Tiburon’s fresco project celebrates Portuguese dairy history


Tiburon plans to install a stylized tile mural on a retaining wall near Del Mar School, commemorating the importance of Portuguese dairies in the city’s history.

The installation, which will be designed by an Azorean-Californian artist and reproduced on authentic Portuguese tiles called ‘azulejos’, is the first public beautification project undertaken by the Tiburon Heritage and Arts Commission. The project was unanimously approved by the city council on Wednesday.

“I just think it’s a perfect marriage of the Azorean-Portuguese artwork with the Californian landscape, a contemporary, modern and vibrant color palette that will brighten up this particular wall which is a bit dark and gloomy,” said said Victor Morais, a resident of Tiburon who developed and proposed the project.

The retaining wall is adjacent to the Tiburon cycle path and near Del Mar School, which was once the Little Reed dairy operated by the Portuguese. Dairies in the late 1800s and early 1900s were operated by Portuguese-Azorean immigrant families and were a key facet of Marin’s overall economy. Many of them, like Little Reed Dairy, were later converted into schools.

Morais said the mural will commemorate the historical contributions of Portuguese dairies, which are likely to be forgotten due to the few physical reminders of their presence or importance.

“I still have a ways to go to create it, but I’m definitely excited about the project and I’m also encouraged by the enthusiasm I have from other people,” said Morais, who also spearheaded a twinning agreement between Sausalito. and the Portuguese coastal town of Cascais. “It seems natural to do this. It is clearly a labor of love.

Azulejos, derived from the Arabic word for “polished stone”, is a glazed ceramic tile characterized by ornamental lines and Arabic influences.

The cost estimate for the project is between $ 10,000 and $ 15,000, which includes the artwork, manufacturing and shipping of Azulejos tiles, site preparation and installation, and landscaping. possible landscaping of the area around the wall.

Possible funding sources include the arts commission, the city, the Tiburon Peninsula Foundation, public grants through Portuguese foundations and private donations, Morais said.

Leonor Noguez, chair of the arts commission, said the project began in July when she met Morais as she sought signatures for her candidacy for city council in the upcoming special election.

“A simple conversation can start something amazing,” she said. “It’s not only a beautiful place, it also has a rich cultural history and I think we can even go beyond even to the Miwoks.”

Noguez said the plan would go to the commission to work with Morais to secure funding.

The proposed artist for the project is João De Brito, an Azorean-Californian painter born in Portugal and known for his oil-painted landscapes. He made a sketch of the Little Reed Dairy, which was presented to the council as a model for the eventual multi-layered piece.

The mural will consist of Azulejos tiles from Portugal. The dimensions of the painting will be 48 inches by 18 inches, oil on canvas. The tilers will convert the paint into individual tiles. The tiles will be installed on the wall, which is approximately 13 feet and three and a quarter inches in width and 3 feet 5 inches in height.

In order to avoid distortion by the different ratio sizes of the oil painting and the wall, Morais recommended to border the azulejos with the name of the artist, the name of the painting and the year, a description narrative of the image and its importance, and of the donors.

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