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Teen mural project brings artwork to Boyes Hot Springs

The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s Teen Mural Project celebrated Sunday the completion of the new work of art in Boyes Hot Springs.|

The bright sun beamed down Sunday afternoon as more than a hundred art supporters gathered in the center of Boyes Hot Springs to recognize the completion of a brand-new mural celebrating the town, Sonoma Valley and the local Latino culture.

The colorful mural was created by nearly 20 teens, led by internationally acclaimed spray paint and street artist Chor Boogie of San Rafael.

The 15-by-60-foot untitled painting takes up most of an outside wall at the Republic of Thrift store on Highway 12, just south of Fetters Avenue. It blends bright images of vineyards, springs, Dia de Los Muertos icons, constellations named for animals, and more.

“It was a group effort, but it was mainly the youth,” said Boogie, 40. “I basically put it in their hands to do their own concept and ideas. Technically, I'm the lead artist.”

“My perspective on murals is that they're free art for the community,” the artist said. “You don't have go to a museum to see like this.”

And yet, it was the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art in downtown Sonoma that put this community outreach project together, in collaboration with La Luz Center and the Art Escape arts training center, the source of many of the young artists who painted the mural, said Dianne Aoki, who initiated and led the project.

“We went up and down the Highway 12 corridor here, knocking on the door of every building that had a bare wall,” she said. “Now we're leaving a public artwork that represents what young artists can do.”

The project began in late August with several planning and training sessions, leading to busy weekends of daylong painting sessions on site.

“Most of us had never worked with spray paint, so it was cool seeing what you can do with that,” said 17-year-old Bernardo Moya, a first-year student at Santa Rosa Junior College who worked on the mural.

Another student artist, Eden Llodra, 17, a senior at San Domenico School in San Anselmo, said she valued the team-building experience.

“We've learned how to give creative input and build off each other's ideas and, not so much compromise, but more just put them all together so everyone's happy,” she said.

And above all, working on the project with a well-known professional artist gave the students practical experience and a boost in confidence, Aoki said.

“I've learned how to put myself out there and try something new,” said 17-year-old Coral Untehmer, a senior at Credo High School in Rohnert Park.

The 10-week mural project was funded by $10,000 grants from National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council, plus $13,000 from the Bank of Marin.

Boogie, born Jason Lamar Hailey, made history in the street art genre in 2010, when his work, “The Eyes of the Berlin Wall,” sold for 500,000 euros.

“I've done a lot a murals,” he said, looking up at the Boyes Hot Springs mural. “Then I say, bon voyage. The piece serves its purpose. On to the next one.”

You can reach staff writer Dan Taylor at 707-521-5243 or dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @danarts.

Dan Taylor

Arts & Entertainment, The Press Democrat

Do you take fun seriously? I know I do. Tell me what you want to know about arts and entertainment in the North Bay to make the best use of your leisure time and money. As a longtime local arts journalist, I have learned where to look and who to ask.

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