Escondido, CA

Arts Center kicks off yearlong 25th anniversary celebration with footbridge mural

Associate Director Rachel Kestner and Mayor Paul McNamara show off the new footbridge mural that was unveiled Friday at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

The California Center for the Arts, Escondido Friday afternoon unveiled a new bridge mural commemorating their 25th anniversary. The Center is dedicating an entire season to celebrating years of Sparking Creativity plus Igniting Connection across North San Diego County. 


The recently completed 25th anniversary mural at the footbridge that connects the parking lot of the Center from the campus.

Southern California-based muralist, Geoff Gouveia designed and painted the footbridge mural. The walls of the bridge illustrate a birthday theme with saturated tones portraying a colorful birthday party celebration, along with drawings of performers presented in the upcoming season. 

Gouveia previously worked for the Center as the artist for the 2018 bridge mural. He has created artwork and murals for various companies since 2013, including painting in experiential marketing and most recently, for the soccer industry.

Gouveia enjoys the uniqueness of producing artwork for diverse acts and concepts at the Center. Along with his team, Gouveia takes on the challenge of a large scale, accomplishing the project in just a few days. Spanish muralist Aryz’s street art and murals are one of his greatest sources of inspiration. In addition, he looks across to numerous aspects, such as fashion, global issues and current events which he pulls into his own work. 

“I would describe my artistic style as similar to a children’s book style. Some of my first influences were Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss for their whimsical illustrations and fun, cheeky line drawings,” said Gouveia. “I put a lot of emotion in the composition, the jagged lines just to move your eye a little bit more. As far as the figures, I wanted to do an interpretation of the acts in my style in a way that would make it read as the acts themselves but also in somewhat of an artistic style.” 

When asked about his vision for the mural, Gouveia said, “My overall vision was very upbeat, huge pops of color – yellow with a hue of pink is a bold choice, but super fun. It’s something that when you see it, it will put a smile on your face.”

The recently completed 25th anniversary mural at the footbridge that connects the parking lot of the Center from the campus.

The reception Friday night was held in the museum.   When visitors arrived they already found the 2nd annual MAGEC in the Park in full swing on the grounds next to the museum. This included a youth art sculpture competition

Rachel Kestner, associate director of the Center, welcomed patrons as they munched on vegetables and cheese and sipped flutes of pink champagne. She told the group, “Since we first opened our doors in October of 1994, the Center has aimed to be a hub for arts appreciation and a catalyst for arts education in Escondido and beyond.  Somehow, I still regularly meet people who say that they have never sat in our theater, were unaware of the museum and were surprised to hear that we work to bring the arts to schools throughout north county.”

She continued, “When discussions began about themes for our 25th season, we knew we had to tackle this issue.  You’ll notice our tagline for the year is inspired by the glow of birthday candles — sparking creativity— and the people you want celebrating with you — igniting connection.  This year we will add a little sparkle throughout the 25th anniversary season while we strive to increase connection by increasing people engaged with our campus and programs by 25 percent; an initiative we are calling 25 for 25.”

Kestner said that the Center wants to “reach out to all of our neighbors to say Thank You for the last twenty-five years and invite the community to learn more about all the Center has to offer.”

One of the ways they want to expand their reach is through a bi-monthly newsletter instead of their traditional annual brochure. These newsletters will be available in English and Spanish at all Center events during the next twelve months.

“In each issue,” said Kestner, “you’ll find a comprehensive guide to a variety of free and ticketed events as well as information on the impact our education programs are making through support from individual donors, grant funders and corporate sponsors.”

She continued, “We were recently given an early birthday gift to help increase community engagement. Now through October your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar once we meet our goal of $50,000!  This $100,000 challenge is the gift of an anonymous donor dedicated to supporting arts appreciation and education at the Center and helping us meet the 25 for 25 goal.”

Kestner concluded, “To do this, our teams are working diligently to curate our museum exhibits, to book performers of all types, to explore interesting educational opportunities for all ages and to bring diverse, high-caliber, free live music and cultural activities to our community.  If you like what you see, hear and feel, we invite you to donate and help us meet our match.”

Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara followed with remarks. “For over 25 years, the Center has been the heart and soul which has unified our community,” he said. “We are very grateful for the California Center for the Arts, Escondido as a place where many come to discover, create, and celebrate the arts. A place where countless memories across generations have been made and a place where the future will create memories of their own.”

He continued, “We are fortunate enough to have the generosity of donors and community support that have helped the Center continue to spark creativity and ignite connection through the arts. This is not only a footbridge, but a commemorative symbol of the crossover point from our community into the world of the arts.”

The mayor talked about the footbridge artist, Geoff Gouveia, “a well-known muralist whose creativity and vision has inspired his vibrant artwork. His work can be seen across the world with reputable brands like FIFA, Starbucks, Facebook and Adidas, among many. Today, his art embodies years of commitment to welcoming more than one million visitors at the Center through education programs, museum exhibits, performing and visual arts presentations and much more.” At which point the mayor led the group out to view the mural, which had been veiled before the event began. 

The evening concluded with live music in the Lyric Court provided by the folk group Streetlight Cadence.


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