News in Depth
Bixby Hill, Part of Da Hood?
Graffiti-Style Mural Being Painted On Wall Outside Swank East Long Beach Gated Community
It's Part of Multi-Million Dollar, Multi-Cultural Federally Funded Program By Centers for Disease Control Under U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Meant To Promote Healthy Habits For 9-13 Yr Olds
Painting Is On Private Property, Done With Consent of Bixby Hill Gardens Homeowners Ass'n, Will Last At Least 30 Days
Update: Includes text of letter endorsing project by Vice Mayor/3d Dist. Councilman Frank Colonna
(February 22, 2003, updated Feb. 24) -- A graffiti-style mural is being painted on a wall surrounding the elegant Bixby Hill gated community in East Long Beach near CSULB (vicinity Palo Verde Ave. at Anaheim Rd.) in the 3d Council district...but not as part of some art project.
It's part of a multi-million dollar, multi-cultural federal program by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) under its parent agency, the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS), intended to promote healthy habits among 9-13 year olds.
The photos on this page are on Iroquois Ave. on the east side of the Bixby Hill gated community. The painting will continue on Feb. 24 on Anaheim Rd. with schoolchildren from Hill Middle School (which faces Bixby Hill on Iroquois Ave.) under the direction of a mural artist.
Materials on the CDC and HHS web sites from July 2002 indicate the "VERB: It's What You Do" Youth Media Campaign" is a "national $190 million multicultural media campaign designed to promote a healthier lifestyle for kids." An HHS fact sheet says in pertinent part:
The "VERB: It's What You Do" Youth Media Campaign (YMC), launched by the Department for Health and Human Services (HHS) is a national, multicultural media campaign intended to promote physical activity and community involvement and displace unhealthy, risky behaviors among 9 to 13-year-olds, an age group known in marketing terms as "tweens." The campaign will use mass media, interactive media, partnerships and community events to help tweens increase their levels of physical and positive behavior.
The campaign encourages tweens to find a verb (such as run, paint, sing, dance, jump, skate, etc.) or several verbs that fit their personality and interests. The campaign then encourages tweens to use "their verb" as launching pad to better health and make regular physical activity and community involvement a lifetime pursuit.
The VERB campaign is for American tweens of all cultures and ethnicities because kids who are engaged in positive goal-directed activities are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. The campaign recognizes the unique interests and perspectives of children of different cultures and ethnicities. It includes major multicultural elements that make the VERB media communications truly universal for all kinds of tweens from all kinds of backgrounds. Advertising, marketing and public relations professionals from ethnic companies will spearhead all ethnic elements of the VERB campaign, including development and placement of electronic and print media components.
The campaign will focus on getting children excited about increasing the amount of physical and "prosocial" activity in their lives, while helping parents, coaches and teachers see the importance of physical and prosocial activity to the overall health of tweens. Prosocial activity is defined by the campaign as getting kids involved with positive organizations or groups, such as school clubs, community groups or religious organizations.
And there'll be more painting on Monday Feb. 24 between 3-5 p.m., when schoolchildren from adjacent Hill Classical Middle School will take part in expanding the images onto (east-west) Anaheim Rd.
Monday's event will feature accomplished L.A. muralist Man One (Alex Poli), who designed and is producing the mural.
A release from Man One's publicist, Marla Dennis of Capri Public Relations & Artist Management, says in pertinent part:
"Man One’s artwork and decade long career has been showcased in over 20 group exhibitions domestically and internationally, six one-person shows, and displayed at several museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles." The release adds that on Monday Feb. 24, Man One will use "bold, colorful art strokes to create a one-of-a-kind mural promoting healthy lifestyles among children. Hill Middle School students and Artshare youth will be actively assisting Man One in painting the mural."
[update] In a February 10 letter, Long Beach Vice Mayor and 3d district Councilman Frank Colonna endorsed the VERB project. LBReport.com posts his letter text verbatim with pertinent background information. To view these materials, click here. [end update]
A July, 2002 CDC press release explained the program as follows:
The integrated "VERB: It's What You Do" campaign utilizes advertising, marketing, events and communications activities to ensure that campaign messages reach kids whenever they are looking for something positive to do. Through multicultural media partnerships, the campaign is designed to reach children in different socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds - including specific outreach for Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.
So far, the campaign has received $72 million in added value and bonus activity from its media partners, including custom programming and events. To date there are agreements with DC Comics, AOL Time Warner, Disney, Primedia, Viacom and even a group of celebrity endorsers, including rapper and actor Bow Wow.
The Bixby Hill Gardens Homeowners Association (townhouses on east side of gated community, not homes atop the hill) agreed to take part in the program, said Bud Baldwin, the Association's board president.
Mr. Baldwin told LBReport.com he described the VERB program at a regular meeting of the Association, asked for a show of hands seeking permission to paint on the Association's wall. Supporters outnumbered opponents by roughly 3 to 1, Mr. Baldwin said...and a contract was signed to take part in the program.
Mr. Baldwin added that his Association can ask that the mural be removed after 30 days, and the contract specifies that the wall will be restored to its original, pre-mural condition.