Over the past two months I have had the privilege of creating 5 different public murals. I love the opportunity to create in public spaces because the beautiful scenes I create might bring a slice of joy and beauty, a small blessing, into people’s lives today and in the years to come. I am so proud to share with you the stories of two of these public projects in this newsletter!
Siena Youth Center in Redwood City
Yesterday I went to the dedication ceremony of the Siena Youth Center. It is a standing testament the the beautiful dreams of a handful of determined people, now manifested in this gorgeous community center and gym, that will offer a safer, more connected, and more hopeful future for the predominantly first generation immigrant families in North Fair Oaks. This building was an undertaking of The St. Francis Center , based just up the street. This non-profit organization provides substantial hands-on support to the community, including housing, food, clothing and education. Their endeavors are both ambitious and awe inspiring. Now they can add to their resources a vibrant youth center (with a slick mural!) to help keep kids off the streets and on-track with after school sports and tutoring. I feel so proud to have been a part of this project. They are always looking for help, so if you ever considered teaching English, Zumba, or anything in between, this is a great community and organization to get involved with that is not far from home.
Juana Briones Primary Grades Garden Mural
About four years ago I painted a one hundred foot long mural on the north end of the Juana Briones campus, next to the library. Kim Perlmutter, of Designing Spaces by Kim, designed a beautiful reading garden that went in front of the mural, and during recess and lunch these spaces get a lot of use from kids escaping the craziness of the playground.
Last month, with funds raised from the parents, teachers and community, Juana Briones invited Kim and I back to create an art and garden space for the primary grades. For my part, I wanted to create vibrant, playful, and colorful garden vignettes to transform the primary grades area into a destination, not just a pass-through. A LOT of surfaces were painted, and much to the delight of the children, lots of little bugs, snakes, chickens, frogs and hidden fairies were incorporated in to the “art plantings”.
I want to share a bit about two amazing people who made this project happen. The first is Kim, who after losing her only son to a fluke illness 5 years ago has dug deep in herself, created a business doing what she loves, beautifying the world through plants and megawatt inspiration. The second is Pamela Dappen, a second grade teacher at Juana Briones who headed this project up, working overtime and out of pocket to make this happen. I see the beautiful gifts they are bringing to their communities through their focused efforts, and I am deeply touched by their commitment to make the world a better place. I’ll be honest: I just show up and paint. It is people like Kim and Pamela, and Sister Christina Heltsley at the St. Francis Center, that provide the spark and vision that bring community and resources together to make it happen.
I love that it is my job to see beauty in the world, capture it, and deliver it in a big way. My brother turned me on to the song “Beauty in the World” by Macy Gray, and it is one of the best songs I have ever had stuck in my head. When I think about what I am most grateful for in my life, it is that I have the capacity to bring more beauty into the world, through my painting, family, and small daily efforts (i.e. cooking and cleaning).
I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Whether you will be with family, spending it in the Bahamas, stuck in an airport for 12 hours, or any approximate combination of the above, I hope that you are blessed with seeing “Beauty in the World!”
Fall is my favorite time of year. This time of year I settle down from the high energy, loco-motion filled summer. I experience a psychological sigh of relief at the first week of foul weather when I have to stay indoors, settle in to a cup of tea, and ponder a season of doing less. Fall nudges me towards greater introspection, retrospection and prospection.
It all coincides with my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, where I get to reflect on the bounty in my life. In honor of Thanksgiving, I would like to share with you some things I am grateful for. This list could easily be 10 pages long, but in consideration of your time, here is a brief list of things I am grateful for:
I am so grateful to live in the Bay Area. The beautiful natural environment, social diversity, strong economy, weather, thoughtful people, and great arts culture all make NorCal ROCK.
I am grateful for good health. I am nearing forty and everything still works great. Yay!
I am grateful for my family. They nudge me towards silliness, new adventures and present joy.
I am grateful to my clients, for trusting me with their walls and for providing me with a venue to pursue my passion.
I am grateful for my car. Almost 200,000 miles together, and it is one of the more dependable things in my life. A few paint spills here and there, but she is still as roomy and capable as ever.
I am grateful for the abundance of fresh food available to me. Eating has never been more fun.
I am grateful for forgiveness. I am one headstrong lady, and not very easy to live with. I am grateful that my sweet husband continues to hang out with me, eat dinner with me, dance with me and love me.
I am grateful to live in the United States. Our system is far from perfect, but spending a month in Cuba gave me a deeper appreciation of all the things that do work well in our country.
I am grateful to have easy access to well made paints and brushes. When I imagine living 150 years ago, preparing all my own colors, or tackling a hog to get a nice bristle brush, the price, quality and selection available in my local art store seem pretty fantastic.
I am grateful for sports. I love games, competition, running around, playing, sweating, giving it my all. Pure fun. I am grateful I don’t have to play tennis in a burka.
I am grateful to the vision and creativity of the people who brought me my iPad and smartphone. Not two years ago I would decline social activities so I could go home and check e-mails. I would get lost finding a clients house or misplace slips of paper with important phone numbers. I used to lug around a 20 lb. “life binder” with contact info, various lists, calendars and schedules, mural photo books, CD’s…. now I can get all my information on the go, and for a “mobile warrior” like me, the iPad is awesome.
I am grateful for music. When I am painting, music is my companion. I love that there is so much great music being made, and that it is readily available. With my iPod, I don’t need to worry about lugging around a record player, or flipping the tape over. The human expression of music is so wide, so extraordinary, so powerful. It is a huge, uplifting gift in my life.
I am grateful for my community. My art show last month was so much FUN, due mostly to the awesome friends, family, and neighbors who were there. A big chunk of the people who came out to support my event are friends I have made through the local public school my kids attend. I feel so blessed by this great community of people. It’s gettin’ REAL in North Los Altos!
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.