Murals with a Message
Michael Howard had one mission when he began painting murals twenty years ago; combat the graffiti that had sprung up around his neighborhood near Los Angeles,California. Almost 1,000 murals later, Michael’s mission has evolved into much more than simply painting over unwelcomed graffiti. Today, his mission is to use art as a way to empower youth to improve their communities by creating powerful and impactful murals with a message.
Founded by Michael in 1993, Operation Clean Slate (OCS) works throughout Southern California to provide students with a platform to artistically express themselves while enhancing their community. These messages are thoughtfully designed and are part of vibrantly colored murals placed in schools, community centers and many other locations. OCS’s murals promote topics like safe driving, healthy eating, water conservation and encouraging activity and exercise.
With the support of State Farm, OCS recently completed two new murals encouraging students and their communities to drive safely. The murals are located at Valley High School in Santa Ana, CA and at the Boys and Girls Club of Buena Park, CA.
OCS continues to transform blank walls, creating beautiful murals with powerful messages. They are also expanding their work to broaden the number of people and communities impacted by the murals.
Valley High School, Santa Ana, CA
Valley High School alumni and a current UC Berkeley student, Dulce Lopez designed a recently completed mural at her alma mater, Valley High School in Santa Ana, CA. The design includes the message, “Texting…It Can Wait. Don’t text your life away.”
As students and volunteers painted the mural, a number of people walked by and wondered what was being created. One student even stopped and asked, “Don’t text your life away? What does that mean?” That’s the power of these murals. They have the ability to get people thinking about choices that could positively impact their life.
Boys and Girls Club of Buena Park, CA
At the Boys and Girls Club of Buena Park, CA, students carefully painted a mural at their community center. Inside, the students were being taught about road safety. OCS partnered with Impact Teen Drivers to educate students about making positive choices as they become new drivers. Their mural reads, “It’s not worth the hype to drive and type.”
The mural’s impact extends beyond the education happening inside the center, but rather to the community at large. “Operation Clean Slate’s artwork not only enhances the visual appeal of the structure, but carries a powerful and impactful message.” said California State Senator, Tony Mendoza. “The mural at the Boys and Girls Club of Buena Park will serve as a daily reminder to practice safe driving habits, and will hopefully drive meaningful conversations in the community and among young people that will help improve road safety.”