Sep 27, 2017
By Mario Uribe
“It takes a village to answer the needs of individuals who find themselves chronically without a home.” The answer for some of Santa Rosa’s homeless population comes in the form of shelter at a former motel known as the Palms Inn, located on southern Santa Rosa Avenue. Today the community is thriving under the management of Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa, with social service and counseling offered to the residents. 66% of the current occupants are veterans. Art is now also a part of their lives.
On a visit to artist Mario Uribe’s studio in late 2016, the owner of the property Akash Kalia, asked how he could bring an art component to The Palms Inn. Uribe, who is the Creative Director of Artstart, suggested they meet at the facility; there the idea was born of painting a mural on the motel wall facing Highway 101 north of Todd Avenue, that would enhance the physical space, represent the residents who now call the Palms Inn home and bring awareness of the problem to the thousands of commuters who drive by on the freeway everyday. A resulting additional benefit was to involve some of the residents in the actual execution of the mural.
Uribe’s design for the mural takes the shape of a house filled with composite images of the faces of the residents. To reflect the number of military veterans living there, and at the request of the residents, the emblems of the five branches of the military decorate the doorway of the building. The smiling faces were constructed from photographs taken by an Artstart apprentice.
To fund the project, Artstart was able to obtain a Summer Arts Youth Program Grant (SAYPG) from Creative Sonoma, a division of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board to enable it to hire apprentice artists to work along side professional artists and volunteer Palms Inn residents to paint the mural. The mural is the beginning of an effort to bring art to a part of Santa Rosa that is sadly lacking of any form of public art. The new mural will be installed on Tuesday, September 12.
Artstart is the award-winning non-profit educational arts organization that has been providing job training and mentoring for Sonoma County youth, while creating public art for our community for almost 20 years. Artstart welcomes any donations earmarked for additional art projects for the residents of The Palms Inn.
For additional information, contact Suzanne Saucy, Program Coordinator for Artstart at 707-546-2345, email@example.com. Or Mario Uribe, Artstart Creative Director, 707-303-5925.
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