Bayside-based artist Ben Goulart, or “The Mural Man

Painting murals changed Bayside based artist Benjamin Goulart’s life. As a teenager growing up in Hayward, Goulart’s interest in street art began with doing graffiti. Then his high school art teacher taught Goulart how to channel his love for art into sometime legal — mural painting.

This is one of the reasons Goulart started the Young Muralist Program — a Bay Area based non-profit program that teaches children and teenagers how to plan and paint a mural. Goulart moved to Humboldt about four years ago and is currently establishing the program here.

“We have found that when you get the young generation active in doing murals, they do less graffiti,” Goulart told the Outpost. “They have a bit more respect for the art on the wall, so they usually won’t tag over it.”

Sketch of the “Age of Aquarius” mural for the Eureka Street Art Festival. Image provided by Goulart.

In an attempt to promote the Young Muralist program, Goulart, with the help of a few young muralists in the program, is creating a community mural during the Eureka Street Art Festival this week. The piece titled “The Age of Aquarius” will be on a shipping container in a parking lot on Sixth and D Streets in Eureka.

Goulart said most of the mural will be complete by the end of the week, but he will be leaving some of it unfinished for community members to help paint it. Next Saturday, during the festival’s block party, people will have an opportunity to paint by numbers on the mural, helping to fill in the incomplete portions.

“[I want] to teach a lot of the community how to paint this mural and get them active,” Goulart said.

Goulart and his daugther working on the utility box on Harrison and Buhne. Photo provided by Goulart.

This will be Goulart’s second piece in Eureka. He and his four year old daughter painted a utility box in June as part of the Eureka Box Art Program. The box, which Goulart and his daughter painted to look like a dog, with large ears flopping onto the sidewalk, is on the corner of Henderson Harrison and Buhne streets. Like the shipping container mural, the box project was also sponsored by the Young Muralist Program.

As a part of the Samoa Peninsula Concrete Vault Public Art Project, Goulart will also soon be painting one of the large concrete cylinders to look like a scuba diver popping up out of the water, he told the Outpost. This is a paid project, however, which Goulart will be completing as an individual and not as part of the muralist program.

Goulart is thrilled to be participating in the street art festival, which he thinks is a fantastic addition to Eureka. He’s happy to see the work of many local and international artists and to see the city and community supporting the arts.

He is also hoping the community mural will help get the word out about the Young Muralist Program, which is in search of more funding. Interested parents will be able to sign up for information on the program during the festival. Goulart believes that this will be a valuable program for Humboldt, to help encourage and guide young aspiring artists.

“I see a lot of kids that need it,” Goulart told the Outpost. “Art programs have been cut across the board and I think are going to continue to be cut. [I’m] trying to fill the gap and trying to encourage more art. It really helped my life and gave me a good outlet.”

You can watch Goulart working during the Eureka Street Art Festival, which is going on right now through this Saturday, August 3 in downtown Eureka.

You can find more about the Young Muralist Program on its website and find more about Goulart’s professional art on The Mural Man website.