Mid City, Los Angeles--Over the Superbowl 2020 weekend, Vanessa Prado, known by her artist name Nessi Arte, invited the community to help her paint a mural in honor of Kobe and Gigi Bryant.
The basketball legend, who played with the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 seasons, was among 8 others who lost their lives last weekend, along with his daughter Gigi when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas.
Prado, a Los Angeles native, expressed that she uses art as a vehicle of healing personally, and wanted to offer this opportunity to the Los Angeles community.
It was important to Prado because she understands that many are still trying to process the death of another L.A icon, rapper Nipsey Hussle.
Nipsey Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, 33, was a self-made rapper and entrepreneur from South Central L.A, who owned several successful businesses outside of music. He was gunned down at the strip-mall parking lot he recently purchased March 2019.
“I’m inviting everyone to come out and paint a section so they can feel like, ‘I was apart of that.’ It is an act of grieving and commemorating them,” Nessi said Sunday afternoon.
Prado also painted a mural in honor of Nipsey Hussle, not too far from where the Kobe mural is painted, although it is no longer there. The murals are personal to her because they are located near the middle school she attended.
The family of the L.A High graduate along with her 3-year-old son was also in attendance to support her community project.
“My main thing was, don’t worry if you don’t know how to draw, that’s O.K. It’s just focusing on being apart [of this]. It was very important for me to create this in mid-city because I was born and raised here.”
La Michoacana Boyle Heights also provided free paletas to the participants and community, which is creamy Mexican ice-cream made with natural fruits and flavors.
The store’s owners, who are cousins of Prado’s, said they were up past midnight the previous night preparing their Kobe inspired vanilla and bubblegum flavored paletas.
All donations from the Kobe paletas will go to the MambaOnThree fund, created to support the families of the seven other victims involved in the Jan. 26 helicopter crash.