Volunteers from two local youth organizations, the Breaking BEARriers Youth Leadership Club and Lapis Lazuli Art Club, have created a mural to brighten up the Fertile GroundWorks Garden of Grace at Asbury United Methodist Church in Livermore.
The colorful 8-foot-high, 24-foot-long mural depicts four people, including a young child, working in a field of row crops and harvesting onions, carrots, tomatoes, and other produce, with the church in the background. It was painted on the side of a container used to store garden implements.
More than 30 volunteers worked on the mural.
“The talent and creativity of these young people is amazing, and we are so happy to have their wonderful work on display in our garden,” said Brenda Kusler, executive director for Fertile GroundWorks. “The day the clubs came to volunteer with us turned into a spectacular journey.”
The nonprofit Fertile GroundWorks encourages members of the community to grow food for themselves and others. In 2019, it harvested more than 23,000 pounds of organic produce for the Open Heart Kitchen, Alameda County Food Bank, Culinary Angels, and other local food banks.
Members of Breaking BEARriers, formed last year by six middle school students to develop teamwork and leadership skills, began volunteering at the Garden of Grace earlier this summer, which led to a discussion about painting a mural on the fading plywood side of the container. With some crossover in membership, the project soon involved the newly formed Lapis Lazuli Art Club.
“It was like the universe affirmatively answering our request,” said Kusler. “We were overjoyed.”
Kusler said members of both clubs started the design and prep work in September and began the actual sketching and painting in October. On Friday and Saturday nights, the volunteers would use a projector to trace the design on the container and then spend six to eight hours painting the following day. They applied the final weatherproofing in mid-November.
Kusler estimated it took about 300 volunteer hours to complete the mural. She added that all the volunteers have offered to come back over the years to touch up the mural.
“The joke [at the dedication] was that the muralists would all be coming back in 20 years with their own kids to teach them about painting murals,” Kusler said.
The mural can be view behind the Asbury Church, at 4743 East Ave.