Youth in Philanthropy recently had the privilege to interview Osmundo Arguello, a Precita Eyes Youth Intern who is currently a high school sophomore. Osmundo has been volunteering at Precita Eyes for the past seven months and has recently been working on a sidewalk mosaic. He is looking forward to continuing his internship this summer.
Precita Eyes Mural Arts & Visitors Center is a non-profit multipurpose community arts organization that has played an integral role in the city's cultural heritage and arts education.
One of only three community mural centers in the United States, the organization
sponsors and implements ongoing mural projects, classes and tours in San
Francisco and throughout the Bay Area. There are nearly 600 murals in
San Francisco, with the richest concentration in the Mission neighborhood.
Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center offers Mission Mural Tours that
encompass more than 80 murals in an eight-block walk. Community
murals are painted by and for the community whose walls they enhance. Whether
they espouse political views, family values, cultural pride, or historic events,
they reflect the needs, hopes and dreams of the community members who paint
them. Precita Eyes was awarded the La Paz y Bien Award from Mission Dolores
(2003) for the outstanding contribution made to San Francisco by involving the
community in the appreciation and creation of art that celebrates themes of
peace, justice, diversity, and beauty.
YIP: What inspired you to get involved with Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center?
The artwork I have seen around the neighborhood, the murals are amazing! I just wanted to get involved and learn more about them.
YIP: Did you know about "mural art" before your involvement?
Osmundo: I didn't know anything about mural art, but now I know more about it than I've ever known before!
YIP: Have you taken any of the mural tours of mural art classes? If so, tell us about the experience.
Osmundo: Not yet but I'm hoping to get into it. They have Youth Art Classes that I
plan on checking out. I have seen the murals around the neighborhood. There
are over 80 murals in
an eight block area! They give tours of them every Saturday, they're great!
YIP: What kind of volunteer work are you involved in doing?
Osmundo: There are all kinds of volunteer work. I've been working on the sidewalk - the Mosaic, pouring paint, taking care of the store responsibilities, and answering the phone. You could also help out in the art classes, give tours, be a model or work on special events like the Mural Arts Community Festival.
YIP: Have you had any education in art before?
Osmundo: Yes, I had art in school, but now I understand different stuff you can do with art. Not just painting, but creating a mosaic of different ideas and using different materials. And how you can create something using what is going on inside yourself.
YIP: Tell us about a recent project, especially who benefited from this work.
Osmundo: A recent project was the mosaic of Mayan symbols going into the sidewalk next door to Precita Eyes that will be finished this summer. I think that everyone benefits. It is collaborative, so we learned to work together. And we learned we can work together!
YIP: What effect do you feel the mural art has on the community?
Osmundo: It makes the community look better! The murals inspire you to get into more stuff, more involved into art and the community. Like Susan [Cervantes, the executive director] says, "The whole purpose is to give people a voice." Each mural tells a story and brings art to the people. It is art you don't have to go to a museum to look at. Man, it's right on the walls!
YIP: What is the best thing about your experience?
Osmundo: The best thing was working with the mosaic. You learn how to use your creativity. You put your mind to it. You are working with other people. You are putting something together. You are creating different designs.
YIP: What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result? Were there any surprises along the way?
Osmundo: It changed my whole mind! Art used to be like, "Man, I don't know how to do it. I don't want to do it." Now I go home and draw. It relaxes me and clears my mind. It has really helped me. I used to think you got to grow up with a talent. Now I know you just have to just put your mind to it!
YIP: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Osmundo: Advice to philanthropists: Help out in the community to
get more murals done and get more people involved. The community will look
better with more murals. Every time you pass by a mural it's giving you a
feeling, an emotion, and somebody's story. And the story relates to you, cause
you are part of the community! Advice to volunteers: You just
can't say that you can't do it. Everyone can help out. You just have to make the
effort and participate. There are so many rewards. And Precita Eyes is a good
place to participate! Get Started!
YIP: The murals sound like a wonderful way to bring art into peoples lives. Thank you, Osmundo, for sharing your time with us and for sharing your talents with Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center!
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