Lauren Sinnott has been chosen for a mural to be installed on the North-facing wall of the Conference Center on School Street.
This selection represents a culmination of the efforts of many community members and organizations. Last year, members of the public were invited to share their vision for public art in Ukiah following the unanimous adoption of the City of Ukiah’s Public Art Policy. The themes expressed in those public forums became the criteria for a Call to Artists. A dozen artists submitted proposals, and a committee of community representatives evaluated them based on what members of the public had said they want to see expressed through public art, as well as on the experience and qualifications of the artists. Sinnott recently completed an interior mural at the Community Foundation of Mendocino County’s offices in Ukiah.
“Every public art project offers its own unique set of challenges. Art is so subjective that for every person who would like a line to be darker, there will be a person who wants that line to be lighter—or a different color altogether!” laughs the Arts Council Executive Director Alyssum Wier. “So we never allow our discussions of public art proposals to stray into art critique. Instead, we invite the community to tell us what they want to see, then distill their input into the application criteria. Artists apply and provide samples of past work so that we knew they are qualified to carry out the commission. Then the committee selects highly qualified artists to best meet the publicly expressed criteria. The artists are then invited to refine their designs, which then go to the City as Offers of Public Artwork. Once the City approves the offer, the painting can begin,” states Wier. “And that’s where we are in the process now: about to submit the formal offers to the City.”
Committee member Laura Fogg and other members of the committee were impressed with the number and the inspirations of the experienced local muralists who offered their services. As Fogg expressed it, “I want to find a way to fund every one of these proposals!”
Members of the Ukiah Mural Review Committee included: Laura Fogg, Tom Liden, Tom Johnsen, Maureen Mulheren, Katie Gibbs, and Alyssum Wier, together representing business, government, arts, and nonprofits.
The Arts Council is concurrently planning a mural for the interior courtyard of Juvenile Hall.