San Diego Community News Group – Mural to illustrate essence of Point Loma.
The artist commissioned to complete the project is Betsy Schulz of Solana Beach.
Members of the Peckham family, which owns the Harbor Point building. felt the hyperlocalized mural was extremely necessary to give it a local flavor, said Doug Arthur, project manager at Sentre Partners.
The mural will consist of thousands of variously shaped tiles placed with thoughtful purpose along the entrance of the building. The tiles will illustrate images from tide pools and sea life to the historical landmarks of Point Loma.
Other images on the tiles are influenced by the building’s close proximity to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, nearby naval bases and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.
“Betsy is clearly a very skilled artist, but her ability to creatively tie her mosaic work into a community theme set her apart,” Arthur said.
Schulz has created many public artworks, including the “Sapphire Tower Columns, The Tracks We Leave Behind,” located at 1262 Kettner Blvd., and the “Solana Beach Gateway Arches” at the northeast corner of Via de La Valle and Highway 101.
“What is great about the Peckham family is that they love having the community involved,” Schulz said.
Family members said they are excited the mural will allow visitors and residents to interact with the new building. It adds more than just a new structure to the area, Schulz said.
Schulz has worked with one to three assistants a day on the nine-month project.
The majority of the mural will consist of textured tiles but will also include flat tiles.
The tiles that will appear in the background were made by youths participating in the Liberty Station-based ARTS — A Reason to Survive — program. The students involved in this particular project were from the Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) element.
They participated in two workshops conducted by Schulz, during which she taught the youths how to design and prepare clay tiles.
Schulz said she always tries to incorporate an element of education or community fostering in her artwork project.
“The thing about doing clay work, it’s very tactile,” Schulz said.
It is a good medium for the students from JCCS to express themselves through, she added.
At the first session, Schulz had the children press shells and plastic bugs into the clay to create a rich texture.
At the second workshop, the students learned how to glaze and bake the clay. The students each made two tiles — one for the mural and one to take home.
In addition, Schulz enlists the help of Esme Bitticks, an intern from High Tech High School in Point Loma. Bitticks had the opportunity to work on many facets of the art project, from interviewing the project manager to creating tiles.
“The [Peckham] family has voluntarily made a financial commitment to providing public art to the community, and hopes that commitment, along with the building itself, act as a catalyst for the future improvement of the area,” Arthur said.
He said he anticipates the mural will be installed in late August, once the construction on Harbor Point is complete.
Schulz is creating the 100-square-foot mural project in her home studio.
She said she exptects the installation process will be tedious. She and her assistants will take the mural to the site in sections for installation.
“It will take a week or two to install,” Schulz said.
The Harbor Point building is slated to open in September, at which time the public may view the artwork.
“The idea that locals will take a part in creating and installing the art wall is incredible, and we hope through word of mouth it encourages others to stop by the building and appreciate the wall,” Arthur said.