'Paint-by-the-numbers' historic mural program OK'd at city council meeting

By Thaddeus Miller / tmiller@losbanosenterprise.comDecember 21, 2012 

City Council gave its approval to a "paint-by-numbers" mural program in town.

"I think it would really be a neat asset to have in our community," said Councilwoman Elizabeth Stonegrove. "I hope we can get the funding mechanisms and the community to come out and support it."

The program, approved unanimously by City Council, is aimed to splash community-based, history murals around the city.

Community Development Director Paula Fitzgerald said murals can rejuvenate structures and encourage visitors to walk the city.

"In this case, (murals) can teach something about the rich history in the community," Fitzgerald said.

The program calls for a community meeting for local input at a yet-to-be-determined date, and will call for art solicitations from local students. Murals could be placed on the walls of any willing business owner, Fitzgerald said, and the Economic Development Advisory Committee and Los Banos Arts Council would select murals from the artists' renderings.

Fitzgerald said each mural would cost $5,000 and the funds would come from donations, fundraisers and grants. She said the only cost for the city would come from staff time.

As a way to garner community input, the murals would go up in a paint-by-numbers fashion, with volunteers filling in the color.

"It could be kids, adults, whoever could paint the murals," Fitzgerald said.

The murals would get a graffiti resistant seal.

During Wednesday's meeting, President Geneva Brett said the Los Banos Chamber of Commerce backs the program. She said she's seen an example of the murals in Barstow.

"The murals are so rich and inviting, I felt compelled to get out of my car," Brett said, adding that foot traffic is good for business.

"Once a person gets out of their car, 'Hey, there's a place to eat. Hey, that's a cute, little shop,' " she said.

Los Banos is often known to drivers, Brett said, as a place you pass through. She said the murals would be a good way to introduce the city and its diverse history to those commuters.

Councilwoman Deborah Lewis seconded that thought.

"This is a wonderful idea," Lewis said, "and it can bring a lot of historical pleasure to our city."

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos

enterprise.com.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos enterprise.com.

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