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Natural Abundance, Storied History Highlighted in Half Moon Bay Mural

Local artist and collaborators showcase unique features of Half Moon Bay Coastside.

Earlier this year — over the course of several weeks and amidst little fanfare — a new mural depicting the unique elements of the Half Moon Bay Coastside and its storied past came together under the eye of local artist Ellen Silva and a small class of students.

Showcasing local agriculture standouts such as brussel sprouts and pumpkins, natural highlights such as the , fishing and the marine environment, as well as the area's diverse cultural heritage and history, the mural was created by adults enrolled in Silva's six-week class offered by the city of Half Moon Bay.

"The mural was a way to bridge together all the parts of the Half Moon Bay community as one," said Half Moon Bay resident, class participant and watercolor artist Kelly Huber.

During the first few sessions, Silva said, each individual contributed ideas for the mural while fellow class participant Joy Dardenelle produced draft sketches for consideration.

Silva took all the sketches and transferred them onto a larger piece of paper which served as the blueprint for the final mural.

A longtime muralist, Silva's work can be seen in many places around Half Moon Bay, including , the and El Granada Elementary.

Silva first learned her craft from master muralist Susan Cervantes in San Francisco's Mission District 15 years ago at Precita Eyes Mural Arts. Recognizing Silva's talent, Cervantes asked her to help lead workshops in Bay Area schools.

Since then, Silva has worked with students from kindergarten to high school in Half Moon Bay and beyond, as well as alongside communities and nonprofit organizations around the Bay Area.

Most recently, she completed a mural for an Oakland women's art therapy group for individuals affected by HIV.

"My idea is to get people to express their thoughts, their hopes and dreams instead of sitting home and painting alone," she said.

The 4 ft. by 8 ft. mural may find a permanent home at the , but a final decision has not been made yet, according to Silva and branch manager Annie Malley.

In the meantime, Silva is starting up a new class starting this Monday in Half Moon Bay, where participants will design and paint a mural over the course of six weeks.

"It’s very uplifting and fun," said Huber of the class.

Although Silva has designed and painted many murals, she said that she also learned a lot from the class project.

"Now I know four more artists on the Coastside than I did before," she said. "And through them I’ve learned more about the city of Half Moon Bay than ever before in the past 16 years."

"Creating a mural as a group can really build community," Silva said.

Silva's upcoming Half Moon Bay mural class will be held at the on Monday evenings from April 9 to May 14 from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. The cost is $157 for residents and $177 for a non-resident. A $45 lab fee is payable to the instructor at the first class. Get more information on how to sign up here.

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