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Ukiah Launches ‘Fifty in Five’ Initiative to Install Fifty Pieces of Public Art in Downtown

The following is a press release issued by the City of Ukiah

The Velvet Bandit’s homespun street art in Hopland [Picture by Matt LaFever]

The City of Ukiah’s Community Services department is launching a “Fifty in Five” public art campaign with a goal to place fifty pieces of public art by the end of 2025. The project is inspired by the completion of the downtown streetscape and long-standing community interest in beautification through public art. In addition to public art, the City is planning a renovation of Alex Thomas Plaza including the installation of an outdoor temporary art gallery. 

The City’s Community Services team in collaboration with the Arts Council of Mendocino County and an ad hoc steering committee set up a website to inform the public and track the project’s progress at www.ukiahpublicart.org The Fifty in Five steering committee includes City of Ukiah staff, local artists and Alyssum Wier of the Arts Council. The Steering Committee is seeking parties interested in contributing art or who have a location suitable for a mural or other art forms. 

“Fifty pieces of art is an ambitious goal,” stated Alyssum Wier of the Mendocino Arts Council. “We’ll need to average twelve pieces per year, but we’re off to a great start with more than a dozen in place or in progress so far this year.” 

All art forms will be considered with one of the first pieces being a “Sound Garden” interactive sculpture designed by Spencer Brewer located on the Great Redwood Trail. The team is also working with Ukiah Poet Laureate Melissa Eleftherion-Carr on a Poetry Box project. 

The group does expect murals to be the most common installation. “We hope to identify property owners who are willing to allow muralists to use their buildings for murals,” said Marianne Davison of the City of Ukiah’s Community Services team. “At this point we don’t have a consistent funding stream, but volunteers raised two thousand dollars for a Monarch Mural that is part of a project initiated by Mayor Juan Orozco.” The Mayor’s Monarch Mural will be part of the Alex Thomas Plaza restoration. The committee is preparing guidelines and expects to put out a call for artist submissions in the next few weeks. 

For more information call 463-6231 or email recreation@cityofukiah.com

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