CVMD’s Community Heritage Center Set For Fall Opening

The Clovis Veterans Memorial District’s Heritage Center will serve Clovis as part-museum, part-community center and part-venue hall. (Ron Camacho/Clovis Roundup)

“All gave some and some gave all” is a phrase commonly used to describe the sacrifices made by American service members and veterans.

The phrase is one of many patriotic idioms painted on the walls of Old Town Clovis’ Community Heritage Center, which is currently under construction.

But the Clovis Veterans Memorial District, which owns the center, added a few more words to the phrase, CVMD CEO Lorenzo Rios said.

“On the southern corner you see one important phrase: ‘All gave some and some gave all.’” Rios said. “Normally that is where that phrase ends, but we added, ‘Their sacrifice and that of their families will never be forgotten.’”

The Community Heritage Center is one of CVMD’s most ambitious projects yet. Once it is finished, the center will serve Clovis as part-museum, part-community center and part-venue hall. 

“The goal is to be an immersive learning environment that is inviting, warm and receptive, and that reminds us of our past, recognizes our current realities and how the past has built today. But it also looks to the future with excitement because the past has prepared us for that,” Rios said.

The CVMD is collaborating with other Clovis-based community organizations on the project. The district already brought in the Clovis Hall of Fame, which is providing an exhibit showcasing its recipients.

Rios said the CVMD board is still in the preliminary stages of discussing future exhibits, but confirmed that the center will showcase themes that “capture the essence of our community.”

He said the CVMD board discussed offering a wide array of history-focused programs that would teach students about subjects such as arrowhead making or basket weaving.

CVMD Board Chairman Tom Wright said community desire for a venue space dedicated to “what makes Clovis great” is what led to the idea for the Community Heritage Center in the first place.

“We put together a committee of people in the community who felt that way, formed the committee, called it the Clovis Community Heritage Center,” Wright said. “We wanted to tell the story of the community, not just the military.”

The Heritage Center is slated for a Veterans Day grand opening, but work on the mural on its outside walls is expected to wrap up by the end of February.

The mural is made of dark silhouetted figures against a white wall. Rios said it tells the story of small town America responding to the call of duty.

“We didn’t want a mural that is in your face, we wanted to have a mural that told a story, and we wanted to tell a story in a way that captured the imagination and also evoked an emotional connection to some iconic symbols,” Rios said. “So even the placement of the mural is of significance, because the story goes from the east side all the way around the building.”

The mural begins on the east side of the building. Rios said that is no coincidence, as the east side is the first section of the building that is touched by the sun’s light at the beginning of each day.

“The sun comes up from the east, and as the sun comes up it casts the light first on the east elevation. It casts on hometown USA, here you will see the first two story portions, bigger than life.” Rios said. “You see the water tower, you see the flume, you see cowboys out in the pasture farming and cattle raising. Then there is a call to duty and you see Uncle Sam doing a call to duty.

“This is hometown USA responding to that call, that is why you see the symbolism of the community and we purposely put up on that water tower ‘The City of Clovis’ as a way of rallying around our community as a whole.”

The mural wraps around the entire building. The south side displays seminal conflicts the United States was involved in over the past century, including WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm.

Patriotic phrases are displayed on the west side of the building. The wall features the opening to the Preamble, “We the people,” and the Latin phrase “E pluribus unum,” which translates to “out of many, one.”

The west side concludes the story with a tribute to the future and depictions of service members returning home.

The mural is nearing completion, so anyone wanting to do so can walk around the outside perimeter of the Community Heritage Center and follow the parts of the story that are already complete.

“We focus on the importance of service and service to our nation and to a cause greater than ourselves. Those are the symbols you see when you walk around, so it is a lot more than just a pretty picture,” Rios said.

Wright said the Heritage Center has already received positive feedback from the community.

“The feedback so far has been nothing but positive, nothing but excitement. The more it is developed the more excited people are getting,” he said.

Ron Camacho was born and raised in Clovis. He attended Clovis High School and graduated from CSU Fresno in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications and Journalism. Before joining the Roundup, Ron wrote for Pollstar Magazine and the Sanger Herald. He has a deep appreciation for the arts and is a lover of music, cinema and storytelling. When he’s not busy looking for his next story, Ron enjoys taking weekend expeditions to the beach or mountains to practice landscape photography.