Written by: Richard Bammer
Jan. 30, 2005
The Reporter ( Vacaville, CA)

Colorful History Library mural uses
child-pleasing images to tell Vacaville's story
by: Richard Bammer

She tries to paint with a child's point of view, which explains why Victoria Miraglio has a history of murals in the children's sections of two Solano County libraries. Kids really like her murals, because she renders them with a simple narrative and eye-pleasing colors in mind. An example is her latest wall-size piece, "Along Ulatis Creek," in the newly opened downtown Vacaville branch at 1 Town Square.

Painted on tow canvas panels and coming in at 18 feet by 42 inches high, the mural portrays Vacaville's history-from left to right-beginning with the earliest people, American Indians, and continuing to the 21st century.

In a telephone interview from her Pleasanton home, Miraglio said local library officials wanted "a storytelling theme and linear history" in the piece. Those instructions were similar to the ones she received for the 15 by 8 foot mural in the children's section of the downtown Fairfield library, she said.
Kids like to look at animals included in the panoramas, among them field birds, ducks, elk, skunks, deer, fox and the like, she said.

"Children can relate to it," said the Alameda native, known for her murals in wineries and private homes.
"And there are children in it. I tried to make it interesting to them, not just adults. It's things they can look for."

To document Vacaville's history, she used old-timey photos and other documents provided by Vacaville historian Jerry Bowen.

"I had real hard time finding information from the Internet,” she said. So, with Bowen's help, Miraglio proceeded to depict, besides the Indians, the first Spanish settlers, the Vaca and Pena families, and others. She also included several significant Vacaville buildings, including the Pena Adobe, the old Vacaville High School, the Buck Mansion, the Carnegie Library and the old town hall. Of course, no historically accurate Vacaville mural would be complete without a rendering of the first Nut Tree fruit stand, she said. "I wanted to make it pretty historically accurate,” she said. "I really worked hard to make it that way."