September 7, 2022 | Stories

San Benito County Mural Restored after 25 Years

San Benito County Mural Restored after 25 Years

A mural can be described as a crafted painting or illustration intended to take a space, most commonly a blank wall, and transform it into a beautiful piece of art. Ernie Valles, a locally born and raised Hollister artist, created just that for the community in 1996 in the parking lot off 5th Street, behind the Vault. Originally inspired by a 1950s map of Hollister, the mural highlights significant buildings and key factors of the city in a neutral, sepia tone. Fast forward twenty-six years later, after multiple years of wear on the piece, Valles teamed up with the Community Foundation and paid a visit back to Hollister to restore the mural for the community this summer. Updating the mural to a brighter color scheme, capturing distinct details intended to portray Hollister and the town’s history, Valles worked hard to restore, retouch and revarnish his piece with the help of colleagues and friends.

The goal was to always bring light to Hollister, especially for those who don’t know our city, making them aware of what this town is all about. Valles shared that he was, “Proud to have done something substantial and honor the arts”. He was happy to use his talents and skills in this way.

Capturing the notable elements of Hollister was an important part of the process of the creation and restoration of this mural. The art illustrates imagery from the California Condor over the Pinnacles to a sketch of rich California Valley tomatoes. The piece gives just a glimpse of what it means to be part of San Benito County and what makes Hollister a unique place to call home.

Untitled design
Photos by Susan Echaore-McDavid taken in 2010.
20201116 144018
The mural experienced heavy damage due to weathering and time. Panels of the mural began to come loose off the walls. Photos by the Community Foundation.
Untitled design 4
Old Tomatoes
Pictures of the Mural Before.
Untitled design 5
After Images of the 2022 Restoration.