Skip to main content

ALERT: KPBS 89.5FM is undergoing scheduled upgrade work which may result in a temporary signal outage. Click here to listen on our radio stream.

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

The Journey To Healing: Symbolic Mural Painted At Escondido Recuperative Center

Mauro Alvarez, a local artist, stands on a lift and paints a bird on a mural ...

Photo by Tania Thorne

Above: Mauro Alvarez, a local artist, stands on a lift and paints a bird on a mural at Interfaith's recuperative center in Escondido, June 10, 2021.

Interfaith Community Services has been transforming a run down Escondido motel into a recuperative center for people in need. Now the organization is using art as another tool to help inspire the people they help.

A large, colorful mural now covers what was once a blank and bland wall with images of renewal and breaking free.

Freelance artist Mauro Alvarez created the mural. He described those images and their meaning: “The phoenix, you rise from your ashes. The birds represent every step of the program, there’s more than 12 birds because after the program, you’re still battling. It goes from dark to light because after addiction it gets brighter,” he said. “Every step of the program you're one step closer to freedom. Once you break the chains of whatever is holding you back from succeeding in life, then nothing will stop you and it's beautiful sunsets, beautiful colors.”

Reported by Tania Thorne

Alvarez worked with Interfaith staff and residents to create the mural. But for him, it had a deeper meaning.

“I’m also a person who battles addiction, but I’m from the streets of Escondido. So my thing was, I’m gonna give back to the people where I come from, I want to show them that there is light at the end of the tunnel or after addiction,” Alvarez said.

“It’s so much more amazing than we ever thought possible and it's gonna be an inspiration to our residents and people who have gone through really, really, hard times,” said Greg Angela, the CEO of Interfaith Community Services.

Anglea said The Abraham and Lillian Turk Recuperative Care Center is still under construction, but this colorful addition will serve as a tool on people’s journey at Interfaith.

“We just described what we’re doing. We're gonna be a place for people coming out of hospitals, people who are overcoming homelessness and need a place to stay and heal. We shared that and then he brought his artistic vision,” he said.

Photo by Tania Thorne

Symbolic mural at Interfaith's recuperative center in Escondido. June 10, 2021.

The mural is one of the biggest in the city of Escondido, and took about a week to complete, although there are still some minor details left.

A reveal party for the mural and the work at the property will be held on June 26th.

Interfaith acquired the motel -turned-transformational center in Escondido last year. The organization is now being considered to operate Oceanside’s first homeless shelter and will be discussed at Oceanside’s next council meeting.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Photo of Tania Thorne

Tania Thorne
North County Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI love hearing from the community and listening to what's important to you. No story is too small. If it matters to you, more than likely it matters to somebody else too.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.