Ramona Taps Into Its Heritage With Murals - NBC 7 San Diego

Ramona Taps Into Its Heritage With Murals

New murals line Ramona's historic district, with more set to go up

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 7's May Tjoa reports on how Ramona is revitalizing its historic district through a series of murals. (Published Wednesday, March 15, 2017)

     

    Update: 
    The 13th mural honors the fire brigades that served the community in the early 1950’s. It will be dedicated Saturday, April 22nd at 10a.m. at the site of the original Ramona firehouse at 222 Ninth Street. 
    The 14th mural will showcase Ramona’s wine industry. It will go up outside of La Cocina restaurant on the corner of Main and 7th Streets, in May.
    The mural depicting the country lifestyle in Ramona will now be the 15th mural. It will be placed on the side of the AT&T building on 10th Street, and is expected to be unveiled in June.

     

    Update: 

    The 13th mural will be dedicated Saturday, April 22nd at 10a.m. at the site of the original Ramona firehouse at 222 Ninth Street. It honors the fire brigades that served the community in the early 1950’s.

    The 14th mural will showcase Ramona’s wine industry. It will go up outside of La Cocina restaurant on the corner of Main and 7th Streets, sometime in May.

    The mural depicting the country lifestyle in Ramona will now be the 15th mural. It will be placed on the side of the AT&T building on 10th Street, and is expected to be unveiled in June.


    People in Ramona are tapping into their heritage, and putting it up for all to see, through a series of murals that bring to life the past and present.

    One of those murals is pretty hard to miss. A portrait of aviator Charles Lindbergh towers over Ramona's Main Street, at the corner of 9th Avenue.

    The mural was once on display at the San Diego International Airport's commuter building. It's been spruced up, and is now one of 12 murals from the Ramona H.E.A.R.T. Murals  project on display in the community's historic district.

    Elaine Lyttleton formed the non-profit organization along with several like-minded community members to help revitalize their town.

    "Back in 2006 when I first moved to Ramona, it was nearing the end of the recession and there were a lot of vacant stores on Main Street. [It's] creating a reason for people to stop and shop," said Lyttleton.

    "I mean we've got a blossoming wine industry. We have more than 35 wineries with tasting rooms in Ramona, and 100 vineyards," she added.

    (Here's a look at Ramona's growing boutique wine industry).

    The most recent mural was put on display in February, next to the Guy Woodward Museum on Main Street. It portrays the city's first commercial building.

    The mural project is funded primarily through grants and a yearly fundraiser, the Ramona Art and Wine Festival, held on the first Saturday in November. The money is used to hire artists from Southern California to paint the murals.

    One of the artists is Bob Teague. He painted the Historic Commerce Mural, along with artist Mark Martensen. The mural is a reproduction of a painting by Ramona artist Louise Shidner.

    "[The entire mural is] 10 feet high by 30-foot-wide and we did the painting on 5 by 10-foot panels," said Teague. "You treat each one like it's an individual painting. What gets to be a little bit challenging is trying to get the hookups to look good."

    The first mural commissioned by the project honors Casey Tibbs, a nationally known cowboy who once lived in Ramona.

    All of the paintings showcase something the area is known for, such as horses and wine tasting.

    "H.E.A.R.T. is an acronym. We're the geographic center of the county. So we're the heart of San Diego County," said Lyttleton.

    "H stands for historic and hiking, which has to do with Ramona. E is equine because we have a lot of horses in Ramona. A is for art, antiques and agriculture. R is rural country drives and views. And T is tasting of fine wines,” explained Lyttleton, who also owns Hatfield Creek Winery. “Each of the murals that gets done is supposed to reflect one of those things that's in the heart acronym."

    Lyttleton said another benefit of the murals is that in some locations, they cover up existing graffiti.

    The project's namesake has more than one meaning. Within each mural is something unexpected. Anywhere from one to 17 hearts, often disguised, are hidden among the brush strokes.

    "You kind of have to search around a little bit, and it's a fun little game to see if you can identify where the hidden hearts are," said Teague.

    The next mural will go up in April. It will be placed on the side of the AT&T building on 10th, right off Main Street, and showcase the lifestyle in the back country.

    A mural depicting local vineyards is set to go up in May, outside the La Cocina restaurant at the corner of 7th Street.

    The 15th mural will be unveiled in June. It will feature one of Ramona's first fire trucks, and be placed outside of the original fire house on 9th Street, which now houses a business.    

    The goal of Ramona H.E.A.R.T. Murals is to eventually line the historic district with 30 to 40 murals, along with a map and guided walking tour for visitors.

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