Apprentices chosen, public meetings set for Rancho Market mural project

Community invited to help paint mural at North Richmond market

A mural planned for North Richmond’s only non-alcohol-selling grocer is moving forward following the selection of local apprentices to assist in the community design process, according to local officials.

Apprentices Alfonso Leon, Azia Marie Banagan, David Castaneda, Jahira Fragozo and Jamarrea Frazier will work with acclaimed artists Richard Muro Salazar and Agana Espinoza to gather community input into the design of the grant-funded project at Ranch Market & Deli at 500 Market St.

Banagan is a 12-year-old award-winning student artist from North Richmond — and just one of the chosen apprentices with a diverse blend of art experience and personal backgrounds.

After a series of community input meetings, the mural is expected to be painted on April 21, during the annual Earth Day celebration.

The project, organized by the City of Richmond’s Love Your Block initiative and Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia’s office, was kick-started in October of last year during a community paint and beautification party at the store (video below).

The paint party “turned the drab and pockmarked” exterior of the store “into a beautiful facade of Navajo White and green,” officials said. The exterior work was made possibly by volunteer labor and donated supplies and prepared the structure for the upcoming mural.

The mural is being funded by a Neighborhood Public Arts Mini-Grant of $7,500, which will be used to pay the artists and apprentices.

Organizers have also secured donations from Kelly Moore Paints in San Pablo.

Community members have focused on the store because it is near North Richmond’s only school, Verde Elementary, and has emerged as a community hub.

The community is encouraged to participate in three upcoming events to help design the mural:

1. Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 5 p.m. at 515 Silver Ave. (North Richmond Municipal Advisory Council).

2. Wednesday, Feb. 14, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Shields-Reid Community Center (with children in the after-school program).

3. Wednesday, Feb. 21, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Rancho Market, 500 Market St.