Sandia LabNews

Path to Picasso decorates Sandia

"Hydrogen Man vs. Carbo," created by Jazmin Vital (on left) and Carlos Hernandez Reyes, caught the attention of many hydrogen researchers, including Tom Felter (8252), manager of hydrogen and metallurgy research. (Photo by Randy Wong)

As Sandians enter the Micro and Nano Technologies Laboratory (MANTL) each morning, they will soon be greeted by Hydrogen Man, as depicted in the mural "Hydrogen Man versus Carbo."

Occupants of other buildings need not feel jealous, however – Hydrogen Man, along with four other clean energy-themed murals, will be rotated among the lobbies of MANTL (940), the Combustion Research Facility (904), the Combustion Research Computation and Visualization building (905), the Distributed Information Systems Laboratory (915), and Bldg. 911.

Local middle and high school students created the murals this summer through the Path to Picasso program, a partnership between Horizons Family Counseling, the city of Livermore, and the Livermore Police Department. The program, now in its fifth year, gives at-risk youth the opportunity to work with a local professional artist to create a large piece of art that is displayed publicly.

Horizons, a division of the Livermore Police Department, provides family counseling, case management, and parent training for Tri-Valley families. Last year Jacquie Reardon (8131) invited the organization to participate in a site SHARE (Sandia Helps and Reaches Everyone) event, which is where the idea for the Path to Picasso Sandia project first emerged.

"I noticed some blank walls and started to imagine the possibilities," says Horizons youth and family services manager Lynn Gardner. "Path to Picasso art has decorated City Hall, the Livermore Police Department, the Bankhead Theater Plaza, and the Wheels Transit Depot, so why not Sandia too? I knew that doing a project for a national laboratory would open the students’ eyes to new concepts and maybe even give them enough understanding to consider new career opportunities they hadn’t thought of before."

To kick off the project, Mike Janes and Allison Doughty (both 8529) shared with the Path to Picasso students Sandia’s mission and many areas of work, including clean energy and transportation.

"The theme of clean energy was challenging, because there isn’t a lot of ‘clean energy’ art out there," says Regina Levya, creative director of Path to Picasso. "They really had to be pioneers. When we first got started, many of these kids weren’t sure if they could do this. Finishing a project like this and seeing the reaction of Sandians is a huge boost to their self-esteem."

When the murals were unveiled at a SHARE event Sept. 22, the artwork struck a chord with many Sandians. "I love this mural," said Glenn Kubiak (8600), looking at Hydrogen Man vs. Carbo. "I’m a chemist and I see so many clever embedded messages."

Artists Jazmin Vital and Carlos Hernandez Reyes were inspired by Sandia’s research into hydrogen as a clean transportation fuel. They chose a comic book theme of good vs. evil, in this case "Carbo," who is trying to stop Hydrogen Man from making renewable energy. In the painting, Hydrogen Man stands on top of the periodic table.

In "Clues to Solutions," Sandra Cortez, Grecia Arias, and Jessica Santiago created an abstract painting in Picasso’s cubist style depicting the world, solar panels, algae, and other areas of Sandia’s research. Look hard enough and you’ll find the botnet lurking near the lower left-hand corner.

Best friends Cianna Chavez and Brandon McCullough worked together on "Clean Energy versus Pollution," a painting that shows a street dividing two very different buildings. Jaidee Sandoval was inspired by Sandia’s research into creating fuel from natural things to paint "Biomass Transit." Yvonne Nolasco used a tree as the unifying theme of her appropriately named painting, "Communi-tree."

"We are delighted with the art created by the Path to Picasso students. Sandia is very proud to support such an important community program," says Mike. "This is a great example of a community partnership that has been developed through SHARE."

At the Sept. 22 SHARE event, host Jacquie told her personal story of the impact that Horizons had on her life. "Years ago, my teenage daughter began making some very grave choices and we were dealing with matters of life and death on a daily basis. I was ready to send her to a teen boot camp, when I took to the recommendation of a counselor at Horizons to try something different," she explains. "Horizons gave me the ability to parent my child through it personally."

Jacquie also shared the happy news that her daughter is now transferring to California State University East Bay with a 4.0 grade point average. She added that a family’s situation does not have to be as grave as hers was to benefit from Horizons.

"They are available for a myriad of challenges," she says. "We don’t have to parent alone – it took an entire community to raise my daughter effectively."