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Blog: Heirloom - Community Mural in Old Northeast Reno

Manny Becerra as a child

July 2017

This month, my good and talented friend, Erik Burke, and I kicked off a collaborative, community mural project. The mural location is in an area of Reno that I grew up in, which makes it extra special and personal!

Angle of the mural wall before starting the project
Neighborhood teenager talking with Erik about the mural: Heirloom

The mural, we're calling Heirloom; it is intented to reflect the personally selected items of each contributing neighbor: the things, or heirlooms, each member of the neighborhood would like to contribute to the project to be painted that has significance to them and their family.

Photo of a neighbor's father while in the Service, overseas on duty, with John Wayne
A segment of the mural painted with Thorny, the bull
A woman from the neighborhood next to the artist Erik Burke

So far, we have a picture of a neighbor's dad with John Wayne, when his father was overseas and John Wayne was visiting troops. We have a picture of a bull, named Thorny, who grazed the pasture immediately behind the wall. I remember Thorny, from my early morning walks as a teenager to Hug High School located at the top of Sutro. We also have pictures of families that children and adults submitted to the project along with ideas shared verbally. Lots to work with!

The surrounding and accented colors chosen for the mural were intentional and meant to reflect the diverse people, ideas and walks-of-life in this part of town.

Neighborhood teenager walking home from summer school checking in on the mural project asking to help out after school
Corner of the mural with Erik Burke's artist signature
Wide angle view of the nearly complete mural

Before Erik could begin painting, we scraped the wall like nobody's business: it had layers-and-layers of paint from over the years meant to cover up tags. We believe this mural will no longer require such coverups from the city; I suspect, what's more, from personal experience, that residents of the community will have a personal connection with the mural, which will hopefully deter taggings on the wall all-together.

In addition to the support and assistance from the incredible people in the surrounding neighborhood, and from the owners of the wall, there's been positive comments from lots of passersby; the amount of high, foot traffic comes to no surprise during this summer heat since it's Reno Rodeo month -- held across the street from the mural's location -- followed by Artown in July.

Come by and check out the mural: it's located at the corner of Winston Drive and Wells Ave in the #BiggestLittleCity, Nevada.

Manny Becerra as a child

I operate from a place of compassion, possibility and imagination. My work and efforts share a common goal: create a better, sustainable and equitable world by building inclusive communities, products & experiences.