Artist Katrina Mena Makes Sure her Art has History

The+mural+at+the+Heritage+Museum+of+Orange+County+that+student+Katrina+Mena+worked+on+for+close+to+a+year.+The+mural+shows+the+history+of+Santa+Ana.

Courtesy of Katrina Mena

The mural at the Heritage Museum of Orange County that student Katrina Mena worked on for close to a year. The mural shows the history of Santa Ana.

Ashley Cortez , Reporter

Art represents many different stories, emotions, and experiences people go through. For senior, Katrina Mena, her story and strong passion for art shows how working hard can take you places you never thought you could reach.

Mena helped create the mural at the Heritage Museum of Orange County in 2019 with help from students at: Godinez, Segerstrom, and Valley High School. Godinez students who worked with Mena included: Kevin Cabrera, Abram Moya, and Moises Camacho. 

The mural was created to tell a story of the history of Santa Ana and represent people who contributed to California’s history. 

Mena volunteered to be a part of the mural art project, which is next to Godinez Fundamental High School, when Cabrera asked her art class, her sophomore year, looking for volunteers. 

Pullquote Photo

Ever since I was small I used to go to art museums with my dad and it was just a bond that we had”

— Artist Katrina Mena

Being able to work with a professional muralist, Mena explained that she felt scared that Cabrera, Moya, and Camacho were going to be harsh, strict, and most of all doubt her skills. But when she met the professional artists, they were the complete opposite. 

They were “Supportive, taught new techniques with respect, and were very understanding,” said Mena.

Art is a huge part of who Mena has become. 

Mena first started her passion around the 7th grade. It was a way that she felt relaxed and comfortable being able to let loose into her art; like she is in her own world. Artwork she prefers to draw are: skulls, butterflies, and still nature. She usually reflects her mood and thought into her drawings or paintings. It’s a way that she expressed herself.

“Ever since I was small I used to go to art museums with my dad and it was just a bond that we had,” said Mena.

When Mena first started on the mural in the summer of 2019, one of her first thoughts going in was what she was going to be working on. The mural was more of a hands on project and helped young artists improve their technique. After working on the mural for over a year, Mena broke out of her shell.

“We became more a family being able to be there with other people who have passion for art…it made me feel more at home,” said Mena

Outside of school, Mena has participated in many art show events, showing her art from galleries to documentaries. She has come so far as an artist and still has so much to learn.

“I would  have never expected my artwork to come this far, for me it is just a passion,” said Mena.

At the beginning of her senior year, Mena tested positive for COVID-19, the week before school started. She had to quarantine for two weeks alone in her room due to the fact that she was the only one in her family that tested positive. 

Since Mena’s family all tested negative for COVID-19, they all had to adjust. Her mom had to take days off to take off her siblings since Mena usually did.  

It took Mena about a month to regain strength to do anything. She slowly started returning back to her normal schedule with school and getting inspired to do art. 

COVID-19 is one of the main reasons that many murals at the Heritage Museum did not get completed on time. The pandemic took away the opportunity for Mena to finish her own design for a mural at the museum. 

And Mena misses time spent with people that shared the same passion for art. 

But Mena has accomplished many art projects she never thought was possible, from art shows to documentaries.

And even though she didn’t get to accomplish everything on her list due to COVID-19, she knows that her passion for art will always be there.