Courtyard at SER murals documentation project/ pamphlet

by Phillip M. Gonzales

I began working on this documentation project in April 2019. The eight murals feature  local artist Ernesto Palomino, considered the “Godfather of Chicano murals in the San Joaquin Valley”, (Fresno area), California. Fernando Hernandez is also a featured artist/muralist. There are six (6) reproductions of classis murals representing the works of “Los Tres Grandes”, “The Three Masters”, Jose Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siquerios.

Working with a graduate student, Monica Requejo, from Fresno State University, the project includes: recorded video interviews (some live and some via “Zoom”) with the artists, Mauro Carrera, Ramiro Martinez, and Racquelle Justo. Additionally, we did a live interview with Jesus “Chuy” Padron, CEO/President of SER Program for over 20 years, whose idea it was to do this mural project.

The purpose(s) of this mural project were/are numerous: 1) To feature and pay tribute to local artists/muralists, 2) to “reproduce” murals that reflect important aspects of Mexican/Mexican American/Chicano history, 3) to contribute to the local community by providing a cultural/art location for all community (the Courtyard at SER is located in the “Cultural/Mural District of Fresno, California), 4) to feature local “current” Chicano muralists.

I have been a volunteer with the Community Center for Arts and Technology – C.C.A.T. for several years, where I teach guitar, and in late 2018 we moved our location to the building next door to the SER Program where the “Courtyard at SER” murals are located. Once I became aware of the mural project, I approached Jesus “Chuy” Padron, CEO/President of SER about bringing students in the class (Chicano Artistic Expression) I teach at Fresno State to do a field study and view the murals. He was delighted, and my class was the “first” to visit/view the mural project. Shortly after that I again approached Jesus “Chuy” Padron with the idea of developing an informational pamphlet, and doing documentation of the whole project. Needless to say he was/has been very supportive. 

Featured here with this informational article is a “final draft” of the pamphlet, it is being reviewed by the Board of Directors of SER for final approval and publishing. (see pamphlet link below)

In addition to developing this pamphlet, I once again approached “Chuy” Padron about the possibility of developing an informational plaque or series of plaques. These plaques would be permanent and feature each mural along with information about the artists, related historical information, and meaning/ symbolism related to each mural. Once again “Chuy” was delighted with the idea which is currently being developed with a planned “Unveiling/Dedication” for September, 2020.

For informational purposes, I have been involved in the documentation of Chicano murals since 1980, when I began documenting the “Murales de Mi Tio” which was featured in the Spring 2020-Vol. 45 No. 1 issue of Noticias de NACCS.

Fall 2020, No. 46 No. 1

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