Healing Art – Art in the Park


Razan Makhlouf

A guy named Ozzy expressing himself through art at Panorama Park.

Razan Makhlouf, Reporter

Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services partnered with Creative Crossing for the first Art at the Park event. The three-day event took place at Panorama Drive in Bakersfield, from May 7-9.
In honor of mental health month, artists from Bakersfield created 15 different art pieces centered on key mental health issues. The art pieces were spread through Panorama Park at the bluffs, in hopes they would bring a new outdoor art experience to the city of Bakersfield.
According to the Bakersfield Californian, Dr. Christina Rajlal, a psychologist at Kern Behavioral Health & Recovery Services, “We hope this is something that will start a discussion about mental health in our community,”.
Lizbeth Lopez, program specialist at Kern Behavioral Health & Recovery Services was pleased with the outcome of the event and stressed the importance of raising awareness about mental health in the community. “This is our first year doing this, and we hope we can add more activities in the future,” she said.
Kei Deragon, Co-founder of Creative Crossing, talked about the importance of art in encouraging those who are struggling, especially with mental health in the community. “The goal of the art pieces is to promote the community to come together and encourage those who are struggling with mental health to grow stronger and overcome their struggles,” Deragon said. “There is power in paint,” she added.
Creative Crossing is a nonprofit local art group that aims to empower diverse artists and support local communities by equipping artists with the tools necessary to revitalize and recreate neighborhoods through all forms of artistry, particularly mural art.
According to Deragon, local artists are not noticed, and she hopes that through this event, they can better stand out.
Deragon hopes to enrich the Kern County Culture through art. She hopes to see the city of Bakersfield invest more into this program soon. ““Invest in us so we can continue to invest in those who are struggling,” she said.
Deja Nunez, an artist, and a leader at Creative Crossing, talked about how the outdoor setting had a positive reaction on people who come to Panorama Drive regularly to walk or run. “It’s a great space to do this event; the views and the breeze are amazing, it helps the mental health,” Nunez said.
Nunez wanted to make a special art piece for the event. Her piece was called Wisdom from the whale. “I wanted to make something inspirational since these pieces are going to be donated to mental health facilities,” she said.