Artist Spotlight: Ron Del Cid inspires the next generation of Inland Empire artists

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UCR alumni Ron Del Cid serves as the lead outreach worker for Project B.R.I.D.G.E. The acronym stands for Building Resources for the Intervention Deterrence of Gang Engagement. Del Cid and his team operate outside the Cesar E. Chavez Community Center at Bobby Bonds Park. Del Cid started volunteering at the community center after he graduated from UCR with a degree in ethnic studies and would teach art to the kids who came into the center.

Del Cid emerged into the art world when he was 11 years old. Friends from his neighborhood introduced him to graffiti and Del Cid would become enthralled with the art style for the majority of his youth. At the age of fifteen, Del Cid bought himself a prized airbrush.

He started painting flags for his brother’s platoon. The platoon held his designed flag in every photo they took. Del Cid realized that his art could be more significant than himself and could be used to inspire others. As a teenager, Del Cid and his friends would use graffiti to make murals in tag hot spots, which are blank walls that typically surround local businesses. The young graffiti crew would craft murals outside local liquor stores and restaurants. Before he turned eighteen, Del Cid was making money and creating art with a purpose and would keep this same mentality when it came to his career.

Del Cid has filled the position of the lead outreach worker for six years now. Project B.R.I.D.G.E focuses on youth from the age of 12 to 22, providing mentorship, resources and opportunities for personal growth. People are put in the project for many different reasons, whether it be because they are on a court-mandated order or they are reeling from drug or substance abuse.

Project B.R.I.D.G.E strives to guide young people onto the right path. A six-week workshop occupies the core of B.R.I.D.G.E, designed to build job experience that would look good on a resume. For kids who may not have thought much about their future careers, the workshop has the capability of helping kids find their passion. While six weeks may seem long to a younger person, after participating in the workshop, you will receive a cash prize of three hundred dollars.

Del Cid enhances the project by injecting his artistic flare. During one of the workshops, he would teach the young participants the basics of art, helping countless children connect with the art realm. He also provides them with the opportunity to contribute to community mural projects.

Besides his contributions to Project B.R.I.D.G.E, Del Cid spearheads various community mural projects. The beloved Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine on Ninth Street is home to a community mural. It is an art piece that sits on a wall in their parking lot that was constantly tagged. The art piece was a collaborative project led by Del Cid and Jesus Castañeda. They brought young and old members from the Caesar E. Chavez Community Center to help out on the expansive mural. The church commissioned the mural as a gift for their annual “Caminanta,” an annual celebration that honors the Virgin Mary with a walk from the church to the top of Mt. Rubidoux.

The mural depicts various aspects of the celebration, including Mexicans, Guatemalans and other nationalities coming together for the walk. The canvas blends Latin culture with different artistic elements. It’s a beautiful piece that must be seen to be believed.

Recently, Del Cid took part in a community mural project taking place in the center of the Riverside Faith Temple Garden housing plants that give off fresh produce which are available to anyone in the area. The mural was a team effort that featured kids from the youth center and Riverside Representative Clarissa Cervantes. It portrays the extensive history of the Eastside, specifically highlighting the legacies of African Americans and Latinos. The piece holds pictures of cross-country runners, ears of corn and dancing rancheras. Each icon plastered on the mural was crafted by a member of the Eastside community. In all, the collaborative piece helps draw individuals from the community toward the treasures of the garden.

Art has guided Del Cid throughout his entire life. He believes art can change people’s lives by exposing their minds to fresh material. Del Cid hopes his work with Project B.R.I.D.G.E and his murals could lead young people to discover a passion for art.

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