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Paint the Town in Sebastopol!

SpiritBird

Or at least paint the pavement on McKinley Street...

The Sebastopol Village Building Convergence is a 10 day festival from September 12-21 that is a combination of public art project, sustainable living workshop and volunteer vacation/community development program.

The festivities begin Friday evening, September 12 with a kick-off bluegrass music performance by the Baker Family at the Sebastopol Grange.

What follows is a series of neighborhood building and art projects where locals and visitors are invited to roll up their sleeves and pitch in, for an hour, for a day…whatever you have time for. Think of it like an open studio tour, but instead of passively visiting artists' studios, you get to:

  • build a cob (mud-sculpted) bench for a rural bus stop
  • plant kale gardens for a charity that brings healthy organic food to the seriously ill
  • help children create a fairy village for the afternoon
  • paint murals on the street to beautify a run-down area of town

The McKinley Street murals, for instance, will be painted on the pavement of McKinley Street, starting up near the Plaza and working their way east through the Barlow (a new make-sell development in the industrial part of Sebastopol).

Cittaslow Sebastopol, a local non-profit supporting "slow lifestyle" in this West County arts community, decide to follow the lead of Portland, Oregon's City Repair Project and sponsor the murals as a way to create a stronger connection between the Barlow and the downtown on Main St.

This summer, Cittaslow Sebastopol put out a call for artists to submit design ideas and then held an Internet poll for the community to vote on their favorites. 

As a result, on September 13 and 14, McKinley Street will be closed to cars and a 33' rendition of Spirit Bird will be painted on the pavement beside the crosswalk at Petaluma Ave. The bird will be pointing east toward the Laguna.

A 40' version of Spirit Canine will be painted a block away at the crosswalk by Taylor Maid Coffee, facing west toward Spirit Bird.

Leaping fish, and coyote and deer tracks will be painted along the street, connecting the two murals and encouraging passersby to walk from one mural to the other.

All the painting will be done by volunteers in paint-by-number fashion over the September 13 and 14 weekend.

"This is a community building project in every way," says Cittaslow Sebastopol Co-Chair Tasha Beauchamp. "From the design, through to the painting, we have engaged Sebastopol residents to apply their artistic spirit and create the murals as a way strengthen the connection between downtown and the Barlow."

Music will be provided by Whitebear on Saturday and by the Sonoma County Taiko Drummers on Sunday.

Says McKinley Mural Project Coordinator, Marty Roberts, "These two days of painting will be so much fun!  Artists will sketch the outlines Saturday at noon. All the paint and supplies will be provided for volunteers. Food and live music will keep the energy going!"

Visitors are welcome to join in the activity. No artistic experience is required. Painting volunteers are encouraged to pre-register by emailing [email protected] . But you are also free to just show up and register on site.

Beyond the murals and building projects, Starhawk will speak on "Social Permaculture" at the Sebastopol Grange on Monday evening September 15.

Mark Lakeman from Portland, Oregon's City Repair Project will hold a workshop on Saturday September 20 about "Re-wilding the Commons," reclaiming neighborhood blocks for community good.

Other activities taking place during the 10-day festival include a tour of 26 year old intentional community La Tierra; Open Village share fairs of skills, food and ideas; a tour of "Our Front Yard", Sebastopol's Living History Garden; and a World Café discussion on community resilience.

Find the full schedule of events here.

Find more info about things to do, restaurants and hotel in Sonoma County.

Written by Tasha Beauchamp

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