downtown gilroy railroad alley mural
Jimmy Castaneda of MANOS (holding microphone) introduces the artists involved in creating “Art is My Voice,” a new mural on the rear of Downtown Furniture in Railroad Alley on Aug. 18. Photo: Erik Chalhoub
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Two massive murals were unveiled Aug. 18 on Railroad Alley, part of an effort to revitalize downtown with vibrant colors in a highly visible corridor for train passengers.

The works, located on the alleyway between Martin and Lewis streets, were painted on the rear of Downtown Furniture and 7568 Monterey St. They join the “Gallery in the Alley” project that got jump started by City Councilmember Carol Marques and artist Sheryl Cathers in 2022 with a mural on the rear of Tempo Kitchen & Bar.

Situated behind Downtown Furniture is “Art is My Voice,” a colorful display of Gilroy landmarks, positive messages and numerous other details inspired by young people. The mural was created by youth of MANOS and 6th Street Studios & Art Center’s’ Youth Mentorship Program over the summer, funded by the Gilroy Foundation and the California Arts Council.

The young artists who painted the mural are Anjaly Ayoubi, Dezare Centeno, Adyson Copeland, Anthony Diaz and Noah Ramos, under the mentorship of Orlando Salcedo, Jimmy Castaneda, Pete Dimas and Angelina Ramos.

During the Aug. 18 unveiling event, the artists received certificates and painting tools.

“The youth played a huge role in this,” said Castaneda of MANOS. “All we did was guide them through it.”

downtown gilroy railroad alley mural
Charly Malpass, Thomas Cox and Giana Hernandez created this mural on the rear of 7568 Monterey St. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

A few buildings down the alley stands another mural created by young people under the Youth Mentorship Program. Charly Malpass, an artist from Truckee who was recently 6th Street Studios’ artist-in-residence, worked with young artists Thomas Cox and Giana Hernandez in conjunction with Rebekah Children’s Services.

The mural depicts two red-tailed hawks in mid-air over garlic flowers.

Up next will be the largest mural for Gallery in the Alley, located behind the two-story Capos building, 7588 Monterey St.

Melanie Reynisson, who is heading up the mural, said the public will soon have a chance to get involved with the design of the mural through a series of upcoming workshops.

The mural was one of the local art projects that recently received a Gilroy Elevate the Arts grant from SVCreates. Local Color is also sponsoring the project.

The goal is to finish the mural by early summer 2024.

“We’re super excited to transform this area,” Reynisson said.

downtown gilroy railroad alley mural
Photo: Erik Chalhoub
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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.

1 COMMENT

  1. It is about time we did things like these to beautify that area–so happy to see the beautiful work. Maybe they can extend this project to beautifying the front of abandoned or vacant-for-years buildings. In the Azores in Portugal, they do this –the front becomes a canvass for an artist, and in the meantime, instead of looking at sad looking structures, you see art.

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