The artistic bounty continues at Panorama Park, which will unveil the latest murals from a collaborative project on Monday.
This is the second phase of the Panorama Park beautification initiative, which began last year with the painting of 21 utility boxes, water pumps and trashcans throughout the park, completed by 20 artists. The effort was completed through a partnership with Supervisor Mike Maggard’s office, the Arts Council of Kern and the county’s General Services Department.
For the latest endeavor, tackling five clusters of metal items in the park, five artists took part: Iva Fendrick, Jorge Guillen, Taya Marroquin, Kristen Montoya and Jennifer Williams-Cordova.
Given the same general wildflower theme, each took it in a different direction. Guillen said he was inspired by Arvin wildflowers long gone and those that grow alongside the road.
He wrote of his mural, "The feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl is adorned with Mayan sunflowers as it runs through the stories within the Mayan Codex. These Mayan sunflowers have always stood out to me interdependent of the other hieroglyphics within the codex because of their complicated simplicity."
Marroquin said she looked to Hispanic folk art and Aztec textiles for her piece, which took 48 hours to complete.
"From a very young age, my grandma would recycle her clothing into the brightest handmade blankets and her dedication to creating something new out of something used has left an influence on me," she wrote. "I have been inspired to create pieces that bring colorful life to dull places and pay ode to my Hispanic heritage."
Fendrick was surprised that the project this time involved a cluster of boxes (rather than the single pieces completed in phase one) but she was up for the challenge.
She said the park is special to her given her son Chris' role in helping bring it about, working with then-Supervisor Barbara Patrick’s office and other residents to help form a committee to create the park.
“So my reason for wanting to be part of the painting of the electrical boxes is because of what Chris, my son, had started about 20 years ago,” she wrote, noting that many other service groups and individuals have also contributed to the park over the years.
Fendrick said she was inspired by the recent superbloom of wildflowers, brought on by last winter's heavy rain, and depicting mountains and fields covered with flower bloom and green hills.
For her piece, Montoya said she set out to depict Mother Nature with a crown of wildflowers.
"She has a very ethereal magical look and an ambiguous ethnicity that everyone can relate to, she wrote. "I tried to incorporate many different kinds of wildflowers into the mural as well. Most of the flowers I painted were made to look like actual native Kern County wildflowers and flowers I saw around the park.
Even though it took about 60 hours to complete, all done while trying to avoid the lingering September heat, the artist said she proud to be a part of the project.
"Public art adds so much to community pride and attachment. I had so many people stop me while I was working to thank me for making the park a better place. I am proud to have contributed a true piece of art for the community to enjoy."
Williams-Cordova said she submitted the design playing sage brush green, the gold of dry grass, and dusty rose sunsets against bold depictions of vivid flowers.
"This juxtaposition of the soft swatches of colors and bold stylized flowers give the design a modern but also familiar feel. Pastel colors are often tranquil and inviting. Bold, bright colors are infused with energy and positivity. To me, the combination is the perfect representation of the Panorama Park."
She said the mural project is another way to highlight how special the area is.
"It is such a unique place, and one of my favorite parks for enjoying the outdoors. With the addition of the artwork, there is even more vibrance and energy."