cabrillo college mural cafeteria
Daniel Morales (from left), Michelle Aranda and John Graulty, Dean of Visual, Applied, and Performing Arts at Cabrillo College, help install a new 42-foot mural last week at Cabrillo College in Aptos. Photo: Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

A new mural has been installed at Cabrillo College in Aptos. Thanks to the creative hand of Watsonville artist Yermo Aranda, 18 Cabrillo students and an art instructor, the 42-foot-long mural now lives on the walls in the campus cafeteria.

The work is the result of a six-week project created by and for students in the Fall 2023 class, called Art: Painting and Mural, at Cabrillo College. 

Aranda, who was named Santa Cruz County’s 2021 Artist of the Year, worked in concert with the students and art associate faculty member Danielle Torvik-Staffen.

“There’s a lot of talent in the students in this class,” Aranda said. “We worked hard and we came up with the idea and I think the mural came together nicely.”

The mural features a range of images including Meso-American themes, various animals and insects, early-day canoe making, people crossing the desert, water, cactus and dancers.

Students in the class jointly developed the mural concept, and then helped paint the mural on canvas using acrylic and watercolors. The canvas was then mounted in the college cafeteria in the first week of the New Year with the help of Aranda’s family.

Born in San Diego, Aranda comes from a family of musicians, painters and craftsmen, according to his website. He studied art at San Diego City College, San Diego State and Cabrillo College. He earned a B.A. at CSU Monterey Bay.

John Graulty, Dean of Visual, Applied, and Performing Arts at Cabrillo, said a formal unveiling is tentatively set for Feb. 12.

cabrillo college mural cafeteria
The new mural spans a wall inside the Cabrillo College cafeteria. Photo: Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian
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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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