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Painting a city of kindness, one mural at a time

Muralist Carly Ealey finishes a mural on Palm Avenue and Florence Street in Imperial Beach on Tuesday.
Muralist Carly Ealey finishes a mural on Palm Avenue and Florence Street in Imperial Beach on Tuesday.
(Tammy Murga / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Imperial Beach artwork is in support of a nationwide movement

Imperial Beach has vowed to become a city of kindness and it hopes to engage the community in its campaign with five, diverse murals residents might already have spotted in recent days.

Veterans Park features a mural with colorful flowers and foliage surrounding a young couple sharing secrets and laughs. On 3rd Street and Palm Avenue, there’s a woman surfing alongside several dolphins. Just over a mile east on Palm Avenue and Florence Street is a mural of a Black woman’s hand and a White woman’s hand coming together to cradle a glowing heart.

These images are what kindness means for the five San Diego County-based artists who created them and they hope it inspires passersby.

“The women’s hands that are coming together: one could be love, one could be kindness in a way. We need to show love, kindness and really come together and this is just a nice reminder,” said Carly Ealey, the muralist behind the 110-foot-long mural on Palm Avenue and Florence Street. “It’s been really cool to see so many people drive by and they’ll stop and yell at me, ‘Looks amazing.’”

The murals, fully funded by the San Diego-based Chuck and Ernestina Kreutzkamp Foundation in collaboration with the Imperial Beach Arts Bureau, are in support of the nationwide City of Kindness movement, an international campaign with kindness challenges that has attracted multiple cities, organizations and celebrities such as Kind Snacks, the Dalai Lama and Lady Gaga.

To make Imperial Beach’s participation official, the City Council on May 5 designated the South Bay community a city of kindness.

Mural at Veterans Park in Imperial Beach by Isabella Anderson as pictured on May 11, 2021.
(Tammy Murga / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

“We believe Imperial Beach is an even better community when people respect one another, and leaders prioritize people. We also recognize the health, psychological, and civic benefits of kindness,” Mayor Serge Dedina said in the proclamation. “Our intention with this designation is to take steps to foster kindness in our deliberations and decisions leading to kind thoughts and actions throughout the city of Imperial Beach.”

The murals and those who interact with them will also be a part of a documentary currently underway, titled “The Case For Kindness,” which will be partially filmed in Imperial Beach on May 15 and 16, according to Lynne Fischer, communications director of the Arts Bureau.

As part of the project, the foundation teamed up with Anonymous, LLC, which manages the City of Kindness project, and media production company Articulus Entertainment for the creation of the film, which is also expected to feature several notable activists, entertainers, scientists and leaders making the case for kindness in the world.

Mural at the Sports Park in Imperial Beach, which reads "We are I.B.," is part of four other murals for a kindness project.
Mural at the Sports Park in Imperial Beach, which reads “We are I.B.,” is part of four other murals for a kindness project.
(Tammy Murga / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The documentary could be completed as early as this fall, said a spokesperson for the foundation.

In addition to Ealey, the other muralists are Isabella Anderson and her piece at Veterans Park; Marissa Quinn, whose mural is on 3rd Street and Palm Avenue; Michelle Lubin, with a mural on Seacoast Drive and Ebony Avenue; and the Arts Bureau with one at the Sports Park.


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