Mural project looks to draw economic, cultural benefits

OCEANSIDE — MainStreet Oceanside is finalizing plans to curate 10 downtown murals. The public art project will pair submitted artwork with building locations, and create a destination art experience.

“It’s about bringing really strong public art to Oceanside, and having a community driven process,” Mark Jesinoski, artist and MainStreet Oceanside design committee member, said. “We want people to come to Oceanside just for the murals, that have a very strong narrative style.”

The MainStreet Oceanside design committee and mural subcommittee have been working for several months on project development. Plans are to bring high-end art to downtown, create an arts master plan, and educate the community on the curating process to create an art experience.

Discussions with key stakeholders have been ongoing. Jesinoski said over 100 hours of planning have already gone into the project to ensure it’s executed correctly.

Gumaro Escarcega, MainStreet Oceanside program manager, said there are over 60 building walls that are potentially available for the murals, although no final agreements have been made.

The first phase of the project will recruit top artists to create the initial two or three murals. Once designs are submitted and judged by project curators, locations will be finalized and work will go up.

“It’s about placing the right art at the right location,” Jesinoski said. “Art can change a community.”

Jesinoski said he envisions the murals creating a “cool public space” where people get something out of the experience of being around the art.

Murals can usually be painted and weatherized in a couple of days.

The next phase of the project will be an open call for artists to paint additional murals.

The call will ask muralists to show project curators what is possible. The goal is to get a range of inspirational artwork that engages viewers.

“Murals, as an artistic medium, can bring a community together and create dialogue,” Jesinoski said. “It can give downtown an identity.”

Plans to bring murals to Oceanside’s downtown are in their initial stages. Details are being worked out on a memo of understanding between artist, building owner, and MainStreet Oceanside on artwork ownership, maintenance, and length of time it will be displayed.

Artist payment, based on the square foot of the piece, is also being finalized.

Additional details to be ironed out include securing funding grants and angel donations to bring the project to fruition.

The draw of the murals will provide cultural and economic benefits.

MainStreet Oceanside is funding $10,000 in seed money for project development and outreach efforts.

More information on the project and upcoming dates for community information meetings are expected in the coming months.

Ten murals are expected to be up within three years.

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