The San Marcos Housing Authority raised its community mural in front of the PODER Learning Center last week.
Normally, the housing authority hosts summer programs for kids with field trips, arts and crafts and science experiments, and activities like bingo for their seniors. Like many community groups, they had to adjust to a new normal in the wake of the pandemic, inspiring the idea for a collaborative yet socially distanced art project.
“We wanted to have something out there for our residents to be proud of, to lift the spirits of anyone who sees the mural,” said Maria Calcaben, senior service coordinator. “It was a creative way to engage our residents when we otherwise couldn’t.”
Interns Jason Dominguez and Amado Gonzalez completed socially distanced outreach and dropped off the wood tiles, paint brushes, water cups and paint at each doorstep of those who signed up.
Thirty-five families, including elderly and disabled residents contributed a piece to the mural by painting one of the wooden tiles.
Two weeks later they collected the mural fragments and arranged them to create the colorful image of hands in the shape of a heart.
Volunteer Carlos Lujan made the platform holding the pieces together and donated the wooden tiles.
The housing authority hopes to do more programs in a similar style by sending projects to families, said Calcaben.