Sunday, July 22, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 20

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on May 30th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 12 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 12

City on display

The city gets a mural that celebrates all the finer aspects of living in the Santa Maria Valley


Murals are one creative way cities can boast about their finer points while adding to the aesthetic value of their communities. Santa Maria’s neighboring cities, like Lompoc, can boast a long history of mural projects, and now Santa Maria has one of its own.

Art without a home:
Santa Maria will get a new mural, but it still needs a home.

The Town Center Gallery is in the process of completing its first mural project. Thanks to a $2,000 grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation, a $500 grant from Altrusa of the Central Coast, and a $50 grant from Community West Bank, the mural is becoming a reality, said Town Center Gallery board member Hattie Stoddard.

A call went out to artists in February for renderings that depict the theme “Celebrate the Harvest of Santa Maria Valley;” new gallery member Diane Smith’s rendering caught everyone’s attention.

“She entered the most delightful acrylic rendering, colorful and whimsical,” Stoddard said. “The best part is she is keeping a blog on the whole project. I love to go to it each day to see the progress.”

Smith said her style is fitting for mural creation: “The way I work tends to be illustrative, and that lends itself well to murals and telling a story.”

She has a degree in fine arts from Cal State Long Beach with a specialty in drawing and painting. Smith said she’s worked on a private commission mural before, but never anything of this scale. However, she’s enjoying the process and is excited about what it means for Santa Maria.

“Murals have such a nice impact on a town if you can get them up and out there,” she said. “I hope there will eventually be more.”

Under construction
To track the progress of the Town Center Gallery’s mural, visit Diane’s Smith’s website at

When completed, the mural will be 8 feet high and 20 feet long, consisting of five panels. The gallery ordered Nova exterior paints, made just for murals, from L.A. The mural seamlessly incorporates many familiar Santa Maria symbols: a tractor in a field with a plow, strawberries, a couple holding up glasses of wine in a toast beneath a grapevine arbor, and a chef tossing vegetables into a pot. The mural is a colorful celebration of everything Santa Maria.

Though the project is in progress, the gallery is still searching for a location. Stoddard said they’re hoping to find the mural a home at the Santa Maria Fairpark—subject to approval from its board this summer—but for now the search continues. Once a site is selected, the mural is scheduled to be completed in just a few weeks.

For now, Smith is just enjoying the creative process.

“I love to work through ideas,” she said. “I love working through the problems and challenges that come up. It’s like solving a puzzle as you go. And time just flies when I’m painting.”

Smith said that while the mural highlights some of the things for which Santa Maria is proud, she hopes it goes a little further than that and brings attention to something for which Santa Maria isn’t so well known.

“There are so many great artists here,” she said. “Hopefully it will bring some attention to the arts in Santa Maria.”

Arts Editor Shelly Cone is a colorful celebration of the city. Send comments to

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