San Diego

Local Mural Project to Deter Graffiti Becomes Place of Inspiration During Pandemic

The non-profit Love City Heights enlists artists to paint murals along and near University Avenue. The 25th mural showcases an artist's expression and interpretation of the pandemic

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An art project meant to help stop graffiti in the City Heights community has become a place for artists to inspire people and offer them hope.

The non-profit Love City Heights has completed its 25th mural near or along University Avenue. It’s located in the parking lot behind the Super Cocina Mexican restaurant.

Married couple, Sunny and Russ Finch live in the College Area and traveled specifically to the parking lot to see the murals.

“I don’t know this area. I’ve heard of it certainly, but I don’t know it personally,” said Sunny Finch. “Who would paint on the side of a building and how would they get permission from the people around here? It’s amazing. It makes you want to just stand here and look at everything.”

Artist Sandra Escobar painted a 21-foot mural filled with vibrant green colors. She told NBC 7 she painted a lighthearted commentary on the pandemic and social distancing. She surveyed her social media following for title suggestions and landed on "Six Feet Apart."

“We are sharing the same feelings. Like you see your friends and you’re like ‘Oh, hi, hello.' Air hugs and things like that,” said Escobar.

“You can see that theme in there. It’s not explicit but it’s implicit,” said Russ Finch.

The latest mural is part of a larger “Avenue Mural Project” created by the non-profit. It has been paused during the pandemic, but Escobar was able to find a wall that would allow for social distancing while creating the mural.

The project’s goal is to beautify the neighborhood, while making it a destination for people to enjoy the arts and support the businesses.

“The fact that I’m able to collaborate with the community to beautify the city, and to make like a walking gallery is amazing,” said Escobar.

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