Portraits of Hope and Ford Motor Company recently completed the final public painting session for the largest public arts project in the U.S. and one of the most extensive civic efforts anywhere in the country. This final weekend event was held at South Bay Ford in Hawthorne, California, on Saturday, April 24, 2010, and it ended four months of painting all 150 lifeguard towers along 31 miles of Los Angeles beaches.
Ford has worked with Portraits of Hope and the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors and County Lifeguards on this project. Together, the organizations have created painting sessions with young people facing medical, physical and socio-economic challenges since January. Portraits of Hope has served more than 6,000 youth volunteer artists, 118 schools, hospitals and youth-oriented programs since the project began.
During the April 24 session, a group from Lucille Elementary School was among the volunteer artists, joining uniformed Los Angeles County Lifeguards, among others. Specially wrapped Portraits of Hope hybrid vehicles were on display along with a Lifeguard Ford Escape Hybrid. Actress Melissa Biggs helped support the program and provided comments in the video above.
During the painting workshops, education sessions addressed a variety of topics including the environment – a subject that has resonated with both the lifeguards and Ford. Ford worked with the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Service to help it become the first and largest public-safety organization in the country to go fully hybrid in 2008. You can learn more about these efforts by clicking here.
Previous Portraits of Hope projects ranged from blimps, buildings and the New York City taxi fleet to racecars, tugboats and vintage airplanes.