A trip to British Columbia inspired Manteca’s high-profile mural undertaking.
The Manteca Mural Society that is preparing to start work on its 28th mural — a salute to Manteca area residents who served in World War II — was launched in 2002 after Tom and Gayl Wilson returned from a vacation that took them to Chemainus, British Columbia and its extensive murals.
Tom Wilson, who was involved in the Vision 2020 Task Force consisting of 26 citizens in 1998 that cobbled together a vision for the City of Manteca to pursue in 1998 for downtown and community development over the next 22 years, saw the murals as a way to create a focal point for downtown.
The first mural “1918” graces the eastern facing wall of Century Furniture at Main Street and Yosemite Avenue. It reflects the same street scene a viewer sitting on a bench across the street would have seen from that spot in 1918. It even has a whimsical touch of a mural within a mural.
Today, the society is raising $25,000 to finish the World War II mural that will hang on the side of the Bedquarters building at the same intersection of the “1918” mural. The society has received a $10,000 donation toward the cost of the World War II mural.
Benefactors have stepped forward that will match dollar for dollar all other donations toward the World War II mural up to $7,000 or enough to cover the balance of the cost. For details, go to www.Mantecamurals.com or you can send tax-deductible checks to the Manteca Mural Society, P.O. Box 1666, Manteca CA 95336.
The mural society’s goal is to use the visual arts as a force to build community pride, to revitalize and enhance the Manteca economy, to promote tourism and build a cultural bridge between the past, present and the future.
The society also sees their endeavor as a way to beautify the city.
There are currently 200 members. Annual dues for students is $5, for individuals $15, for families $25, for a community service organization and $75, and for a business $100. There are also higher levels of membership available.
“Each mural tells its own story, while highlighting some of the beauty and history of either the city or the surrounding region,” noted society President Charleen Carroll.
Serving as vice president is Tom Wilson while Janice Zacharias is the secretary and Bruce Venz is the treasurer.
They are always looking for more volunteers. Michelle Davis recently joined the group to step up the mural society’s social media presence.
The society meets the second Wednesday of each month at noon.