‘Trust’ Restored to San Jose Community Mural Project Damaged by Tagger

"TRUST" restored to mural.

The message conveyed on the mural in San Jose’s Little Portugal is simple yet powerful: Community, Hope, Trust and Tolerance.

At a time when graffiti tags are on the rise, this mural stood unmarred for more than a year. Then a few weeks ago, a vandal took away the “Trust.” A huge tag with blue and black

Graffiti tag covers mural panel.

paint covered the word with a black fist, angering and disappointing residents.

“How could someone destroy this,” said volunteer Laura Hinden. “It says ‘trust.’”

The “Trust” returned on Saturday, August 6, when the mural’s designer Paul J. Gonzales, community coordinator Paul Pereira and volunteers worked for four hours to return the mural to its original state and add a new coat of protective solvent.

Gonzales, left, Laura Hinden and Star Hinden restore mural panel.

Although an anti-graffiti solvent had allowed volunteers to rub off some of the tag, Gonzales had to restore the design. He and volunteers filled in the big bold letters, with a bright red heart at the top.

Most of the mural, one of dozens of CommUniverCity San Jose’s Day of Service projects, draws attention with its bold colors and vibrant design. “Trust” was painted in black and white for a reason, said Gonzales.

“”It’s black and white,” he said. “You either trust someone or you don’t.”

Paul Pereira touches up mural.

Gonzales designed the mural with input from the Five Wounds Brookwood Terrace Community, a Strong Neighborhoods Area adopted by CommUniverCity, part of San Jose State University’s Service Learning program.

The mural was created along a railroad fence near Five Wounds Church in spring by Gonzales and 25 volunteers. Gonzales, a local artist
and former city employee with the anti-graffiti program, has created 70 murals in San Jose. As an artist and anti-graffiti specialist, he knows that there’s a risk of vandalism with any public work of art.

“We have to protect it,” he said. But if it does get tagged, “We have to move forward.”

That means getting rid of the tag as soon as possible to send a message to the taggers that their acts of vandalism will not be tolerated. No one knows that more than Pereira a city community coordinator who carries paint around with him, stopping to wipe out a tag wherever he sees one.

After inspecting and admiring the restored mural on Saturday, he said, “I’m glad we brought back Trust.”