Manteca’s murals are designed to give visitors, newcomers and longtime residents alike an insight into the community’s culture, history, and economy.
The Manteca Mural Society has finished 17 downtown murals. Another will be added in early 2013 while Manteca Ford is commissioning a large mural saluting veterans further up Main Street.. The best place to start an easy walking tour of the murals completed so far is to start in the 200 block of East Yosemite Avenue of the downtown district.
The first mural on your tour is part of the Veterans Plaza in front of the Legion Hall in the 200 block of West Yosemite Avenue. Ripon artist Dave Peterson’s original transparent watercolor of Half Dome is blended with images of Yosemite Valley and Merced River.
The front of the Legion Hall in the 200 block of East Yosemite is a compilation of details such as a rainbow arching above the granite cap, as well as, trout in the Merced River. The mural is particularly dramatic just after sunset where ground lighting creates the feel of nightfall coming to Yosemite Valley.
The mural gracing the Main Street wall of Century Furniture located at Yosemite and Main is Manteca’s largest. It covers 4,000 square feet and was created by Dave Gordon.
“Crossroads” depicts what Manteca’s business district looked like in 1917. That is when the community was incorporated as a city. It offers the same vantage point you would see standing across the street next to the Bank of America parking lot, but 90 years later.
Arguably the most popular of all murals, people who didn’t even grow up in Manteca and experience the cruise down Yosemite Avenue in the 1950s and 1960s find themselves reminiscing about bygone days. It is in the 100 block of North Main Street on the Accent Carpets building and is the largest — and most realistic — of all the murals.
You can cross Main Street from the “Cruising” creation to reach the “Pitching Pumpkins” mural.
It pays homage to Manteca’s most famous crops — pumpkins. Seventy percent of California’s jack-o’-lantern pumpkins are grown in the Manteca countryside.
From the “Pitching Pumpkins” mural you can head west through the parking lot. You will reach the “Rotary Mural” and a new mini-plaza.
Take a minute to rest on one of the benches and enjoy the water fountain and garden. That way you can appreciate the detail of artist Don Gray’s salute to the worldwide service efforts of Rotary International.
The next mural is reached by heading south on Maple Avenue. Stay on the east side of the street when you reach Yosemite Avenue. Look upward to the west and you’ll see the “San Francisco” mural.
This is in the 100 block of South Maple Avenue and shows a Manteca barn scene with children playing.
The society’s 96 by 12 foot salute to Manteca’s dairy industry is on a wall in the 200 block of West Yosemite Avenue facing the Athens Burgers parking lot.
Bounty of the Valley
The salute to the richness of Central Valley farmland can be found on the alley off the 100 block of Sycamore Avenue.
This whimsical mural on Manteca Avenue across from Library Park offers a vantage point out of a window looking into an orchard where children are frolicking in “Manteca snow” - gently falling almond blossoms.
Directly from the Manteca Snow mural on the side of the Library Park restrooms is the Children’s Mural painted collective by over 100 kids during an arts program conducted in the park.
on Mural Walk
There are five other murals in Library Park just completed several months ago
The mural shows a women’s team playing with a men’s team looking on. The stands are packed with about 100 spectators with each face being someone local.
• The Yokuts Indians
The shows a family of Native Americans whose ancestral lands are in and around Manteca gathered around the evening campfire listening to the story of creation.
• The Pioneers
The mural depicts the hard struggle to make a living and provide for the family that was faced by farmers that settled the Manteca area before irrigation was developed.
The mural portrays the bountiful harvests and once Manteca farming came into its own with irrigation.
The mural depicts images of industry from Manteca.
The Family City
Located in the 200 block of North Main Street on the side of Crystal Down’s State Farm Insurance Agency, the mural is a salute to the different cultures and people that make up Manteca. The City of Manteca’s official motto is “The Family City.”
— DENNIS WYATT
209 staff reporter