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A new mural that focuses on the experiences of Filipino immigrants as they made their way to America was formally unveiled Friday afternoon in downtown Lompoc.

The mural, located in Art Alley between the 100 blocks of South I and H streets, is titled "Ocean's Crossing." It was commissioned by the Lompoc Filipino-American Club (LFAC) as part of its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. The colorful piece, which was created by artist Eliseo Art Silva, includes many nods to Filipino culture and the heritage of many Filipino-Americans.

Silva was among those who attended Friday's reception, which included refreshments and music.

"This public art showcases the significant contributions that Filipino Americans have made throughout American history, both in Lompoc and nationwide," read a portion of a plaque located next to the mural.

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"Weaving together local LFAC events with the larger story of Americans with Filipino heritage," it continued, "the mural was designed to enhance their shared humanity with all Americans by highlighting their own unique Filipino and Filipino-American culture as catalysts for change and points of departure (incubators) for new ideas and innovations, thereby enriching, enhancing and advancing the culture of their newly adopted country."

The theme for the mural, according to the plaque, was culled from the experiences of early Filipino pioneers of Lompoc, who lived and worked in the city as early as the 1920s but were not allowed to cross Ocean Avenue.

Among the people depicted in the mural are Carlos Bulosan, a Filipino migrant worker who lived in Lompoc and became an acclaimed author, and Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, the first Asian-American and second female chief justice of the state of California.

The LFAC, which was founded in February 1968, was set to host an anniversary gala Saturday at the Dick DeWees Community and Senior Center, and is scheduled to be the beneficiary of a bingo fundraiser being put on Sunday by the Valley of the Flowers Half-Century Club.

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This report was prepared by Willis Jacobson. He can be reached at wjacobson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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