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Launching the Butterfly Project with the Santa Monica Police Department

At Beautify Earth, we not only believe in bringing about beauty, but also supporting the efforts of our communities to bring about the change they see is needed. There's no better project to support than the transformative and rejuvenating power of butterflies. That's right, our very own Daniela Mattus, Director of Education is responsible for this new gift, which found its way to its newest home, Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica.

This time around, Beautify Earth had the help of other locals to bring about this message. In partnership of Santa Monica Police Department and Artists Cesar Duran and Corie Mattie, we all came together to help bring some vibrant color to Lincoln Middle School. Beautify Earth Board Member, Sgt Scott McGee of the SMPD was kind enough to help orchestrate some local support from his fellow co-workers. In fact, this Middle School was the very one Scott attended as a student. The vision for the butterflies takes flight thanks to the minds at Beautify such as Daniela. Keep an eye out for more taking flight!

From Daniela:

Deep into the second month of the COVID lockdown, my husband and I drove through the almost empty streets of Santa Monica. The whole family hadn’t left the house for weeks except for daily walks around the block. The town seemed deserted and it felt unsafe.

As we drove around town, it looked like a scene from a zombie apocalypse movie where a zombie could attack at the next stop light.

We could hear sirens every few minutes and I wasn’t sure if it was due to protesters, rioters or people being taken off to hospitals from the virus. Across the street, our 77-year-old neighbor left his house on a gurney and was carted off into the back of a flashing ambulance. In his case, it turned out to be from a mental breakdown due to the new state of our community and the world.

Corie Mattie letting her own doves take flight

As we drove through the empty streets in fear, I kept spotting butterflies. They served me as little reminders to go beyond my fear and to be present.

I thought, “How amazing would it be to spot butterflies all over Santa Monica, painted on the walls of schools, stores or houses...everywhere. They can be reminders for all of us. Be present. Be here now.”

Butterflies could act as a symbol of resilience and resurgence. They could be reminders of what we went through and overcame. 

Beautify Earth decided to support this idea and “Butterfly” Santa Monica.

The first stop was Lincoln Middle School on 15th and California. Several members of the SMPD spent hours stenciling butterflies on the positivity courtyard walls in the middle school. Although police have been under fire nationally, our local police are among the best trained in the country and show extreme compassion and love for this community. 

“I'm not an artist but I’m humbled to have been a part of such an experience that spreads positivity” Sgt. Gerardo Leyva said, after painting outdoors for hours in full uniform on one of the hottest days of the summer.

We just got started, the plan is to paint thousands of butterflies with the help of the community. 

We at Beautify Earth hope we can count on your support to “Butterfly” Santa Monica, hopefully LA…and the rest the Country! 

- Daniela Torres Mattus

Serving the community that I grew up in is a great honor. Working during the pandemic and civil unrest, it was hard for me to see what happened to the city that raised me. Being able to bring a lightness, beauty and a symbol of transformation through these butterflies is a positive step in the healing process and something we can all do together.

- Sgt Scott McGee (Board Member Beautify Earth, non profit)

Big thanks to Corie Mattie for blessing this school with her Hope, Cesar Duran for his support with the Butterfly project and the SMPD for taking the time out of their day to help bring some beauty to a local school.

To help support Butterfly Earth and to see the spread of love and beauty, please submit a donation here, or sign up your school for a mural here.


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