Nature Dream Windows
Earth Day Mural 2022
Community Environmental Council (CEC), Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB), and Paseo Nuevo are delighted to announce that artist Maria Arroyo was selected to paint this year's Earth Day Mural!
Selected from submissions from across Ventura, Santa Barbara, and SLO counties, the 2022 Call For Entries prompted artists to submit their artistic concepts online alongside a proposal for a mural that expresses what Earth Day and Climate Leadership mean to them. Maria Arroyo's concept was selected to appear on the Paseo Nuevo Arts Terrace Parking Deck adjacent to MCASB. The final painted mural was revealed on Paseo Nuevo's Instagram Live on Saturday, April 23, 2022, during Community Environmental Council’s Earth Day Celebration at the Arlington Theater.
Maria Arroyo (b. 1962) began drawing and painting in the 1980s as a participant in the Alpha Art Studio program. Since 2013, she has been an artist at Slingshot / Alpha Art Studio. Slingshot / Alpha Art Studio is a non-profit progressive arts center in downtown Santa Barbara that supports artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The center promotes the creative practice, professional visibility, and inclusion of artists with IDD living in Santa Barbara County. Slingshot is a program of the Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara.
Featured on Arroyo’s mural, entitled Nature Dream Windows, is a ‘warrior bird’ inspired by the Mexica Warriors. To Arroyo, this figure represents the great caretaker, the one who looks after all the plants and animals of the earth. All come to him because of his power and benevolence. He keeps equanimity, balance, and harmony. The artist has portrayed this great figure atop a hill with magnificent wings and an elaborate headdress. Cloaked in feathers and accompanied by a devoted bird, he seems to suggest the symbol of ‘one who sees all.’ The ‘warrior bird’ looks over flora and fauna native to the Central Coast, in addition to inhabitants of the area, standing atop an opposing hill.
Maria’s Latinx heritage gives her work a sense of magical realism. Her eccentric landscapes and iconic figures, often encompassed in ornate patterns, pull the viewer into a mythic world – suspended from the everyday without fully leaving it behind. Arroyo’s ability to envision and render new realities, to build new worlds is so very pertinent to current society as we are called upon to re-imagine and redefine our relationship to the land, all of its inhabitants, and our resources. Voices like Maria’s have long been muted and left out of these broader conversations that affect us all. We must now consider how our myopic discourse has led us astray and what can be learned from other voices.
Maria's mural concept was facilitated by the creative team at the Slingshot. The mural concept was supported and translated from Maria's original drawings and artwork by Hannah Henderson, Painting/Ceramics Artist Facilitator, and Jessica Schlobohm, Gallery Director. The mural will be executed by the Slingshot creative team, which also includes Christian Hali, Painting/Drawing/Print Artist Facilitator, and Mary Balda Delaney, Ceramic / Fiber Artist Facilitator.
About the Earth Day Mural Partners
Community Environmental Council (CEC)
Recognized as a 2020 California Nonprofit of the Year and a 2020 City of Santa Barbara Climate Hero, CEC has worked since 1970 to incubate and innovate real life environmental solutions that directly affect the California Central Coast. Our current work advances rapid and equitable solutions to the climate crisis – including ambitious zero carbon goals, drawdown of excess carbon, and protection against the impacts of climate change. Our programs lead to clean vehicles, solar energy, resilient food systems and reduction of single-use plastic. Learn more about why CEC is one of only eight Santa Barbara County nonprofits to have the highest possible ratings on independent watchdogs Charity Navigator and Guidestar at CECSB.org/impact, and find CEC on the web at CECSB.org and on Facebook.com/CECSB, Instagram.com/CEC_SB, and Twitter.com/CECSB.
Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB)
MCASB seeks to enrich lives and inspire critical thinking through meaningful engagement with the art and ideas of our time. MCASB provides Santa Barbara and the Central Coast with exhibitions and programming that encourage discovery, cultivate new perspectives, and challenge the way we see and experience the world, ourselves, and each other.
Owned by Pacific Retail Capital Partners (PRCP), Paseo Nuevo is your outdoor shopping destination in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. PRCP arts is dedicated to engaging the public through implementing one-of-a-kind, community-responsive exhibitions, artist commissions, and educational programs tailored to the personality of each property, elevating each center’s unique design and honoring community through accessible touchpoints and cultural vibrancy.