Three new murals, completed through a collaborative effort coordinated by the Special Children’s Art Foundation, were installed on July 16 and 17 on Soledad Canyon Road beneath the Golden Valley Road bridge.
The City of Santa Clarita commissioned the mural project two years ago with funds that were allotted from a one-time budget item. The city opened up the project to applications and received only one, from the Special Children’s Art Foundation. The group was thus awarded the chance and some of the funds needed to complete the project.
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Phil Lantis, Arts and Events Administrator for the city of Santa Clarita, said the method for creating the murals was just as important as the end result.
“It was an amazing process”, Lantis said. “Special needs kids collaborated with peer mentors who were around the same age in a paint by numbers process. It was amazing to see the special needs kids able to participate in something like this and the biggest impact, in some cases, was on peer mentors and what they learned working with these kids.”
The Special Children’s Art Foundation is a non-profit group dedicating to changing negative perceptions of people with special needs. Along with the funds provided for the project by the city, the SCAF also allocated resources for the project with the help of sponsorships, donations and other grants.
Overall, special needs kids and their peer mentors made up the 500 students that worked to help bring the murals to life. The volunteers came from four different local schools including Plum Canyon Elementary, Cedarcreek Elementary, Canyon Springs Elementary and Golden Valley High School.
According to Lantis, the murals are intended to embody the theme of artistic expression within the local community, an idea conveyed through images and creative symbolism.
“The theme of the murals is the celebration of the arts in the Santa Clarita Valley,” Lantis said. “There is a tree in middle with the arts and artistic activities growing out of it. The mural is great thing to brighten up that stretch of the bridge. It is perfect place for art.”
This is not the first mural that the SCAF has completed for the city. The organization also produced the recreational mural at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex as well as the mural found at the Newhall Community Center.
The city has planned a dedication for the murals sometime in late August or early September in order to coincide with the opening of the schools.
According to Lantis, the city has other projects on the horizon and he said to expect other public art projects coming up in the reasonably near future.