Michelangelo, step aside.
A group of artists organized by Scotts Valley Artisans has plans to paint a 93-by-17-foot mural depicting scenes from the valley’s rich history on a wall in Scotts Valley.
But unlike the Sistine Chapel ceiling, which took Michelangelo more than four years to complete, a team of 50 to 75 Santa Cruz County artists will attempt to paint the mural in one day.
Is one day enough?
Organizer Dawn Teall, who owns the nonprofit Scotts Valley Artisans, hopes so.
“We’re going to find out,” she said “We’re going to find enough artists. We anticipate a good portion of the mural will be up (that day).”
The mural was designed by Ruth Poe of Scotts Valley, one of four artists who responded to a call from Teall asking for mural designs that reflected the theme of the movies in Scotts Valley. The five-panel mural will celebrate the roughly 125 movies filmed in the north end of the county during the first half of the 20th century.
It will cover a blank wall on the side of CineLux Scotts Valley in the Kings Village Shopping Center and face the entrance to Scotts Valley Artisans.
On the day of the event, July 28, there will be music, food and chairs set up in the parking lot near where the artists are working. Spectators are encouraged to watch while the mural goes up.
“We want everybody to feel like it’s their mural,” Teall said.
The massive painting is expected to be the first in an ongoing Scotts Valley Mural-in-a-Day project, Teall said.
The idea of murals in Scotts Valley was hatched by Scotts Valley Arts Commission member Claire Hodgin, who shared it with Teall, the owner of Scotts Valley Artisans, a nonprofit art center in Kings Village.
“We really want to turn Scotts Valley first, then other small towns in Santa Cruz County, into mural towns,” Teall said.
Teall is writing grant applications to pay for the program’s $8,500 budget and plans to make the call for artists to submit mural ideas twice each year for the next decade.
According to Scotts Valley Artisans’ Chief Financial Officer Pam Nielsen, the project’s budget includes the cost of paint, brushes and scaffolding and a $1,200 stipend for Poe.
“We see this as kind of a 10-year project,” Teall said. “That’s about 20 murals or more. With that, public art becomes a real focus at the center of the community.”
The project is patterned after the city of Lompoc’s mural project, which blossomed over the years, Teall said.
Lompoc has 33 murals, with more added to a map kept by the Lompoc Mural Society and sponsored by the local chamber of commerce.
“They are able to really pay decent stipends to muralists,” Teall said.
Nielsen said the $1,200 stipend offered to Poe was “on the extreme low end” of those typically given to muralists, noting that the Lompoc murals often carried a stipend of $15,000 or more. The organization hopes to be able to match that as the Scotts Valley project grows in popularity.
An art destination
Teall’s vision extends beyond covering the city’s blank walls with artwork.
“(Mural-in-a-day) is really part of a multipronged effort,” Teall said. “We are trying to bring public art into Santa Cruz County, starting with Scotts Valley, so we are recognized for the huge amount of talent in Santa Cruz County.”
She sees Santa Cruz County as a haven for artists even as the county’s art goes unnoticed by visitors. She often quotes a November survey by Atlantic magazine that found that Santa Cruz has the fifth most artists per capita among U.S. cities, after Santa Fe, N.M., San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.
“The resources are here,” Teall said. “We just need to start having everybody recognize that we are an art center here. Most artists can’t be sustained by our local population. The art destination model really needs to grow.”
The community is starting to get behind her vision. For the Mural-in-a-Day, donations have come in from all sides. Paul Gunsky, the owner of CineLux, made a donation for Poe’s stipend. The Ow family, which owns Kings Village, is preparing the wall to be painted, and McCown Painting will prime it. Damon Mercer will set up scaffolding for the artists. ACE-Scarborough will donate supplies, and Lenz Arts is working with a paint supplier to supply paint. Scotts Valley Arts Commission also donated to the project.
Volunteers and donations are still being accepted, Nielsen said.
For information: www.scottsvalleyartisans.com