Originally published in La Plaza Press
By MIA ARANDA
The Blacks Lives Matter mural on the wall of Parliament Chocolate in Redlands is shown in the works on Sept. 16. The final draft of this mural will be shown on Oct. 3 during a “call to art” show. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)
While driving past Redlands Boulevard, one might notice the new mural in the works on the wall of Parliament Chocolate with bold words spelling “Black Lives Matter.”
This mural was made by members of the Artlands, a nonprofit organization in the Inland Empire.
The mural will be shown in a “call to action” show on Oct. 3 from 6 to 9 p.m.
A booth will be set up to help people register to vote. For California, the deadline for online and mail registration is Oct. 19 and in-person registration ends Nov. 3.
Pre-registration for eligible 16 and 17 year olds is also available to do online. By doing so, California teenagers will have their registration complete and will become active when they turn 18 years old.
The link to pre-register or register to vote is: https://registertovote.ca.gov/?fbclid=IwAR3akggLXI0bM3DDiAPqlZSzVtZ06UnORo6vVpqirNjnSABwnqM2mUKIU58
The show will also include a paleta fundraiser to raise money for street vendors, immigrant justice organizations, Inland Empire arts and many art installations and pieces as well as other vendors and organizations. Augies Union will also be serving coffee to help fund their future co-op.
“On Saturday, we will be creating a space at the intersections of art, community, and social change,” artist Yulissa Mendoza said.
Artists James McClung, Jay McCrary, Yulissa Mendoza and Daniel Gohman take a break from painting outside of Parliament Chocolate in Redlands on Sept. 16. McClung, McCrary, Mendoza and A’Kailah Byrd-Greene (not shown above) collaborated on the final design of the mural. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)
Earlier this year, Duan Kellum, A’Kailah Byrd-Greene, James McClung, Jay McCrary, and Yulissa Mendoza met to brainstorm about the mural, including its design, impact, and events for the future. In the end, Bryde-Green, McClung, McCrary, and Mendoza collaborated on the final design.
“The Artlands had been wanting to create more public pieces of art regarding the most recent surge of the BLM movement and so did the owner of Parliament, but the City of Redlands did not approve of such ideas,” Mendoza said. “If we couldn’t do it in public spaces, the next best thing was to do it on the wall of a business that would approve of said project.”
“The inspiration of the design came from the Black Lives Matter design I had made,” Mendoza said. “With the help of Duan, I printed them and we posted my design as well as his on the windows of the Artlands. We began selling our posters on a ‘pay what you want’ basis and donated the money to UNCF [United Negro College Fund] and TruEvolution.”
Yulissa Mendoza’s Black Lives Matter design can be seen on posters in various shop windows in Redlands, San Bernardino and Riverside. Local Redlands businesses include A La Minute and Kith. (Courtesy of Yulissa Mendoza)
Mendoza brought the artists together to work on this project and designed the florals for the mural.
“In this case, some of us had already previously worked with The Artlands, but we also brought in new artists as well!” said Mendoza. “I’ve also had several people stop by and volunteer their time to helping me fill in some of my floral layers because the black paint needs a few layers to be visible so thank you Jina, Daniel, and Gian.”
The mural design was first done digitally then it was transferred on the Parliament Chocolate wall with its final design using acrylic paints. Supplies needed for the mural were purchased by the owner of Parliament Chocolate, Ryan Berk.
“Each artist donated their time, energy, and skills,” said Mendoza.
“Murals may seem like band aid solutions or even come off as very performative. For me, I’m all about the small things because I know they have ripple effects. I’m hoping that this act of resistance of literally taking up space in the predominantly Republican Redlands will act as the groundworks for the nurturing of their people and change within the city. I hope that when people walk by, it’ll allow for them to feel validation in their existence, it’ll empower people to create their own art or make change within their city, inspire folx to stand up for themselves and others, and to signal to folx that safe spaces exist within their city, that they are welcome [and] seen! Hopefully these acts, [like] art, protests, peoples voices/movements, etc., will lead city council to see how much their city members really want to improve the life of and care for their town/people and to see how much this change is really needed.”
The Artlands continues to brainstorm ideas for community events and artwork in the Redlands community. Stay up to date with their work by following them on Instagram @theartlands.