Raybee’s mosaic will be installed along the Highway 1 intersection of School Streets and Main Streets in Point Arena in August of 2013. Visitors from all over the world pass through this region of Mendocino County and the stretch of coastline around Point Arena is often described as one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in the United States.
In July 2012, a Point Arena Safe Routes to School Public Art Committee comprised of community leaders evaluated eighteen design entries from artists hailing from Arcata to Los Angeles and beyond. The panel followed a well-attended Community Exhibit of the entries at MOA gallery on July 30, 2012. The criteria used to evaluate the entries were: Local Theme – proposed design expresses the character and spirit of the local community; Work Quality – proposed work exhibits excellent quality of design and materials; Proposed design Engages Youth and integrates the elementary school with the City of Point Arena; Proposed design is created with Durable Materials that will withstand the rigors of an outdoor maritime environment; Relief Element – design incorporates 3D elements or mosaic; Native Landscape Incorporated – native plant or animal motif (ocean, plants, animals, etc.); Environment – design integrates with the immediate landscape (schools, sign, bench, old retaining wall); Design is welcoming to travelers, and artist is experienced working in the proposed medium. The committee unanimously determined that Raybee’s proposed design successfully addressed all of the committee’s design criteria. The centerpiece of Raybee’s design includes two-foot high mosaic lettering reading “Point Arena” (with the i in the shape of the Point Arena lighthouse) while depicting the sunset over the ocean. The design includes a 25-foot long mosaic wave motif flowing on the School Street wall. The mosaic will contain images of various fish, seaweed, anemones, sea-gulls, starfish and abalone. Additionally, a 25-foot long mosaic of local flora and fauna will meander down the Main Street wall. The Main Street mosaic will contain images of flowers, berries, newts, deer, mushrooms, blossoming manzanita and an oak with acorns. The use of handmade tiles will allow for inclusion of detail that is specific to the area and in size the mosaic will range from 8 inches to over a foot high. Raybee will work with the upper grades of Point Arena Elementary School as well as interested residents to make, glaze, and attach tiles for inclusion in the mosaic.
Arts Council executive director, Alyssum Wier, states: “Elizabeth Raybee has a great deal of experience creating community-built mosaics in Mendocino County and beyond. She has extensive experience working with students to create permanent mosaics in the schools and in recent years has installed two new works of community-built public art in Ukiah. I am confident that the community of Point Arena will be proud of the new mosaic and that the project will be completed in time to be installed seamlessly into the new wall.” Funding for the project comes from a portion of a Safe Routes to Schools grant received by the City of Point Arena for the construction of a new wall on the site. Raybee’s work replaces a student mural that will be lost when the old wall is demolished in order to enhance road and pedestrian safety.
When informed of the commission, Raybee stated, “I’m always excited about working with the community on projects because then it really belongs to them. I’m honored to be selected to work on my first Mendocino Coast commission.”
The ACMC endeavors to engage the communities of Mendocino County in one creative placemaking project per year and to inspire other communities to realize such projects as well. These projects are intended to engage local artists; to result in art in public places throughout Mendocino County, and to realize objectives set by community leaders.