Downtown Redwood City's latest mural -- "Connection, Community, and Hope" -- is a labor of love by the fourth-grade class of Atherton's Adelante Selby Spanish Immersion School (part of the Redwood City School District), in partnership with local nonprofit Art in Action.
Located at the Bradford Street pump station, across from the Redwood City School District office and next to Redwood Creek, the mural depicts silhouettes of children enjoying balloons, kites, ice cream, games, flowers and more, set against a sunrise backdrop.
Led by muralist Lisa Miller, the mural's themes and designs were generated by months of conversations with the fourth graders, and represent their hopes and dreams for the future -- as well as what they've missed over the past year (one side features a child kicking away a stylized coronavirus like a soccer ball).
In addition to Art in Action, the Bradford Street project was approved and created in partnership with the city of Redwood City, the Redwood City Arts Commission and individual and corporate donors. The mural is expected to stay up for seven years.
The endeavor exemplifies Art in Action's goal of boosting students' mental and emotional health, in addition to their artistic knowledge and skills, as children have been especially impacted by long periods of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adelante Selby teacher Yesenia Bravo helped bring together the more than 100 fourth-grade students in Zoom meetings to plan the project, begun while the school was still in full distance-learning mode.
"When I got them all together it was like a spark of life came to them, because they were really feeling that isolation of not playing with other kids, not being able to see their friends," she said on Friday, June 11, as the painting was underway.
"I feel that this project came at a time when kids really needed that community feeling. They said 'We want togetherness. Let's paint something that shows togetherness,'" she said. "It's been a journey. They're doing such an amazing job."
More information is available at artinaction.org.