LOMPOC, Calif. - One of the unique characteristics of old town Lompoc are the murals scattered throughout town.
The city has more than 30 murals, and it's a project that's spanned more than two decades.
"These are our pride and joy," said Ann Thompson, is an art curator for the Lompoc Mural Society and one of the many local artists who's worked on the murals.
Thompson works closely with Vicki Andersen, an administrator for the Lompoc Mural Society. The pair work together to maintain existing murals and paint new ones.
Andersen painted one mural called, "The Lost Mission" back in 1996 and depicts the old Mission Vieja.
"Lompoc is very unique in that of all the cities that had missions we had two," Andersen said. "It was destroyed in 1812 by a huge earthquake that destroyed missions all the way down to San Juan Capistrano."
During her mural tours, Andersen explains the story behind each painting. One thing all the murals have in common is they depict a historical event that happened in Lompoc.
The mural program started back in 1988 by longtime resident Gene Stevens. Stevens had traveled to a small town in Canada where he found murals all over the town. It was a way to attract tourist to a place where jobs were scarce. Stevens brought the idea back to Lompoc and a year later the first mural was painted. It was a tribute to the flower industry.
"Lompoc used to be the flower seed capital of the world," Andersen said, "And this shows pictures of some of the landscape."
As the years went on, other murals followed depicting other parts of local life, such as the Chumash Indian nation.
Today, the murals are an international attraction bringing in tourists from all over the world.
The Lompoc Mural Society raises funds for these murals through grants and has just applied for a grant to restore "The Chumash Indians."
Andersen says while they wait for money to come in for new projects, their main goal now is to maintain the murals they already have.
The artwork is part of the fabric of Lompoc society, and gives the city a sense of identity and pride for both the artists and the community.