(Josh Rheuby of SSPSCCA (Second Sight Photo of Santa Cruz, CA) for Cabrillo College
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Full circle: Cabrillo graduate Francisco Alonso paints Latinx-inspired mural at Aptos Campus

Presented by Cabrillo College

Cabrillo College announced it had commissioned the painting of a Latinx-inspired mural on its Aptos campus by local artist and Cabrillo graduate Francisco Alonso. The mural is part of the College’s ongoing efforts to promote its diversity and celebrate its Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) status.

(Cabrillo College)

The commissioning of this mural was funded by a grant from the Cabrillo College Foundation and the Associated Students of Cabrillo College (ASCC). This past May, for the first time in Cabrillo’s history, 50% of Cabrillo’s graduating class was Latinx. The College aims to foster a greater sense of belonging among its diverse student body, celebrating Latinx culture and centering Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and their racial, cultural, and linguistic ways of living and knowing.

(Cabrillo College)

After a combination of staff, faculty, and students thoroughly reviewed an outstanding ensemble of applicants, Cabrillo leadership selected the artwork of Francisco Alonso. As a Cabrillo College student in the 1990s, Alonso was involved in Puente and Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, and helped establish a MECHA program to bring educational and cultural events focused on healing and overcoming racism.

In addition to having lived in Santa Cruz County, Alonso has resided in and traveled across the Americas, and his mural design, entitled “Unity,” integrates imagery that represents ancestral wisdom and knowledge.

“Our committee reviewed a total of 11 excellent proposals from local artists, ultimately narrowing it to a top five and sending those five out to Cabrillo’s student body for input,” said Claudia Hernandez, Cabrillo Academic Counselor and member of Cabrillo’s Chicano Latino Affairs Council.

The timing of this project and the message of “Unity” conveys a positive vision and an important message.

— Claudia Hernandez

“I am honored to have been selected to paint this mural, which I am titling “Unity” on the Cabrillo College Aptos campus,” said Muralist Francisco Alonso. “I started at Cabrillo College working as a dishwasher in the cafeteria and, with the encouragement of faculty and staff, followed my lifelong passion for art and mural painting and took art courses at Cabrillo. I eventually transferred to San Francisco State University and earned my BA in Art. Since then, I’ve traveled around the world painting murals.”

(Cabrillo College)

“I love Cabrillo, and the opportunity to contribute my artwork to the school that’s given me so much really brings it full circle.”

The mural will be located on a Cabrillo Aptos campus elevator tower just beyond the Martin Luther King bust. Painting of the mural began in August and included student participation.

(Cabrillo College)

For additional information, including the bio of Muralist Francisco Alonso, visit Cabrillo’s website at:

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About Cabrillo College

Cabrillo College is a leading California community college serving Santa Cruz County with locations in Aptos and Watsonville. It is ranked #1 in transfers to UC Santa Cruz. Founded in 1959, the college offers over 100 academic and career technical education programs that serve multiple educational goals such as A.A. and A.S. degrees, certificates of achievement, skills certificates, transfer to 4-year institutions or for lifelong learning and personal enrichment. With a commitment to quality and equity, Cabrillo connects all learners to pathways that propel them from where they are to where they aspire to be, including: academic, personal, and career growth.