Ramona Woman’s Club receives updates on the latest mural projects

Elaine Lyttleton, president of the Ramona HEART Mural Project, briefed members of the Ramona Woman’s Club on future murals coming to town during a conference Oct. 7 with the group.

The next murals will be placed on the sides of the ALDI grocery store building at 215 16th St. and the eclectic Vintage Vibe antique store at 652 Main St, she said.

While still in the early stages of planning, the Vintage Vibe mural will feature a scene from Ramona that will serve as a “photoshoot,” Lyttleton said. Visitors can stand in front of the mural, take selfies and then share them on social media, hopefully attracting visitors to Ramona, she said.

Ramona HEART Mural just put out a call for artists, so she said she wouldn’t know the theme of the mural until artists start submitting proposals. The Ramona Community Foundation will help fund it.

The other planned mural, for the west-facing wall of the ALDI store, will have some type of agricultural or wine theme, or a mixture of the two, Lyttleton said. ALDI will cover the cost of the mural.

Renovation of some of the older murals is also planned once the HEART mural has received sufficient grant funds.

“Some of the murals were erected 10 or more years ago and the sun hit them,” Lyttleton told members of the Woman’s Club. “We will seek funds to rehabilitate and renovate them, because some of them look dog-eared. “

Because Charles Lindbergh’s Lucky Spirit mural on Ninth and Main streets was recently damaged with graffiti, it will also be undergoing some repair. Some panels will be removed and the the top of the mural will be temporarily removed for roof repairs, Lyttleton said. A protective coating will be added to prevent further damage, she said.

Lyttleton also shared a description of the upcoming Ramona Art & Wine Festival, scheduled for November 5-7. Although the festival was originally held at Amy Strong’s Castle in its early years, then at Begent Ranch in subsequent years, the festival had to be changed for COVID-19 conditions last year. It was recreated with a wine tour to six Ramona wineries with vendors and artists selling their products in each location.

The same format is repeated this year with nine cellars instead of six. The traditional wine barrel auction, which raises funds for HEART Mural projects, will continue. Wine barrels are on display at Farmhouse 78 in Santa Ysabel, Rose’s Tasting Room in Old Town San Diego, San Vicente Resort in Ramona, Boll Weevil of Ramona, and Ramona Family Naturals.

The ninth edition of the Ramona Art & Wine Festival will feature the following wineries: Correcaminos Vineyard, Hatfield Creek Vineyards and Winery, La Finquita Winery and Vineyard, Old Julian Vineyards & Winery, Principe di Tricase Winery, Ramona Ranch Vineyard and Winery, Schwaesdall Winery, Three Hills Winery and Grant James Vineyard.

Additionally, Lyttleton shared the origins of the nonprofit Ramona HEART wall project.

She said it was based on her experiences watching the revitalization of the town of Chemainus in British Columbia, Canada, near where she grew up. The city fell into decline after the windmills closed and the storefronts became vacant. The leaders therefore launched an ambitious project to install murals on restaurants and gift shops.

This is what prompted the construction of a performing arts center and a Best Western hotel and conference center in the area, she said. The combined revitalization was like a magnetic force, drawing people in from all over the world, she said.

After moving to Carlsbad, where she lived for 32 years, Lyttleton was active on the Economic Development Committee of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.

This experience came into play when she moved to Ramona in 2006 and saw more storefronts vacant.

“I thought we needed the murals – something to stop traffic and get people into town and get them through not just cars,” she said.

After meeting Chris Anderson at a Ramona Design Review Board meeting, the two formed a committee and organized the board that would oversee the new Ramona HEART mural project.

The group’s website says the acronym HEART not only identifies Ramona as the geographic center of San Diego County, but reflects the character of the community. “H” for history and hiking, “E” for equine, “A” for arts, antiques and agriculture, “R” for scenic rural views and walks, and “T” for fine wine tasting.

“When muralists or building owners ask what the topic should be, I tell them it has to follow the heart and address one of the acronyms of the heart,” Lyttleton said.

For more information on the HEART Mural project, visit ramonamurals.com. For more information on the Art & Wine festival, visit ramonaartandwinefest.net.