam King
Director, Intel Corporation

 

Mural Painter Review by Adam King