Efforts being made to bring more attention to Merced art

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- From the jazz mural on the side of a Main Street restaurant to the sculpture called "A Day without Grandma" outside the Social Security building, Merced is filled with art that people may not even notice.

The City's Arts and Culture Advisory Commission that was formed just over a year ago is working to change that.

"What I really hope, and I think the rest of the commissioners feel the same way, is that our community will take a look at what we have here and realize that we are lucky in a lot of ways," says Kim Garner with the Art & Culture Advisory Commission. "We have a lot of public art out and about."

Garner and her colleagues created a list of that art and then set out to photograph each piece.

"It was like a scavenger hunt to find where these pieces were at, so a lot of times we would have a location, but we would not know exactly where," Garner said. "And it was amazing what we found and what we'd been living amongst for a long time, and maybe not really realizing."

More than 40 murals and sculptures the group documented are now posted on a new webpage with information about when they were created, and the names of the artists, along with an interactive map.

The collection includes everything from Laura's Fountain, which was built in 1888, to the G Street underpass paintings that are less than a decade old.

The commission plans to keep adding to the list and using the information to help with preservation efforts as well.

Tonia Hemme is a local painter who is featuring her pieces in a show right now at the Multicultural Arts Center. She loves the idea of making art more accessible to the entire community through the new interactive webpage.

"It would be great, awesome to have something in one spot for everybody to go," Hemme said. "It's amazing."

The art inventory map can be found by visiting Merced's website.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.