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Buellton splashed with color as new mural goes up to celebrate local parks

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The city of Buellton has been made brighter by community pride as locals mobilized to beautify the town with an elaborate set of murals celebrating local parks.

Four 8-foot by 8-foot murals depicting four of seven Buellton parks — the Santa Ynez Botanic Garden, PAWS Park, River View Park and Zaca Creek Golf Course — were affixed to the west-facing wall of the Postal Annex building located on Highway 246.

The project was officially unveiled for the public during a dedication ceremony Saturday, where project organizer Liz Poulin Alvarez also recognized project sponsors Buellton Arts and Culture Committee, Buellton city councilmembers and the community at large for supporting the arts.

Alvarez, who also is a member of the Arts and Culture Committee and an art teacher at Lompoc High School, said the objective for the project was always about the community.

"The goal of this mural project was to involve the community in an art project," Alvarez said, noting that the undertaking required more than 100 hours and involved several area artists and support from local organizations.

Despite the extra layer of challenge caused by the pandemic that required volunteers to adhere to safety measures and social distancing protocols in order to participate safely, the commitment paid off.

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Volunteer students help paint a mural as part of the mural project sponsored by the Buellton Arts and Culture Committee.

"Each mural represents a feeling or impression of specific parks to show visitors and residents alike [what our] Buellton offers," she said.

The four parks, according to Alvarez, were chosen because of their location off the beaten path, away from the town's main throughway. The murals not only celebrate that "Buellton is a small community with beautiful vistas and places to visit" but also serve as an advertisement to passersby, she said.

"A traveler passing through town at 45 mph may see these mural paintings as snapshots and perhaps make a plan to visit these parks — or regular commuters may see these murals as a daily reminder of the beautiful parks we have in Buellton," Alvarez said.

A bright color palette was used to paint the murals that are accented with shadows and a tiled background designed with an Old World illusionist technique called tromp l’oeil. Alvarez said the style was intended to resemble polaroid snapshots reminiscent of 1940s-style travel posters.

072021 Buellton mural 1.jpg

Four 8-foot by 8-foot murals depicting four Buellton parks — the Santa Ynez Botanic Garden, PAWS Park, River View Park and Zaca Creek Golf Course — have been added to a wall on the Postal Annex building located on Highway 246 in Buellton.

"They are a reminder of Buellton’s link with the car culture of that time," she noted.

Alvarez's design concept was hatched last year, and by summer 2020 the design sketches and a call for local artists and students from area schools, including Lompoc High School alumni, had fallen into place.

"The design idea was meant to incorporate all types of painting for all ages and abilities," Alvarez said. "For example, the painting of a tiled background could be completed by a beginner painter while the blending part was meant to challenge a more experienced painter. This project was meant for anyone who expressed interest in wanting to paint a community mural and contribute to beautifying their surroundings."

The beautification project was sponsored by the Buellton Arts and Culture Committee and is part of an ongoing communitywide effort to celebrate Buellton's history and landscapes through the arts.

Lisa André covers lifestyles and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record. 

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