With this colorful mural at The Gardens on El Paseo, one artist is spreading hope and inspirational vibes.
By Lisa Marie Hart
Photos courtesy The Gardens on El Paseo
Even before its completion, “We Hope in Color,” the new mural at The Gardens on El Paseo, was stopping people in their tracks — not only because Minneapolis, Minnesota-based artist Lindsey Wright (aka Lindsey Made This) was hoisted in an industrial lift as she painted the top portion, but because her every brushstroke raised their spirits and began instilling the painting’s message of hope.
“Everything I do is inspired by making people smile,” Wright says. “I want my work to be colorful, fun, happy, and uplifting.” As an artist, she has built a career around conveying information and emotion through visual impact, first as a designer and art director and now as a commercial artist and illustrator. Her optimistic style is in high demand for advertising campaigns for Apple, Coach, DoorDash, Facebook, Old Navy, Target, and Whole Foods.
To create a meaningful, site-specific mural, Wright collaborated with Shay Moraga, founder of the local non-profit organization Shay's Warriors – Life After Cancer. Longtime friends from their native Minnesota, the two have been working together since the foundation’s inception; Wright serves on the board of directors. When The Gardens on El Paseo invited the organization to install a mural, the women seized the opportunity to embolden hearts.
“The design is rooted in the cancer journey, where everything is so pale, muted, and dark,” says Wright, who adds that she felt helpless when Moraga received the triple negative breast cancer diagnosis in 2016 that led her to founding the charity. “We wanted to do the opposite of that.”
Walking by the wall — or stopping for a selfie — guests might not immediately realize that the mural combines the mission statement of Shay’s Warriors with a swirling spectrum of cancer awareness ribbons. What they will know is they are not walking alone.
The bright burst of art in the courtyard adjacent to Anthropologie was conceptualized as a two-story-tall gift from The Gardens on El Paseo and Shay’s Warriors.
“We want people to walk in the center and feel the hope and happiness it represents,” says Deja Kreutzberg, marketing and property specialist for The Gardens. “Whether you’re going through a tragedy or just everyday life, knowing your neighbors and friends are there for you during a tough time is really important. We hope that’s exactly what it does for people.”
Kreutzberg also sees it as an interactive opportunity to learn about the artist and the organization combined with a place to take, post, and share a photo of the mural, which in turn may brighten someone else’s day.
“When you go through cancer or adversity, you see things differently,” Moraga says. “You see brighter colors, you hear the birds chirping louder. ‘We hope in color’ means hope for the world, the community, and the cancer community, because as a city, we come together and look out for that rainbow to know that things are going to be OK.”
After a weekend of painting, Wright was quick to say her favorite aspect of art installations is the face-to-face exchanges. When kids approach, she makes it a point to encourage their artistic pursuits. “Many youngsters don’t see that art is a potential career,” she laments.
While the mural will leave a lasting impression on visitors to The Gardens, and contributes to Shay’s Warriors, Wright says she is headed home to Minnesota with something, too. “I had people coming up and saying, ‘Thank you,’” she says. “I love that people are thanking me for bringing some color and interest to their everyday path.”
73545 El Paseo, Palm Desert CA 92260
Since The Gardens on El Paseo opened more than 24 years ago, it has supported and partnered with community organizations and charities through a variety of events and experiences. In 2020, it launched the #CommunityFirst campaign and donated more than $13,000 to local non-profit organizations in a year when fundraising was most difficult.
The art installation encourages visitors to snap a photo and share it on social media tagging @shayswarriors and @TheGardensOnElPaseo #LifeAfterCancer #WeHopeInColor #MyViewFromTheGardens #CommunityFirst.