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Large street art mural to be unveiled in Sonoma

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The teen muralists:

Izzy Albano, Sydney Chapin, Morgan Copeland, Danna Dagio, Katherine Fonseca, Annika Ginter, Jack Kelly, Raven Sanchez Leader, John Leon, Eden Llodra, Dani McCarthy, Emily Molina, Bernardo Moya, Theresa Perez, Athenea Silva Reyes, Ella Rehnmark Stewart, Coral Utnehmer, Gregory Valavanis, Sofia Vitale and Cally White.

After months of planning and hard work, a huge new mural will be unveiled from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14, in the Springs.

The mural, created by teens and organized by the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, was funded in part by a National Endowment for the Arts grant aimed at supporting public art and artist residency collaborations.

“The mural is a really great opportunity for Sonoma teens to expand their horizons,” said street artist Chor Boogie, who led the project. “Spray paint as a medium allows them to learn something new – something outside of what they’re being taught in school, and in life.”

“Not only have I learned how to spray paint, but I have also learned how to think and be original with my artwork,” said Eden Llodra, 17, who dedicated more than 100 hours to the project. “Chor tells us, ‘Look, listen, follow.’ Through this, not only has our confidence with the spray can grown, but also our fearlessness to make mistakes.”

Boogie, a.k.a. Joaquin Lamar Hailey, is a critically-acclaimed spray paint artist whose murals and art exhibitions have appeared all over the world, including the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the Smithsonian Institute.

Sonoma Valley Museum of Art received a challenge grant from the NEA in support of projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations.

“Receiving the grant was actually a big surprise for us,” said SVMA’s Dianne Aoki, who shepherded the mural through to completion.

The initial grant from the NEA was matched by California Arts Council and Bank of Marin, for a total of $30,000.

Boogie incorporated workshops, artist-led talks, performances, and other education opportunities into the project, which has culminated in a large mural on the south facing wall of the Republic of Thrift.

“I am thrilled with the mural,” said Republic of Thrift owner Jeannette Tomany. “I love the colors and design.”

Tomany said that she has enjoyed getting to know the teens and watching them work.

“They seem to really look up to Chor and I hear them asking for his thoughts on art and even personal matters,” she added. “It’s been fun to watch them bond.”

Llodra heard about the project on a visit to the museum and she jumped at the chance to participate.

“At first I was intimidated by Chor, as his personality is very strong and his work is brilliant and jaw dropping,” she said. “Yet over time I saw that he was just like any other person who is passionate and obsessed over their art form.”

Llodra is passionate about music. She grew up in Sonoma and attended Flowery Elementary and Adele Harrison Middle School, but today is a boarding student at San Domenico School in Marin. She won a scholarship to play the cello in the school’s orchestra as part of its Virtuoso Program.

The other students involved include Izzy Albano, Sydney Chapin, Morgan Copeland, Danna Dagio, Katherine Fonseca, Annika Ginter, Jack Kelly, Raven Sanchez Leader, John Leon, Llodra, Dani McCarthy, Emily Molina, Bernardo Moya, Theresa Perez, Athenea Silva Reyes, Ella Rehnmark Stewart, Coral Utnehmer, Gregory Valavanis, Sofia Vitale and Cally White.

The teens have completed eight 7-hour painting days on Saturdays and Sundays.

The teen muralists:

Izzy Albano, Sydney Chapin, Morgan Copeland, Danna Dagio, Katherine Fonseca, Annika Ginter, Jack Kelly, Raven Sanchez Leader, John Leon, Eden Llodra, Dani McCarthy, Emily Molina, Bernardo Moya, Theresa Perez, Athenea Silva Reyes, Ella Rehnmark Stewart, Coral Utnehmer, Gregory Valavanis, Sofia Vitale and Cally White.

The mural themes centered on pride and healing in the community, Sonoma history and family.

Boogie coached the teens on all aspects of the mural painting process, including compositional choices, the laying on and layering of color, perspective, and spray techniques.

The Teen Mural Project was created in partnership with Art Escape, the Republic of Thrift, La Luz and the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Tomany is as excited as the teens to show off the mural on Saturday.

“These kids will cherish this time and I hope that they will be able to look at the mural for years to come and remember they helped create this amazing piece of art for us to enjoy,” she said.

Republic of Thrift is located at 17496 Sonoma Highway. Due to limited parking spaces, guests are asked to park at Flowery Elementary School.