Weaving together history and art with bicycles, the Pacoima Mural Ride guided participants on a people’s tour of some of the treasures found in the San Fernando Valley (SFV), this past Saturday. The ride introduced cyclists from every corner of Los Angeles to the community spaces, cafes, and murals that tell the history of the community, even as new chapters are added with each new mural that is painted.
Organized by the cyclist collective Bikesanas del Valle, the ride highlighted a mix of murals painted within the last few years, all emphasizing the different aspects and rich history of the community. Manny Velazquez was one of the artists who was part of the ride and shared some of the history of mural art in the SFV.
Velazquez, who has been active in the community since the 1970s, bridged the history with the present as he talked about some of the murals he has painted and the other murals we visited along Van Nuys Blvd, which has become known as Mural Mile. He explained that the majority of murals painted in the last few years have all been accomplished through fundraising or by the artist paying out-of-pocket.
The do-it-yourself spirit can been seen at almost every mural and even brought together an all-women collective called “HOODsisters,” adding the voices of some of the women that also live and contribute in this community.
Artists in the Valley don’t have the same kind of support networks that other artists in Los Angeles do in terms of getting funding through grants. Despite the lack of institutional support, artists like Kristy Sandoval and Rah Azul have relied on community support to fundraise for painting supplies and helping paint the mural itself. Read more…