The Murals of Santa Paula: Latest artwork to focus on Chumash culture

October 20, 1999
Santa Paula News
Described as perhaps the most exciting of The Murals of Santa Paula, the latest and third public artwork will reach far back in history to center on the Chumash, the Santa Clara River Valley's earliest settlers. According to Joyce Carlson, president of the Arts & Business Council of Santa Paula, the new mural will be painted on the west wall of Blanchard Community Library, facing 8th Street.Carlson discussed the new mural prior to a lecture by Ventura Public Art Supervisor Jessica Cusick, at an event held Oct. 7th to welcome the "Fine Art of Public Art in Santa Paula" exhibit at the Santa Paula Union Oil Museum.The BCL location for the latest mural is a "perfect site that will allow school children to learn about the Chumash, their legends, beliefs and way of life," said Carlson. "We are very enthusiastic as it promises to be perhaps our most exciting mural," that will portray a Chumash village of tule huts set within rolling hills and higher outcropings of the Sespe wilderness.Cultural achievements of the Chumash - including distinctive basketry and jewelry - as well as daily activities of life in the village will be portrayed by artist Ann Theirman of Santa Cruz.Theirman, who recently spent time in Santa Paula for research, is an "artist with a rich background in painting both people and landscapes," noted Carlson, and created a mural depicting the Ohlone Indians for the Museum of Natural History in Santa Cruz. Theirman was selected after a national search as were Art Mortimer of Santa Monica and Don Grey of Flagstaff, AZ., who created the first two historical murals in the downtown.The Arts & Business Council of Santa Paula is a non-profit group under the Santa Paula Community Fund and "Depends on the generosity of individuals and businesses to support The Murals of Santa Paula," Carlson said; response has been so supportive that the first two murals have been fully paid for and a nest egg for the third is growing.
Among those helping out The Murals of Santa Paula financially are Santa Clara Valley Bank and Limoneira Co. "It is most gratifying to have these 'votes of confidence' from these two major sponsors as well as from the community," added Carlson.In addition, limited signed editions of the prints of the first two murals are selling briskly at Mr. Nichols/John Nichols Gallery as well as Live Oak Gallery, providing a major source of funding for future murals.Carlson said the success of The Murals of Santa Paula is shared: "Committees are what make the whole thing work," and those members who work on everything from artist and site selection, subject/theme to promotions and development and finance, "have made this all possible. . ."

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