Most of us are fully aware of the beauty within the art that surrounds our community. From historic buildings, to open space in the hills, Martinez is a great destination where art can be found seemingly everywhere. One good example is the mural paintings located throughout the city.
One mural stands out for a certain reason. Back in 2009, the Environmental Studies Academy (ESA), now called New Leaf: A Sustainable Living Collaborative, teacher Dr. Rona Zollinger, and professional environmental artist, Chris Castle, created a project involving high school students to paint a wall on Alhambra Ave near the intersection of Alhambra Valley Road. Together, the team was able to turn the gray slab of concrete to a palette visible with colors of life, giving it the title, “John Muir Welcomes Back the Returning Animals.” This mural was dedicated to preserving Martinez’s greatest historic figure, John Muir, and the legacy he left behind of preserving wilderness.
Now, a new mural adding to Muir’s beyond life legacy is being planned by the New Leaf Collaborative again, which will be placed on a retaining wall along Franklin Canyon Road, near the tunnel leading to the John Muir National Historic Site. The mural is designed to be a visual representation of John Muir’s life, focusing on the places that he visited in his travels. From his hometown in Dunbar, Scotland to his life as a child in Wisconsin, the mural follows his journey to breath-taking places now known as National Parks. The mural will also captivate the sights Muir poetically described with in his journals. Once completed the mural will become accessible for visitor to the John Muir Site, as well as passersby on Franklin Canyon Road.
For two years, Rona Zollinger, Chris Castle, and Ralph Bell, Acting Deputy Superintendent of the John Muir National Historic Site, have been working together to provide funding and overall approval for this project. After spending over 3 months planning, the students with the help of Chris Castle have produced a rough draft. On Feb. 7, CalTrans, who own the wall located on Franklin Canyon, approved the project making it possible to move on to the next phases. Now, the project is finally ready for community involvement.
As we continue through this project, we are working to get the community of Martinez involved through our fundraising efforts. We have already raised $8,000 and still need another $8,000 by April 2012.
We would strongly appreciate any amount of donations we can receive. There will be a fundraising event at Roxx on the Main in Main Street, Martinez on April 25th, where all proceeds will go to benefiting the mural.
Please consider sending your tax deductible donation for this mural to:
John Muir Association
P.O. Box 2433
Martinez, CA 94553
Note on the check - Franklin Canyon Mural