A not-for-profit health insurer based in Rancho Cucamonga has partnered with a renowned muralist to collaborate on several murals that will celebrate the beauty of the Inland Empire.
Inland Empire Health Plan, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health insurers that provides Medicare and Medicaid plans, has hired Juan Navarro, a Mexican-American artist, to design and paint several murals that highlight the “tapestry that makes the Inland Empire special.”
Navarro is the artist-in-residence at Riverside Art Museum and has previously partnered with local groups to “create informed, collaborative, and relevant public art for specific neighborhoods and initiatives.” He has more than 15 public works on display in communities across the area, and is the owner and operator of the Eastside Arthouse.
He recently visited the White House as a National Medal recipient with the Riverside Art Museum for Library and Museum service. His work at the Riverside Art Museum includes spearheading its artist-in-residence program, which is described as a “community-revitalization initiative.” The program has received thousands of dollars’ worth of grant funding, which he personally helped to procure.
Navarro’s partnership with IEHP will help the not-for-profit insurer in its rebranding. A full-scale mural in the atrium of organization’s headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga is currently underway.
Hundreds of people pass through that area every single day, IEHP says.
The mural shows a tree-lined street in Riverside that Navarro hopes will leave viewers thinking, “Yeah, this a great place for art.”
IEHP serves more than 1.6 million members across Riverside and San Bernardino counties. As part of its rebranding, it requested proposals and bids from artists across the globe in hopes of finding the perfect fit that celebrated the diverse region it serves.
Navarro was chosen by the organization because of his love for the area and his reputation as a young, respected Latino leader in the community, the organization said. IEHP is also exploring ways to incorporate his art into the organization’s other branded materials.
Yahya Dawood, director of brand design and experience at IEHP, said it’s “incredibly inspiring” to be surrounded by beautiful artwork in the workplace.
“In many ways, our rebranding journey culminates with these beautiful murals in IEHP’s atrium space,” Dawood said. “Now our team members and visitors will be greeted – and hopefully, inspired – by these colorful scenes of the places we know and the people who we serve wholeheartedly in the Inland Empire.”
Navarro has been contracted to create six murals in total for IEHP. The five other locations are in the works, officials said. In the meantime, he says he’s hoping to keep encouraging the next generation of artists to pursue their passions and tell their own stories.
Navarro, who grew up with little to his name as the child of an immigrant mother, said each day he gets to make art for a living is an honor and a “luxury” that adds to the human experience.
“Coming from a space where there’s not a lot of hope to calling myself a ‘full-time artist’ brings me a lot of joy. To have that chance, this type of opportunity that is not available to everyone, I am so grateful,” Navarro said. “I want to inspire others that were born with less to remember there’s always a way to grow if you dedicate your heart to something.”