Ventura non-profit hopes to add life to area known as 'The Avenue'

Anabel Munoz Image
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
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A non-profit hopes to bring more life to a neighborhood known as "The Avenue" in Ventura by painting and revamping buildings and homes.

VENTURA, Calif. (KABC) -- A non-profit in Ventura hopes to transform an area known as "The Avenue."

Jim Rice is executive director of the Bell Arts Factory, an organization that promotes the arts. He said the community has raised thousands of dollars to begin a project that includes transforming the outside of buildings and homes in the area.

"This is a sustainable project and it's something that we can go block to block. That's why we call it 'One Block at a Time,'" he said.

The first part involved a mural called "Universal Tradition."

Martin Santos took part in having his home painted, and local contractors are helping to get the work done.

"Jim's movement is a great, great movement to bring value to The Avenue, bring value to the house," he said.

Some residents said they're concerned that many who live in the neighborhood won't be able to afford to keep living in the area.

Rice said the project is about making the residents proud of their home, with local and international artists participating.

"It's not gentrification. It is simply just cleaning it up a little bit. Oftentimes, it's strictly an issue of finances. This is an under-served community, it's not an affluent community - but it's still the heart of Ventura," he said.

The Bell Arts Factory is still raising about $5,000 to complete the revamp, which will be done early next year.