Recognition from The United Nations
The artistic inspiration and resources for the M:POWR mural project came from Joanne Tawfilis, a local artist and the creator of Art Miles, a nonprofit art organization which helps groups create murals that bring healing, education and cultural awareness.
Tawfilis became connected with the University through Marilyn Huerta, a local artist and the communication specialist in the College of Education, Health and Human Services, who have worked together on many other artistic projects with Cal State San Marcos students and the community. Tawfilis was thrilled by the prospect of bringing students and Mountain Shadows clients together to create something beautiful on and off the canvas.
“Murals are not as much about the finished artwork as they are about the process,” said Tawfilis. ”When you bring people together they are able to express themselves individually and as a group, and through that artistic dialog they get to know and understand each other.”
In addition to being an artist and art advocate in the region, Tawfilis is a commissioner with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Because Art Miles is an official project of the United Nations, students who participate in the mural project can earn a certificate from UNESCO – a great addition to their resume because it demonstrates their ability to relate to and communicate with people who are different from them.
“The UNESCO certificate is great for my portfolio, but the real value has been getting to know and work with Joanne and the clients,” shared Quiban. “I’ve learned a lot from volunteering my time for something so much bigger than myself. When I graduate I will be looking for a job where I can give back and make an impact on people’s lives.”
Now that the walls of Mountain Shadows have been covered in murals, the group has moved on to a restoration project: helping refresh murals originally painted by children for the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific.