Garcia, a 6th grade student at Creekside Middle School, said she was honored to be chosen as the winner of the Peer Recovery Art Project—a continuous campaign to end stigma and revitalize the downtown area in Patterson.
She said she first heard about the project through the Youth Action Commission, an organization derived of local teens and members of the Patterson Recreation Department who wish to make a positive impact in their community.
Garcia knew she had to put her talents to the test and applied for the position despite having very little background in painting.
“I personally prefer drawing over painting,” said Garcia. “I decided to give it a try. I have been doing art since I was very young.”
The young artist utilized common sights seen around the Patterson area to be used in her mural, including palm trees, the hills and city life.
Having lived her whole life in Patterson, she explains that the view of the hills and palm trees are her primary inspirations when it comes to showcasing her art.
In order to incorporate her own tastes with that of the local skate park, she decided to draw something that meshed the two perspectives into one, even if it meant bending gender ideals.
“Before I started my painting, I wasn’t quite sure of what to paint,” she said. “I took some time to look at the skaters at the park for some inspiration. I overheard some guys saying that the skate park was only for guys and that skating was not a girls’ thing.”
Garcia protested the notion immediately and decided to illustrate how dangerous misconceptions could be through her artwork. Little did the young boys know, on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, the Cali Am Jam competition at the Patterson Skate Park featured a variety of skaters from both genders, including 7-year-old Minna Stess, who finished third in the 9-and-under category and first-place in the girls’ division.
Although she is only 12-years-old, Garcia wanted others to be aware of the basic stereotyping attributed to genders. In response, Garcia decided to paint the back figure of a woman with long black locks of braided hair on the center of the wall.
If Garcia is presented with another opportunity to add more detail to her work, she says she’d add the image of a boy next to the girl to illustrate equality in all skate parks.
The work itself was exhausting for Garcia, but with the help of the Peer Recovery Art Project, she was able to complete it all in five hours.
This opportunity opened many more ideas to Garcia. She said that she aspires to become an architect and study at Stanford University when she gets older.
Garcia highly emphasized to her peers, “If you have an idea in your head, just put it out there.”
Dulce Diaz is a senior at Patterson High School. She is currently working with the Patterson Irrigator as part of her exit exam program for graduation.