"Decolonization" by Kristy Sandoval (Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Mural Mile’s website)
Bishop Alemany High School

Pacoima: More than meets the eye

I grew up in the beautiful city known as Pacoima, surrounded by the stunning unity of my community and astonishing murals. Living in Pacoima gave me a sense of console and pride because I was able to bask in the several opportunities that any person living outside of Pacoima couldn’t experience. The numerous times I went to Hubert H. Humphrey Park when my parents weren’t home to play baseball with my friends, volunteering at the fair at Mary Immaculate Catholic Church, and especially admiring the numerous murals throughout Pacoima provided me with a sense of home.

Down Van Nuys Boulevard, most notably acknowledged as the Mural Mile, are murals promoting education, an art revolution, breaking down boundaries, an homage to actor Danny Trejo (“Machete” 2010), etc. Levi Ponce is the artist that painted the majority of these once defaced storefronts. Throughout his art, Ponce displays the vibrant and intriguing culture of Pacoima, while emphasizing the need to fight for the arts.

“Without Boundaries” by Levi Ponce and Sarah Ackerley (Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Mural Mile’s website).

While Pacoima is frequently criticized for being a dangerous and disintegrated environment, it continuously proves to exemplify itself as a creative and well-rounded city with more than meets the eye.

The inhabitant murals, created by several artists including Ignacio Gomez, Hector Ponce, Kristy Sandoval, Manny Velazquez, Sarah Ackerley, etc., have meanings that go beyond Pacoima. The mural “Dream,” painted by Ackerley and Ponce, is intended to encourage S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) in schools so that students may connect learning in critical areas with art.

“Dreams” by Levi Ponce and Sarah Ackerley (Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Mural Mile’s website).

The significance of art in any area advances the need for more artistic pieces that portray diversity in different manners. When a teacher distributes a piece of paper to their class they shouldn’t make their students only solve equations. The students should be motivated to draw, write, and express themselves in any way they desire. Art communicates a story in which we may all relate.

Pacoima isn’t your typical city because the creative foundation it was built on is noticeable to this day. Every single piece of art in this city is a unique representation of the life in Pacoima.

If you ever come to Pacoima make sure to keep your eye out for a jaw-dropping mural that with every stroke of a brush gives you a profound detail of the past, present, and future of Pacoima.