Wild Lemon

painting of a crying boy in black and white titled Boy by Manuel Guisa
"Boy" by artist Manuel Guisa

By Gabbie Corral |Staff Writer|

The Wild Lemon Project draws awareness to San Bernardino native writers and artists.

A local non-profit organization, the Wild Lemon Project welcomed students and San Bernardino County residents to its kickoff night held on Friday, April 13 at the National Orange Show Art Gallery.

Its mission is “to support and propagate love for reading, writing and for creating and experiencing art [throughout the San Bernardino Valley],” states wildlemonproject.org.

The event displayed the artwork of local artists from the Inland Empire Latino Artists Association, featuring paintings, sculptures and photographs. There was also poetry readings by published poets Chad Sweeney and Juan Delgado, faculty members at CSUSB.

“A lot of my poems have to do with survival and perseverance,” said Delgado. “San Bernardino is often viewed as downtrodden, but my poems are all about celebrating this place and how it is still thriving.”

The art pieces and literary works were all created and inspired by local aspects of San Bernardino and its surroundings.

According to Jessica Wyland, founder of the Wild Lemon Project, she was inspired to name her organization after the wild lemon tree, which she feels symbolizes Southern California.

“Agriculture that thrives in a certain place also thrives similarly with people from a certain place,” said Wyland. “The wild lemon tree is an immigrant, like we all are, and most of the orange groves in Southern California are grafted onto the root of a wild lemon stock.”

Juan Delgado read a few of his favorite poems from his soon-to-be published book titled “Lavish Weeds,” which will be printed sometime in October of this year.

Delgado is not only a published poet, but he is also a CSUSB alumnus and a current CSUSB English professor.

His poetry talks about local plants, animals, food and landmarks that he grew up with in the Inland Empire as a Latino. “My style is focused on narrative poetry,” said Delgado.

Delgado is inspired by his surroundings everyday and is constantly finding things to write poems about.

“I used to ride my bike to CSUSB,” said Delgado. “And every day I would see an art mural on 40th Street that became invisible after awhile and more like part of the landscape than a piece of art, so I wrote a poem about it.”

It is clear that the poets and artists from the event are ready to make an artistic statement in the Inland Empire and represent our community.

“It’s inspiring to know that people from our area are so passionate about the fine arts,” said local Chelsea Morris.

The Wild Lemon Project is always looking for fellow lovers of literature and art. Members have been working vigorously on preparing a magazine that will highlight local talent.

Currently, the Project is looking for poetry submissions inspired by the San Bernardino area for its contest, entitled “A Sense of Place”. The deadline is May 1 and information regarding how to submit can be viewed at wildlemonproject.org.

The Wild Lemon Project hopes you submit your artwork and literature even if you are not interested in the competition so that the artwork of San Bernardino can continue to grow.