Pilot Public Art Advisory Group
On February 16, 2021 the City Council approved an ordinance amendment that allowed for the piloting of a new Public Art Advisory Group. This new Advisory Group consists of local community arts representatives, a member each of the Planning Commission and the Design Review Board, and a representative who has diversity, equity & inclusion expertise who will review all public art projects in San Rafael for the next year. After one year, staff will return to Council with an update and recommend actions.
The Advisory Group will hold public meetings as necessary when art projects are proposed. Currently the City is working with two art projects that have shared their intent to present a proposal to the Advisory Group. More information regarding these two community projects can be found below.
The Canal Arts Initiative
The Canal Arts Initiative is a group of local volunteers and both arts organizations and community-based organizations that serve the Canal neighborhood. The goal of the Initiative centers around a three-pronged mission:
- First, with City support, an alliance of businesses and building owners, community organizations, citizens and artists bring visible transformation to the Canal, expressing its colorful mix of cultures.
- Promote the use of color on buildings. A wall or an entire building, simply repainted with a lively palette, can make an engaging difference at little cost.
- A public art program for the Canal would include participatory education elements throughout its conception and creation, with an emphasis on history and meaning, and reflection on its impact.
The group has secured a grant from the California Arts Council to achieve the first major installation of color and art in Canal: the installation of a large, colorful mural in the Canal neighborhood.
The group identified the office building at 3301 Kerner as a perfect location for the mural, as the visible entryway into the neighborhood. The group has been working extensively with the Canal community, including collaborating with Canal Alliance, as well as local arts organizations listed above to ensure the artistic concept for the mural is a community-driven process.
The project was completed in late July, 2021 and an unveiling ceremony was held on July 31st.
San Rafael Social Justice Community Art Group
The San Rafael Social Justice Community Art Group came together in fall 2020 in response to the chalk art mural created at the intersection of Manuel T. Freitas Parkway and Las Gallinas Avenue over the summer of 2020. The chalk mural, honoring the life of Breonna Taylor, was removed per City policy to keep public property clear of markings. The group is comprised of 11 arts and community members who live and work in San Rafael. In addition, the group partnered with Youth in Arts, a San Rafael based non-profit to provide expertise, fundraising, and a youth component to the project. The project’s focus is on creating art that includes a positive message to celebrate the core themes of JEDI – Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion through the lens of a Marin-based black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) perspective.
In addition, the group aims to demonstrate that art is a representation of the collective community, and that the community can come together to heal, learn, and feel hope and unity. To that end, the creation of the art piece itself proposes to have an educational and awareness building experience “baked in” for the community.
The group identified Arbor Park, a small parkette at the southwest corner of the intersection of Manuel T. Freitas Parkway and Las Gallinas Avenue as a potential location for the artwork. This location is close in proximity to the chalk art mural and is owned by the City of San Rafael.
Mural designed and painted by "C Street: Untitled" and approved by the City Council on August 16, 2021
Contact the San Rafael Community Art Group
This is a community led project and we want to hear from you. Please provide comments, feedback or inquiries to SRcommunityart@gmail.com