Calwa Park Mural Honors Young Soccer Players


In May, the Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs welcomed four University of North Carolina Chapel Hill recipients of the Morehead-Cain scholars’ program to Fresno. The Morehead-Cain program provides summer opportunities for its scholars to visit local municipalities across the U.S. and help city leaders tackle community-wide issues. In the City of Fresno, Morehead-Cain scholars Sarah Chocron, David Nicholson, Elizah Van Lokeren and Asher Wexlar were tasked with improving sentiment among 16-to-30-year Fresnsans.

Youth enrichment and engagement
Youth engagement and enrichment opportunities, including leadership, mentorship and employment opportunities are top priorities included in Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer’s One Fresno vision. Towards this end, visiting Morehead Cain scholars were encouraged to connect with Fresno youth and recommend solutions to increase city pride.

“Our young people are the leaders of tomorrow and today. They need to see themselves as such. Our ‘One Fresno’ commitment is to invest in our youth giving them opportunities to be and see themselves in places that they might not have accessed previously,” shared Mayor Dyer.

The visiting Morehead Cain scholars were tasked with increasing positive city sentiment among Fresno youth. Scholars met with youth-serving community-based organizations that engage the city’s diverse young people. They also had one-on-one conversations directly with young people about the things that inspire them about our city.

The work in Fresno led by the Morehead-Cain scholars was overseen by Deputy Mayor, Matthew Grundy. “We are so proud of the work that Morehead-Cain scholars did here in Fresno. Their vision, enabled by our own youth, turned into a beautiful art piece promoting city pride that is visible to all and will be on display for years to come,” said Deputy Mayor Grundy.

Youth vision comes to life
For their final project, scholars teamed up with local muralist Cynthia Velazquez, who also serves as resident artist with the Mennonite Central Committee, to paint a mural. The goal for Velazquez and the scholars was to offer a unifying artistic piece for youth and families visiting southeast Fresno’s Calwa Park. Velazquez designed a mural depicting a young Latino boy playing with a soccer ball—Calwa Park youths’ most popular sport.

According to Morehead-Cain scholar, Sarah Chocron, the mural provided a way to unify the Calwa Park community around a beautiful work of art. “We hope this mural serves as a constant reminder of the joy and vibrancy that Fresno is made up in all its streets and neighborhoods and the childhood memories made in this park during soccer practices,” shared Chocron.

The Calwa Park mural titled: “Si vas a soñar, sueña que es posible.” Translated to English, the mural’s title is, “If you are going to dream, dream that it is possible,” and is open to public during the park’s open hours. For more information on the mural, contact the Office of Community Affairs at (559) 621-7923.