Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder

Rancho Cordova, CA  |  Story by Trina L. Drotar
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Robert and Michele by the carnival – photo by Sandy Thomas

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RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – There are two new murals in town located at Folsom Cordova Community Partnership, thanks to a grant written by FCCP Director of Programs Michele Cook funded by the city’s Community Enhancement Fund.

The first mural is “The Reading Tree” appropriately located behind the organization’s Free Little Library. The mural, designed and painted by Shannon Scott and Griffin, is, according to Cook, a gathering place for children and their parents to read.

“Our hope was that it would be something kids would look forward to seeing when they come in, to welcome them, and cause them to have their attention drawn to the Free Little Library where they could then sit and read a book with their parent.”

The second, and by far the largest of the two, is “Welcome to Rancho Cordova,” a 50 plus foot mural that begins just down the hall from “The Reading Tree” and opens with a big, whimsical sun shining bright and smiling a welcome and wraps around the corner and down the remainder of the wall. This mural was created by Sacramento-based artist Demetris Washington (BAMR).

Washington’s murals are located in Sacramento, Stockton, and Oakland, and tend to be what Cook referred to as edgier than what she was looking for – family-friendly and fun.

She asked Washington for a mural that would “represent the community so that everyone could see themselves in the mural or see something that they enjoy about Rancho Cordova in the mural, and we also wanted it to be another piece that drew the kids.”

The mural, she added, is a favorite photo stop opportunity for families who pose themselves and their children in front of the “Welcome to Rancho Cordova” sign. Children, she said, enjoy tracing the route along the river or the American River Bike Trail.

 It is brightly colored and filled with many landmarks including the library, City Hall, WIC, Regional Transit’s Light Rail, Hagan Park, Sacramento Aquatic Center, and the Sunrise foot bridge. Events like the California Capital Air Show at Mather, carnivals, and the REMAX hot air balloon are highlighted.

Bicycles roam the trail, a nod to the many cyclists who ride for fun and those who will participate in this year’s AMGEN Tour of California, which will begin Stage 2 in Rancho Cordova on May 13. The Golden Poppy, Eschscholtzia californica, California’s state flower, honored annually on April 6, blooms bright beneath the snow-covered Sierras at the mural’s close.

Palm trees, dogs, birds of paradise, people sunning, riding, walking, playing, and eyes greet each passerby. The eyes, Cook explained, are part of Washington’s style and the blocks that appear throughout the mural are what he calls creative blocks. The closer people look, the more they see, including how Washington integrated signage and hardware into the mural because they could not be moved, unlike the mural which moves with each person who walks down the hallway.

“It is an opportunity to engage families and kids who come here every day,” said FCCP Executive Director Robert Sanger, referring to the myriad programs and services the agency provides to families, parents, and children. 

The mural is being praised by everyone from children and families, who in addition to touching and photographing it, said that it is really fun to look at, to Rancho Cordova’s mayor.

“’A Day in Rancho Cordova’ mural does a remarkable job of showing the history of our City from Mather AFB to Hagan Park and more. We are proud to support local art in Rancho Cordova, and I’d like to thank everyone involved who made this piece of artwork truly come to life,” wrote Mayor McGarvey.

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Robert and Michele by the carnival – photo by Sandy Thomas