Area teens join other artist to help beautify downtown Bakersfield

Grant is funding improvement project

BAKERSFIELD -  

The Bakersfield Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit and Keep Bakersfield Beautiful are teaming up to help improve the looks of our city.  The initiative is something other cities around the country are starting to adopt.

Sebastian Muralles is helping mentor youth in our community through his passion for art.

“All this and everything else I do is for them to show them how much I care about them and Im trying to succeed in life,” he said.

Muralles uses the inspiration he gets from his family and passes it along to the teens working along side him.  The Bakersfield Californian Foundation is funding the initiative which is designed to include beautification, youth mentorship and the prevention of graffiti.

The teens involved in this program are not only turning a plain utility box into a work of art, they’re also learning a valuable lesson.

“There’s so many things you know when you work with a child and you can get them going in a path or tap into something that maybe they didn’t know that they had and being able to channel those energies into something positive,” said Jessica Felix, community relations specialist for the City of Bakersfield.

Students are painting ten utility boxes, three located at Central Park and the rest along Q street in downtown Bakersfield.

“This is a project that originated here in Bakersfield three years ago and now we see other cities, Philadelphia, I was in Corpus Christi last year and saw that they had started to, Reno, Anaheim and were really proud that we started the project here,” said Tony Martinez with the Bakersfield Fire Department’s Crime Prevention Unit.

The $5,000 grant allows for the purchase of paint and brushes, items many students are picking up for the first time.

“I’ll drive by and say I did that, something that I think about, something I can tell my kids,” said James Hickok who is volunteering with the program.

“I want it to be perfect and because its permanent and people will see it all the time. I want to do a really good job on it,” said volunteer, Sarah Rios.

Project leaders hope to have all ten utility boxes done by mid-November.

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