The “Beautify Escondido” mural project along the Grand Avenue barriers has come together in the past few weeks to paint about a hundred concrete barriers along Grand Avenue with beautiful, inspiring artwork.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, eateries along Grand Avenue in historic downtown Escondido have been allowed to open outdoor patios on the sidewalk and street. To keep lanes of traffic safely separated from diners, ugly gray concrete barriers were placed along the avenue. But those who love to create art saw numerous blank canvases.
The Beautify Escondido mural project has resulted in numerous colorful works of art that promote love, hope, friendship and community, not to mention businesses along Grand Avenue.
The white, concrete barriers along Grand Ave. served as the unexpected canvas for the project, which was led by the Escondido Art Association (EAA).
A few months ago, Suzanne Nicolaisen and Jinx Lennon, two members of the EAA, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the arts and the community since 1956, decided to paint the barriers outside of the EAA’s Artists Gallery.
Soon, other business owners in the area began to ask the two artists to paint their barriers, and thus, a movement was born.
Carrie Foster, current president of the EAA, told The Coast News that eventually volunteers, people from the community, local artists and business owners began painting the barriers throughout Grand Ave.
“I got to know a lot of the folks out there, and I think, under such weird circumstances that are going on, it really has brightened people’s moods up a lot,” Foster said. “I’ve had so many people stop by just to thank us for making it more positive and more uplifting.”
Amber Tarrac, Escondido’s deputy director of the economic development office, also said that there has been overwhelming support from the community.
“The community has seen just how beautiful this whole movement has been. These started as dull-looking barriers, but the art community really took it and ran with it,” Tarrac said. “It’s been an extraordinary effort with amazing volunteers – locals that have grown up in Escondido have volunteered so much of their time to pull this off.”