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Santa Ana alley is a canvas for muralists

Brick buildings lining both sides of the alley behind Santa Ana’s 4th Street, between Main and Bush streets, have become a canvas for artists to paint murals, including one depicting the history of Santa Ana as envisioned through the eyes and mind of the muralist Moises Camacho.

Every Saturday, Camacho oversees a group of painters as they work on the 20-foot tall, 63-foot wide mural.



The mural depicts symbols of Santa Ana’s history and culture, such as jacaranda trees transforming into traditional quinceanera dresses and orange and strawberry pickers with the Santa Ana Mountains as a backdrop.

“We want to create something that is beautiful, and not only beautiful, but has some link with the community,” said Camacho, who previously painted a mural in the same alley and the mural, “Siempre Santa Ana,” at Santa Ana’s Heritage Museum. “Because of that, we started designing the brief history of  Santa Ana.”

Camacho also painted the “Mission to Mars and the Red Planet” mural at 3rd and French streets.

The latest mural has no official title yet, Camacho said, but some suggestions have been “Brief History of Santa Ana,” “Viva Santa Ana,” and “Alley of the Kiss.”

The buildings serving as the canvas are owned by Raul Yanez, president of the Santa Ana Business Council, who approached Camacho several years ago about creating murals on his downtown property.

“Sometimes when you talk to private owners and you ask for a wall to paint, they say no,” Camacho said. “I think we need to change that. The main cities of the world, they have murals and they push to have public art in the street. That is what creates the essence of the city. That is what makes the city more interesting.”

Camacho said he hopes the alley, which was once blighted, becomes a local landmark.

“Now it’s someplace that people want to walk in and take a photo … and hang out for a little bit,” Camacho said. “So what I want to do is finish the whole thing and basically beautify the alley.”

Artist Anna Nalle volunteers her time on some Saturdays to contribute to the beautification of the alley.

She was painting Rodin’s iconic “The Kiss” sculpture across the alley from Camacho’s mural – what she is now calling “the alley of love.”

“I want to learn how to paint big and what better place to paint a mural on a wall,” Nalle said. “It’s beautiful  and its uplifting and it gets people involved.”

Artist Renee Ortiz has also been volunteering on some Saturdays to work on an alley mural near Camacho’s piece.

Ortiz, who is earning a master’s degree in fine art, said being able to paint alongside Camacho is “incredible for sure.”

“It’s a pretty neat project,” Ortiz said. “We were talking last week about the idea of beautifying the city in this way. It lifts everybody up a little bit. How can I not do this.”

Source: Orange County Register

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