Nuria Ortiz (Ms. Yellow) drew upon personal experiences growing up in the area to capture the rich cultural traditions, strong community bonds and entrepreneurial spirit of Wilmington. A colorful sunset, monarchs and bougainvillea intertwine with nods to the rail and oil industries as well as nostalgic snapshots to characterize the largely Latinx, harbor city. The city’s wealth of art and culture—from allusions to classic cars and street art to folklorico performances and musical subgenres as diverse as ska, punk, jazz and mariachi—is highlighted throughout the painting. In the center, a street vendor passes elote (Mexican grilled corn) to a woman with a vibrant mohawk. In the distance is the historic Don apartment building, which, for decades, was a prime spot for social gatherings in the heart of the old commercial district. Also on prominent display are the cross streets of Avalon Boulevard and Anaheim Street, an important central location for businesses, commuters and contemporary life.
This artwork was commissioned for Metro’s Through the Eyes of Artists poster series for display in the fleet.
“This city is unlike many cities. The community bands together and supports each other. It is a community that tries to live a better life, spreads awareness and tries to help each other. I tried to capture the sense of community in this piece because that is the true essence of Wilmington.”
About the Artist
NURIA ORTIZ (Ms. Yellow – b. 1987, Long Beach, California) is a self-taught muralist, artist and craftswoman whose work often explores culture, folklore, sisterhood, education, unity, love and social justice. The Mexican American artist’s experiences growing up in the South Bay fostered a strong interest in community engagement. She has facilitated art workshops and mentored youth through Boys & Girls clubs, schools, and community centers. Her artwork and murals have been displayed in museums, galleries and streets throughout the United States and abroad in Australia, Egypt, France, Japan, Mexico and Spain.