BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A mural spills across a brick wall on Calloway Drive in west Bakersfield.
It’s out in the open. Anyone can see it — which was the intention of co-creator LaQuesha Wiley.
“It kind of unifies the community,” Wiley said. “It allows people to have that common ground of, ‘I saw that painting too’ or ‘I participated in that.’”
The Calloway Wall is a collaboration between about a dozen local artists through public art collective Creative Crossing. Wiley, a 34-year-old self-described ‘creative and maker,’ uses public art to shed light on the issues closest to her.
“I think art is therapy,” Wiley said.
Mental health is one of Wiley’s biggest influences. She also draws on the racism she’s faced, here in Bakersfield and across the country.
“I feel sometimes profiled, when I go into stores and people follow me, security,” Wiley, who is Black, said.
Public art allows Wiley to challenge those prejudices, to show anyone who will look who she really is.
“Sometimes you can go through life and have experiences and feel like the way people treat you is who you are,” Wiley said. “It’s nice to have an expression that says, ‘No, this is who I am.’”
Some say they don’t see color, but Wiley, ever the artist, takes a different approach
“I see color, and I think it’s beautiful,” Wiley said.