Artists aim to make murals, public art bloom in Moreno Valley
A group of Moreno Valley artists is working to create more art in their city.
Rosy Cortez, Genevieve Aleman and Jesse Aleman sat in a Moreno Valley coffee shop Friday, May 5, looking back at the progress they’ve already made — such as getting city leaders to buy into their ideas to add art and creativity to the town.
The trio’s friendship started when Cortez met the father and daughter at a plant sale, where Jesse Aleman was selling plants. Later, they collaborated on art pieces, with Jesse Aleman and Genevieve Aleman creating plant backdrops for Cortez. Now their friendship has taken them to the Moreno Valley City Council chambers to urge city officials to promote art.
“The biggest step was community outreach,” said Genevieve Aleman, who staged a community meeting in February to discuss art in Moreno Valley. About 65 people and artists attended, she said.
Artist Rosy Cortez points Friday, May 4, 2023, to her mural at Moreno Valley College. She is part of a group pushing for more public art in the city. (Photo by Monserrat Solis, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
From left, Jesus Aleman, Rosy Cortez and Genevieve Aleman stand in front of Cortez’ mural at Moreno Valley College on Friday, May 5, 2023. (Photo by Monserrat Solis, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
From left, Jesus Aleman, Rosy Cortez and Genevieve Aleman stand in front of Cortez’ mural at Moreno Valley College on Friday, May 5, 2023. The trio are spearheading a push for more public art in the city. (Photo by Monserrat Solis, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
At the next council meeting in late February, nearly 40 people crowded the room in support of their idea, Genevieve Aleman said.
The council unanimously agreed to have city officials work with the Arts Commission, a panel of residents and city officials appointed by the council to plan and promote art events. Together, they are to craft a public art policy that includes rules for commissioning and displaying art in Moreno Valley.
“When you work together, there’s no telling what you’ll do,” Genevieve Aleman said.
In the few months since the first meeting, community events have been hosted by the group, including art walks, art shows and markets.
“It feels like we can make a difference,” Cortez said. “Even if we fail, at least we tried.”
Cortez, who was profiled in a video series highlighting Riverside County artists and leaders called “Your Story: Voices of Impact,” had her “Dreamers” painting featured at The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture in downtown Riverside. The painting shows a mother, drained of color, sitting on a public bus with her two children sleeping: one on her side and another on her lap, their faces bright with color. At their feet, wildflowers grow and butterflies fly above the flower buds.
Her art is also featured at Moreno Valley College, where a colorful mural spans the staircase and ramp leading to the humanities building. From the bottom of the staircase, blue walls and images of native birds line the walls until they change into warmer colors, including orange and yellow walls, butterflies and poppies.
One student told Cortez that, since she starting painting over the gray concrete walls, taking the stairs has been a welcome route.
Cortez’ newly finished mural was made possible by the volunteers who painted with her.
“It was important to invite the community to paint with me,” she said. “I’m hoping to inspire other projects in the future. The goal is to keep inspiring more art projects.”
In June, Cortez will start a new project — a mural funded by the Altura Credit Union, which commissioned the video series. The bare wall of Robert’s Fine Art & Framing, a picture frame shop at 24050 Sunnymead Blvd., will soon be painted by Cortez, Genevieve Aleman, Jesse Aleman and volunteers.
The trio hopes to keep building Moreno Valley’s art community and give artists work in the city. They also plan to continue hosting art walks, markets and events that highlight local artists.
“I always thought I had to leave MoVal … now it feels like MoVal is a blank canvas,” Cortez said.