By the time Veterans Day arrives, Manteca’s high profile mural salute to veterans will finally be “finished”.
This weekend muralist Dave Gordon is adding a 5-inch black border to the Eagles’ Heart honoring those that served in the Global War on Terror.
“We heard a lot of feedback from veterans and the community that felt the mural was unfinished due to it not having a border,” noted Manteca Mural Society President Ron Cruz.
The border is in addition to maintenance and repair work on the five veterans murals. The other murals had issues such as a swastika drawn on the arm of a solider in the World War I mural and food smeared on the bottom of others.
The worst issue was on the Eagles’ Heart mural. The varnish used to coat the paint to protect it from the elements had an unexpected reaction. On certain colors — but not others — bubbles had formed on the mural that was finished in 2013.
The mural society was able to obtain a chemical solution that had to be shipped from New York State. Cruz has been carefully rubbing it over the impacted areas to remove the bubbles and further protect the mural.
The five murals grace the eastern wall of the Manteca Bedquarters building on the northwest corner of Yosemite Avenue and Main Street at the heart of Manteca. It is the same wall where during World War II a large billboard was placed that eventually listed the 978 Mantecans that served in the war.
The murals include Zero Hour for World War I dedicated in 2018, The Spirit of America for World War II dedicated in 2015, The Forgotten War for the Korean War dedicated in 2016, Welcome Home Warriors for the Vietnam War dedicated in 2017, and Eagles’ Heart for the Global War on Terror dedicated in 2013.
The 16-foot by 20-foot murals are considered the largest public mural project honoring veterans on the West Coast.
The work on adding the border to the Eagles’ Nest starts Friday with prep work with the actual border — including the final removal of the bubbles — taking place over the weekend.
Cruz said the mural society heard loud and clear concerns about the mural appearing to be unfinished due to the lack of a border.
But due to the need to approve the border with muralist Jessie Marinas who is now living in the Philippines and to raise the funds to have Gordon do the work and pay for rental of lift equipment while dealing with a pandemic at the same time turned the commitment to complete the work into a two-year ordeal.
It also underscores the expense and work needed to maintain the 33 murals in the central district that represent almost a $900,000 investment in public art by the community.
Since taking over as mural society president in 2019, Cruz has made maintain and repairing the murals the top priority.
Cruz noted a lot of people have stepped up and donated services offered materials at discounts. Even so, there is a considerable costs associated with just reaching some murals. The scissor lift being used this week cost $417 to rent.
The society inspected all of their murals that date back to the first mural — Crossroads on the side of Century Furniture — finished 17 years ago. They then determined the murals with the most pressing issues and started address those first.
The society has repaired 10 murals — including the most problematic at Library Park due to damages caused by the homeless — at a cost of just over $5,000.
For more information regarding the mural society and how you can donate to assist with mural repairs you can go to mantecamurals.org
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org