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By: Jake Arft-Guatelli, Carlsbad, San Diego – July 26, 2019


Artists and participants alike bustled about Carlsbad New Village Arts as this year’s mural painting session formally began. The murals provide a permanent creative medium in which participants express themselves individually and as a group. This program is funded in part by the City of Carlsbad’s Cultural Arts Office, and it offers a unique and unifying extension of dialogue that unveils participants’ visions through artwork.

The participants created four murals. They previously designed the sketches themselves, then professional artists translated the sketches onto full canvases. Participants painted their murals with the instruction of the same artists, beautifully filling in their careful designs with vibrant colors. 

Designs varied greatly, though they were all influenced by undertones of inclusivity and peace. Alex, an American XL, was inspired by “the border orientation. In our trip to the border, I thought a lot about physical and emotional walls between people.” Alex’s mural features a wall inscribed with various negative words, including “injustice” and “violence”, shattered by a dove-shaped hole revealing sunset. Another mural displayed a pair of olive trees growing toward one another, meeting, and taking the shape of a peace sign, surrounded by vivid red tones and free-flying birds. The third mural showcased the world as the iris of a tearstruck eye, the eyebrow filled with symbols of diversity, religion, and peace. Below the eye a lyric of the Hands of Peace song drifted, reading, “Together we can fill the world with hope”. The fourth mural depicted a figure, shackled to the ground by negative terms, including “bigotry” and “hatred”, striving to reach towards a rainbow of “compassion”, “freedom”, and “peace”. Lour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel XL, who worked on the last mural said that “creating artwork and working on it together as a group made me realize that lines are not important, neither in the painting nor in the conflict”.

Participants carefully add detail and apply the finishing touches to their beautiful mural, a pair of trees growing towards one another and forming a peace sign, rather than meeting and resorting to conflict over mutual space.


Participants detail the dove-shaped opening in a wall of hatred, revealing a gorgeous peaceful sunset.


Participants create the image of a shadowed, shackled figure reaching to the heavens via rainbow. “The fact we as global citizens get the opportunity to express ourselves through all the mediums Hands of Peace provides is beautiful,” said Chloe, an American Hand.


Jake Arft-Guatelli was a Hand in 2017 and an XL in 2018, both times in San Diego. He attends Pacific Ridge School as a senior this fall.