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Martinez Community Mural Project

Oct 31, 2016 11:22AM ● By Jennifer Neys

Mural artist, Colleen Gianatiempo, works on the community project at Main Street Plaza in Martinez.

A Heart Filled Thank You to Martinez Residents

The Small Town With a Big Heart Community Mural project kicked off on Monday, October 10. The mural was conceived and spearheaded by Colleen Gianatiempo and Dena Betti as a way to thank the residents of Martinez for the outpouring of love and support the Betti Family continues to receive since the tragic passing of their 14-year-old daughter Jenna, who died in a train accident in March of 2014. The mural will also depict the spirit of Martinez, including the beloved beaver. The project will span the cement walls located between the Starbuck’s and Bank of America on Main Street Plaza.

Reaching this point has taken two years due to meetings with the Parks, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission (PRMCC) and city council. Now the community is invited to participate in the project, which includes almost 500 square feet of wall space.

Last year, Dena Betti and Colleen Gianatiempo, the artist for the project, held a public workshop and asked the community to answer the question, “What does Martinez mean to you?” As a result of the workshop, symbols such as hearts, angels, flowers, and rainbows will be incorporated into the mural. In addition, a ribbon will be a connecting element of the project. “Because the mural isn’t on one wall, I needed to carry you (the viewer) through, so I felt a ribbon would help connect the walls from one to the other and also represent the way we see a life as a tapestry, with our connecting ribbon flowing in and out. That was Dena’s brainchild,” said Gianatiempo.

Gianatiempo, a graduate student working on her Masters in Fine Arts at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, created the design for the mural and is facilitating the work in progress. The community is invited to help by signing up online and choosing a block of time to participate. “Whoever wants to show up can, including kids, grandmothers, it doesn’t matter, and no painting experience is necessary,” said the artist. You can sign up for paint hours at Up to six people can participate per paint session. 

The public can also support this community project by purchasing a personalized clay heart that will be permanently affixed to the mural and leave your family's mark for generations to come. Visit to purchase your heart.



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