The early morning chill still hadn’t even completely thawed when Tom and Gayl Wilson were busy boarding in a scissor lift that’ll take them high above the blacktop directly across from Library Park.
While the bulky metal machine undoubtedly would have ended up giving them pristine views of the still wet grass around the gazebo, the purpose of their morning meeting wasn’t for sightseeing and it wasn’t to take advantage of the toys that had showed up on site.
In what has become somewhat of a routine for the couple, they were there to work – this time prepping a wall that will eventually become another of Manteca’s growing arsenal of murals that has began to attract people from outside of town as well as those who enjoy taking the walking tour that points out everything from the steep face of Half Dome to the colorful skyline of San Francisco.
Knowing that they have master muralist Dave Gordon on their side to take his brush to the rough concrete canvas – eventually turning it into something could very well stop traffic – is just an added dose of motivation for the couple who prepare their scrapers and ready themselves for the long morning of turning a rough wall into a surface smooth enough to paint over.
“Projects like this are very much dependent on volunteer efforts, and every little bit that we’re able to do goes a long way,” Tom Wilson said while readying his scraper to create a smooth edge. “Murals like this can cost thousands of dollars, and when we can establish a volunteer effort that’s willing to do some of the prep work and even some of the clean-up that makes the money we’ve raised stretch a whole lot further.”
Gordon first became part of the fabric of Manteca when he painted the massive mural along the side of Century Furniture right where Yosemite Avenue crosses Main Street – a spot that appropriately earned the mural the nickname “The Crossroads of California.”
Since that experience went over so well, the Manteca Mural Society – which formed to raise the money and cover the cost of the large mural – soon started inviting Gordon back for more murals. That eventually would include “hands on” murals where the entire community got their chance to pick up a brush and lend a hand to help make the beautiful and decorative attraction a little bit more personal.
The concept spread from there.
Even though the new mural that will showcase the beauty of Library Park is still a way off, Wilson is enthusiastic that the group effort approach will allow all residents to take even more pride in the work that his done simply because it’s more than just a pretty picture.
“When you become a member of the Manteca Mural Society and you get to work on these magnificent things, then you’re fingerprints are on them once they’re completed,” he said. “After all all, this is ‘your’ club and there’s a sense of pride when you look at that once it’s completed and you know that you helped beautify the town that so many people love.”
To contact Jason Campbell e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (209) 249-3544.