New mural paints a picture of community

Photo by Tony Kukulich

Artist Lorin Baeta works on the mural she was commissioned to paint on the side of Del Sol Energy building on Oak Street in Brentwood.

 Visitors to downtown may have noticed a new mural on the side of the Del Sol Energy building at the intersection of Midway and Oak streets in Brentwood.

The mural’s artist is Lorin Baeta, who moved to Brentwood in 2017, and launched her own artwork business. Since then, she has painted four of the city’s utility boxes and numerous signs and windows for downtown businesses.

“I got really lucky to be the person they chose for this,” Baeta said.

Downtown Brentwood Coalition (DBC), the driving force behind the new mural, selected Baeta. Peter Jacoway, DBC president, said he is happy to see this project come to life after several years of discussion with his grandmother, Helen Myers. Myers owns the building on which the mural was painted, and Jacoway added she fully supported the project from its inception.

“We always talked about doing a mural for downtown,” Jacoway said. “My grandmother was always active downtown and in the art society, so she was interested. It just took us to figure out what it was going to look like and the Downtown Coalition was the right source to push it through and get the artist and file for the grant.”

Jacoway reported he received the grant from the City of Brentwood, and funds came not from taxpayer dollars but from business licensing fees. The grant covered Baeta’s fee of $12,000 and rental of a scissor-lift. Myers, as the building’s owner, paid to retexture and paint the wall in preparation for Baeta’s design, which is meant to illustrate the heart of the community.

“The Downtown Coalition asked for a handful of concepts for review,” Baeta said of the final design. “This is a mashup of multiple concepts presented. They really wanted to see something local-centric, with landmarks and wildlife.”

The design includes area imagery, from active family life to the city’s agricultural roots.

“There are little things that represent the community,” Baeta said. “People hiking, a picture of the flags at Veterans Park and below the windows, there will be several sets of wings, which brings in the interactive element.”

The wing designs are meant for people to pose in front of for pictures to post on social media. Baeta said she researched local birds and insects, choosing her designs from six native species. She noted the wing designs will be composed of local produce.

“For example, the bee wings are made up of corn cobs,” she said. “So we are really tying in a lot of what makes Brentwood, Brentwood.”

Terrence Grindall, Brentwood’s assistant city manager, said he is happy to see another installment on the journey to keep Brentwood beautiful.

“This mural is another step in our downtown beautification,” Grindall explained. “My favorite feature is the ‘Instagram-able’ wings ... We are excited by this mural that will resonate: Better in Brentwood.”

The mural will be especially visible now that the lot across the street is vacant. The building was recently torn down and Grindall noted that while there is not a specific project proposed for the empty lot, the landowner will likely build something in the future.

Jacoway hopes the mural will drive traffic downtown as residents and visitors alike snap photos in front of the wings. He added that the coalition is pleased with the image Baeta came up with and looks forward to its completion.

“I love the design,” Jacoway said. “It’s what I pushed through, and it speaks to what Brentwood is and what it has been … my goal was for it to bring people downtown, and I think it’s beautiful.”

Baeta is currently working on the mural and hopes to have it finished in the near future. You can follow her progress on Instagram by following @letterly.signsandlettering.