A surprise mural that popped up in downtown Turlock on Friday left community members online wondering where it came from and why it was created.
The product of upcoming nonprofit organization called Made in Turlock, the temporary art installation colorfully depicts the phrase “This is Not a Wall” and numerous silhouetted figures playfully expressing themselves through dance, peace signs and other gestures. According to Made in Turlock founder and Turlock City Councilman Andrew Nosrati, the mural symbolizes the kickoff of a campaign to raise funds for the Assyrian American Civic Club and a cultural mural at the hall.
It is Nosrati’s hope that “This is Not a Wall” will inspire the community to look at their surroundings through a new lens and lead to even more murals throughout town.
“This is a temporary art installation that will one, invite community members to reimagine what walls can be, and it’s something that brings attention to our cause,” Nosrati said.
The mural is located on the side of Harder’s Print Shop on Market Street, and Nosrati had permission from the business owners to first commission an artist to create the temporary art installation, then later cover it with an ag-inspired mural. Made in Turlock is currently working to identify a nonprofit that supports agriculture and water sustainability to raise funds for through the mural, just as the mural at the Assyrian hall will support the AACC.
“We want to reintroduce art programs into the civic club and support them through the financial hardships they’ve had to endure through COVID and with the loss of their most steady stream of income, the hall rental,” Nosrati said.
Made in Turlock was created to promote diversity and inclusion throughout the community through artwork, events and the support of local nonprofits, he added. The organization is still pending 501 (3) (c) status, however, meaning donations are not tax deductible until their application is approved — a process which can take anywhere from three to six months
While there was some confusion between community members on social media who believed the mural was affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, Nosrati stated that’s not the case — “This is Not a Wall” is a facet of Made in Turlock, which is not a political group in nature.
“The explicit direction we gave our project was that it include absolutely nothing controversial. We don’t want to go near politics; we want to bring the community together,” Nosrati said. “One of the things that’s fun about the mural is that it makes people talk.”
To read more about Made in Turlock’s “This is Not a Wall” project or to donate to the cause, visit www.madeinturlock.org/projects/turlock-murals