The Coast News Group
Local artist Santos painted the hieroglyphic-style mural at Coast Highway 101 and H Street in Encinitas. Staff photo

Mural adorns construction barrier

ENCINITAS — In an effort to be a good neighbor during major construction, a local architect and the organization that promotes downtown’s businesses commissioned the installation of a mural around a large construction barrier on Coast Highway 101 and H Street in downtown Encinitas.

Local artist Santos painted the hieroglyphic-style mural that spans the barrier, which serves as a pedestrian passage around the construction of the First National Bank.

Thora Guthrie of the Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association is credited with the idea of the temporary mural. She introduced Santos and architect Brett Farrow, and the rest was, as they say, history.

“We love partnerships that bring something positive to our downtown,” Guthrie said. “Our introduction between the artist and developer resulted in a piece of art for the community to enjoy along Highway 101. Instead of a dull, gray construction wall, passersby get to ponder the meaning of the Mayan inspired hieroglyphics that Santos is known for.”

Murals have been a big part of Encinitas 101 MainStreet’s ongoing effort to beautify some of downtown’s seedier areas. 

The organization two years ago started an alley activation program that led to the installation of two murals in some of downtown’s most notorious alleys.

Murals, Guthrie said, energize the city’s historic core.

“E101 is actively working on art and interactive pieces to draw visitors out of their cars and along Highway 101,” Guthrie said. “It is a win-win for the artists, the businesses and residents.”

Farrow designed the sleek, modern headquarters for the bank currently based in Riverside County. He said he was excited to be a part of beautifying what could have been a temporary eyesore downtown.

He said the company might sell the barricade when construction ends as part of a charity fundraiser.

The Planning Commission approved the future First National Bank in 2015. The plans call for a 29,863-square-foot, two-story structure with two levels of underground parking. The new bank will replace a one-story, white building that previously housed Coast Furniture company.