Internationally recognized mosaic artist, Elizabeth Raybee, works with the Arts Council of Mendocino County, the City of Ukiah, NCO EPIC, and Listos California to create a mosaic mural project promoting hope and emergency preparedness to Downtown Ukiah and Mendocino County residents.
Photo: Mendocino County mosaic artist Elizabeth Raybee and her assistants Nancy Bertsch and Will Cutlip are pictured working socially-distanced to grout one of two mushroom panels for one segment of the EPIC mosaic installation project.
UKIAH — Famous Ukiah local artist, Elizabeth Raybee, has been commissioned by the Arts Council of Mendocino County in partnership with the City of Ukiah, NCO EPIC, and Listos California to give life to a project that exists at an unusual intersection — public art and disaster preparedness education.
The mosaics are intended for long-term installation along the perimeter of Alex Thomas Plaza in Ukiah. The project itself is focused on translating Listos California’s core disaster preparedness concepts into compelling and accessible images.
“The past four years have taught us that anything can happen — wildfires, pandemics, earthquakes, floods, power shut-offs — and the more prepared we are at the local and individual level, the better we will be able to navigate these and other challenges,” says Alyssum Wier, Executive Director of the Arts Council of Mendocino County.
The pieces will be installed onto donated trash and recycle receptacles provided by the City of Ukiah. The intended goal of this project will be to not only beautify an existing public space but to also improve the ecological footprint through the reduction of litter, ultimately improving the quality of the surrounding environment.
Despite the challenges of adapting to the on-going pandemic, notes from the 2017 public input process regarding themes in public art projects were taken into consideration during the design of these mosaic installations. As a result, community consensus has guided the development of images of local life portrayed in the new downtown mosaics.
“These murals celebrate Mendocino and show that preparedness is possible for everyone,” says Megan Watson, Mendocino County Program Coordinator of NCO EPIC, an abbreviation for North Coast Opportunities – Emergency Preparedness in Communities. “We can all get ready by following these simple and low- to no-cost 5 steps of emergency preparedness: (1) stay informed and sign up for alerts, (2) prepare a plan to protect your people, (3) be ready to evacuate with the things you need, (4) make arrangements to be safe at home in case you can’t leave, and (5) help your friends and neighbors get ready.”
Raybee aims to create pieces that not only raise awareness of the vital importance of being prepared for emergencies but also remind people of the surrounding beauty and diversity of Mendocino County. “I want to come up with images that will remind local folks of the beauty of life and attract visitors to our area…when that sort of activity is safe again!” says Raybee. She plans to include depictions of local wildlife, parks, arts and the incorporation of Native Pomo rituals and UkiaHaiku into her work.
These mosaic installations are projected for debut late-January of this year. Given the circumstances of the pandemic, there will not be a grand unveiling ceremony. Instead, everyone in the community will be welcome to enjoy the project within socially distanced groups. Residents are encouraged to find the NCO EPIC table near the mosaic installations Saturday, January 30th, 2021 from 10am-1pm as part of the Ukiah Farmers Market. NCO EPIC will be providing free face masks and Disaster Ready Guides to passersby until supplies last to promote socially distanced viewing.
For inquiries regarding the EPIC mosaic project, please contact Alyssum Wier, Executive Director at Arts Council of Mendocino County by email at firstname.lastname@example.org