Art And Culture

Working-Class Barrio Turns Into Huge Mural

Working-Class Barrio Turns Into Huge MuralWorking-Class Barrio Turns Into Huge Mural

A community project in central Mexico is bringing art to people’s homes, literally.

A group of artists known as the Germ Collective have spent 14 months turning the hillside neighborhood of Las Palmitas into a giant, colorful mural in an effort to bring the working-class “barrio” together and change its gritty image, AP reported.

Working hand-in-hand with residents, muralists have painted the facades of 200 homes bright lavender, lime green, incandescent orange - hues more commonly found in a bag of Skittles than in the drab, cement-and-cinderblock neighborhoods where many of Mexico’s poor live.

Seen from afar, the individually painted houses combine to form a cohesive, if abstract, swirly rainbow design. Bright stripes that begin on one wall run across several homes before swooping into graceful curlicues.

Project director Enrique Gomez said the goal is to promote community integration and change the negative image of the neighborhood.

Before, he said, Las Palmitas was a sketchy area where people avoided going out after dark or interacting with each other. But as the project nears its final stages, more people are seen talking to each other and children hanging out on the steep stairways that cut through the neighborhood.

“Honestly, what surprises me the most is that people are really changing,” Gomez said. “They are growing, there is more community spirit. People are taking the security of their neighborhood into their own hands.”

The city government-sponsored project began with persuading homeowners to let their homes be painted, followed by whitewashing of each building to symbolize that all residents are equal. The art collective tapped locals to paint the houses with more than 20,000 liters of paint.

“It’s very satisfying,” said Alfonso Reyes, a construction worker who lives in Las Palmitas. “In the morning you wake up and look around and see the colors that surround you.

In its final stage, artists are painting more than 1,500 sq m of murals along the narrow streets.

Reception of the ‘Pachuca Paints Itself’ project has been so positive that plans are afoot to paint another poor neighborhood, the nearby Cubitos.