Art of love

Amalia Crumm and Robbie McNulty

PHOTO courtesy of Robbie McNulty

Sixteen-year-old Amalia Crumm said she wanted to “make a beautiful addition to the town’s already ravishing beauty” when she submitted a proposal to paint a mural in Lo de Marcos, a small fishing village in Mexico. The proposal was accepted, and friend Robbie McNulty, 18, who just graduated from Chico High, where Amalia is a junior, went along to help with the project. In just a little over a week, the two created a work of art that will last for generations. The mural is on the walls of La Casa de Los Niños. The school was created about two years ago by Patti and Dave Martinez, who are originally from Chico, in memory of their grandchildren who were killed in a car accident while visiting Mexico. The grandchildren were involved in the Spanish immersion program at Rosedale Elementary, where Amalia’s mother teaches.

What’s your connection to this small fishing village?

Robbie: Amalia had been there twice before, and I got to go there with her and my best friend, which is her brother, in February. After that, we always knew we wanted to go back. After Amalia wrote the proposal and got it approved, she needed someone to accompany her ‘cause she’s not old enough to fly by herself. Her brother was out of town, so I was kind of like the next brother.

How did you come up with the idea of painting the mural?

Amalia: On our second trip down, we had talked to Patti about doing something. I got back and I waited a couple of weeks. Then one night I was up late and I just sat down and wrote a proposal and sent it in. The next day they got back to us. It was crazy, perfect timing because they had just repainted the school. It was like a perfect canvas to put something on.

Was painting the mural in Mexico any different from having to paint it here?

Robbie: The resources were definitely different because they don’t have things like us. They didn’t have paintbrushes and things like that. So when we got paintbrushes donated by Art Etc., it was just such a big help to us. Finding donations was really crucial for when we were down there.

What was the response from the people in the village?

Robbie: The people were really supportive of the mural and always asking us what we were doing. And you know, it was all in Spanish, so our Spanish got really good.

Amalia: [The students] would come in early and help us paint or just watch us paint. We loved interacting with them.

Robbie: They were friendly and very including. I never felt like an outsider there.

How would you sum up your experience?

Robbie: Spontaneous and magical.