Community beautification: Alley Art the Clovis Way

Photo contributed by Beverly Hartman

June 25, 2024 – Navigating the charming lanes of Old Town Clovis, where the essence of a bygone era thrives, a dedicated group of volunteers embarks on a transformative journey. Spearheaded by Beverly Hartman, Alley Art the Clovis Way is revitalizing overlooked alleys into vibrant canvases of history and art.

“We started a volunteer group to enhance the alleys in our small community,” Hartman shared, recalling the initiative’s modest beginnings. “It hasn’t been easy trying to do something new.” Despite initial challenges, Hartman’s resolve remained steadfast.

Their latest project, unveiled with the meticulous strokes of local artists, aims not just to beautify but to infuse neglected spaces with vitality. Nestled between buildings on Woodworth off 4th Street, an ordinary cinderblock dumpster has been transformed. What was once an eyesore now features a historical parking sign adorned with a turn-of-the-century flair, reminiscent of the iconic facade of the Hoblitt Hotel from 1912.

The project began early one morning with eight volunteers ready to work. A last-minute issue arose when their professional pressure washer’s truck malfunctioned. With quick thinking, the team borrowed a water source and a pressure washer from Ted Parker’s nephew.

Photo contributed by Beverly Hartman
Photo contributed by Beverly Hartman

Rick Hartman mixed the stain and began applying it around 8:30 AM, completing about three coats until the stain ran out. The artistic detailing began the next day at 7 AM, led by Olivia Soghomonian, who designed the prototype, along with her brother, sister, and Debi Parker. They worked carefully, especially since an unexpected car had been left parked in the lot for several days, requiring extra caution to avoid staining it.

“We managed to paint a parking sign on an old cinder block dumpster,” Hartman explained, noting the bureaucratic obstacles they faced. “Our city ordinance restricts murals as they fear graffiti and designs not fitting the turn-of-the-century theme.”

“Our vision is to persuade the city to amend their ordinances to allow murals in Clovis,” Hartman expressed. “Currently, only signs are permitted. Nonetheless, this was a promising start.”

Support from Shawn Miller, Director of Economic Development, and other city employees, along with local organizations like Kases for Kids and the Elks Club, has been instrumental. “Shawn Miller approved the design in collaboration with other city employees,” Hartman noted.

“The journey wasn’t without challenges; mechanical setbacks and unexpected hurdles tested our determination,” Hartman shared, her voice reflecting a blend of pride and relief. “Yet, undeterred, we adapted, borrowed equipment, and persisted.”

Looking ahead, Alley Art dreams of expanding their canvas, envisioning murals and sculptures that celebrate Clovis’ rich heritage. It’s an ambitious goal, resonating deeply with those who recognize art’s power to uplift and transform.

As another vibrant masterpiece nears completion, Clovis prepares to embrace its alleyways anew—each brushstroke and artistic flourish a testament to the essence of Old Town and Beverly Hartman’s vision.

In Clovis’ alleys, where dumpsters once stood forgotten, now stand beacons of creativity, encouraging all who pass by to stop, admire, and perhaps dream a little.