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Santa Rosa residents asked to add words to new public art coming to Old Courthouse Square

Santa Rosa is enlisting the help of locals in its latest public art project.

Old Courthouse Square in downtown Santa Rosa will soon be adorned with a new permanent public art piece and the city is seeking meaningful words and phrases from residents to be inscribed on the work.

A survey is now open for public responses, asking questions like what residents’ hopes are for the future of the city, what makes their communities unique and what values are important to Santa Rosa.

The words and phrases collected will be considered for incorporation into the art, a $300,000 piece called “Unum,” by Tucson-based public artist Blessing Hancock.

Some of the words used in the art will be translated into other languages spoken in Santa Rosa. Responses are accepted in any language.

“The goal of this public engagement is to provide an inclusive and accessible opportunity for the people of Santa Rosa to share what they value in their communities,” the city said in a news release.

Hancock will create a stainless steel piece with words cut into the material. It will be 12 feet tall and 15 feet in diameter and covered in LED lights.

“The signature component of this piece will be the collected responses through the survey that showcases the diversity within Santa Rosa that the community cherishes as core to the City’s identity,” according to the city.

“Unum,” derived from the Latin word for “oneness,” will be installed in the northern end of Old Courthouse Square, near the end of Mendocino Avenue in early 2022.

Hancock’s work was one of 148 submissions and five finalists in a selection process by the city’s Art in Public Places Committee. The piece was decided upon for Old Courthouse Square in December 2020.

The survey can be found at surveymonkey.com/r/ImagineArt.

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