Dedication ceremony for Big Sleeps mural in Central Long Beach taking place Saturday

A dedication ceremony will be held Saturday, in Central Long Beach, for a mural painted last November by Los Angeles artist Big Sleeps.

The mural, “Determination,” was one portion of an arts education and public art project that also included arts and wellness workshops for youth ages 16 to 24 earlier last year.

The project was funded by grants from the California Arts Council and Munzer Foundation with support from Long Beach Transit, which is where the mural is located.

Wanting to bring life to their building on the corner of Cherry Avenue and Anaheim Street, LBT officials reached out to the Arts Council for Long Beach for help in creating a mural, the Post previously reported.

“The DETERMINATION mural on Cherry Ave. is another example of LBT’s commitment to the communities we serve,” said LBT Board Chair Colleen Bentley.

Centro CHA, the local Latino-serving social service agency, served as the host location for the workshops, which were led by the artist himself, David Velasquez, who goes by Big Sleeps.

During that time, the artist taught the youth participants artistic skills as well as how art could be used as a medium to share stories of hope, identity and alternatives to violence.

VIDEO: Artist Big Sleeps talks about his lettering style and giving back to the community

“Determination LB is an inspiring project. We are so grateful to partner once again with Centro CHA and that Long Beach Transit joined the project,” said Arts Council Executive Director Griselda Suarez.

In and out of juvenile institutions and prison until about a decade ago, Big Sleeps said he used to influence kids negatively, but he has since changed his ways. He continues the one aspect of gang life that now gives him success.

“I took the art part of it and made a career out of it,” the self-taught artist told the Post in November.

The mural dedication and culmination event will take place Saturday, Feb. 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The free event will include a meet-and-greet with the artist along with live painting, music performers, food and community information booths.

Art created by the youth participants during the workshops will also be on display alongside the Long Beach Por vida pop-up shop, which operates out of Centro CHA.

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Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.