Murals transform Lake Elsinore's historic downtown into art gallery for Black Lives Matter

A Lake Elsinore artist has turned the boards covering businesses into murals supporting peace and the Black Lives Matter movement.
LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. (KABC) -- A Lake Elsinore artist has transformed the boarded-up businesses in the historic downtown into a walkable art gallery.

"Originally, the idea was really small. I was at home Friday morning watching the news and social media and I was starting to feel helpless and emotional. I started to think we are doing nothing we when should be doing something," said Erika Hernandez.

So, she came up with an idea to take one of her paintings of an African-American woman and turn it into a mural. Hernandez said several businesses had boarded up in the wake of civil unrest surrounding the killing of George Floyd as a precaution.

A Zoom call with coworkers set the wheels in motion. Less than 24 hours later the idea of a single mural grew to include several others after business owners asked to have their storefronts included.

"Their response was really positive. Everybody was willing to lend us their windows for their business and just let us share our message with everybody," said Jocelyn Leon, a friend of Hernandez's.

The businesses wanted to show their solidarity and support with the Black Lives Matter movement through the art displays.

"The night before... we just drew them all out, painted the base, and the volunteers came in and they finished the rest," said Hernandez.

After posting about the murals on social media a group of 40 volunteers came out Saturday morning to help paint them. Other local artists also joined in adding their murals to businesses who wanted to be included.

"I had been searching for something to do because my family was hurting. I saw so many families hurting and I wanted something that was safe for the kids to be involved in and to have their voice heard," said April Watkins.
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