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Ventura County Focus | West County / VENTURA

Butterflies to Turn Public Into Artists


Spread out in an empty parking lot, 70 giant wooden panels get artist Jennie Snyder's finishing touches for what will become Ventura's coloring book.

She is busy outlining monarch butterflies on the 4-by-8-foot panels, which on Saturday will be assembled along Main Street for spectators to paint in during the city's ArtWalk and Java Jump.

The mural will surround the construction site of the movie theater in downtown Ventura.

Snyder was chosen by the city's public art commission from four finalists to paint the nearly 300-foot-long mural.

The Ventura artist plans to complete one yellow butterfly every 20 feet or so to give people an example to follow as they get the chance to fill in the lines Saturday.

"This is fun and involves everybody," Snyder said. "Art doesn't have to be an intimidating, foreign concept."

Ventura marketing official Andrea Anderson described the mural as "a migration of butterflies. They start out really small and by the end they're huge, 26-foot butterflies, which is really amazing."

Victor Georgino, the developer of the movie theater project, picked up the tab for the mural's plywood and materials, and the commission paid Snyder $2,000.

On Saturday, 45 galleries will feature work by local artists from Ventura Avenue to the 1000 block of Main Street and from City Hall to the ocean.

"This provides a lot of positive image-building for Ventura," said ArtWalk coordinator Elena Brokaw. "It's a chance to realize how many artists are in the community and how talented they are."

ArtWalks are held three times a year, in the spring, summer and at Christmas.

The summer ArtWalk is coupled with the Java Jump. On Saturday, walkers will be able to sample coffees with such names as Mural Mocha and City Hall Cappuccino.

As for the giant public-painted mural, Brokaw said it will be dismantled when construction on the theater is completed in November.

"Since we had this big, ugly construction site in the middle of downtown and the ArtWalk, we thought it would provide a unique canvas," Brokaw said. "It was our idea of making lemons into lemonade."

The ArtWalk and Java Jump run from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, with galleries opening at noon.

Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, Main Street's westbound lane will be closed from Chestnut to California streets. Traffic will be diverted onto Santa Clara Street.

From 5 to 10:30 p.m., Main Street will be completely closed off between those streets. Cars will not be allowed to park on the south side of the street, but the nearby parking structure on Santa Clara Street will be accessible.

For more information, call Anderson at 658-4737.

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