New mural brings wildflowers, joy to Santa Rosa neighborhood

The project is the culmination of months of work and has involved nearly 600 people.|

Poppies, golden banner, lupine and yarrow are taking over the 25-foot-tall exterior wall of an industrial building in a southwest Santa Rosa neighborhood.

A team of volunteers, student apprentices and Artstart artists are creating a mural of native wildflowers and bees on the side of a building belonging to recycling and waste management company Recology Sonoma Marin at 3400 Standish Avenue.

The project is the culmination of months of work that began in October and has involved nearly 600 people.

“There’s something really special about working with the community and having so many hands involved in the creation of this mural,” said Artstart Creative Director Jennifer Tatum.

Based in Santa Rosa, Artstart creates publicly and privately commissioned art while mentoring young artists.

At the invitation of Fred Stemmler, general manager at Recology, Artstart brought in lead artists Justin Ringlein and Alina Nuebel to help select a design and teach employees to paint the mural’s various elements.

The result is a roughly 80-foot-wide celebration of nature.

Against the building’s corrugated, gray exterior, the flowers’ rich purples, blues, oranges and yellows bring a vibrant splash to Recology’s industrial neighborhood. Careful shadowing makes the flowers appear to sway.

“The number of times we’ve been honked at tells me how much people love what we’re doing,” Nuebel said. “Art just brings so much life and joy to a space.”

Each flower, uniquely painted by Recology employees at home during the pandemic, was printed onto a special type of fabric that volunteers and apprentices have spent the past weeks applying directly to the mural wall.

Next week, the team of artists will add the finishing touches, including bees painted by students at nearby Elsie Allen High School.

“It was a huge collaboration,” Tatum said as she watched the area’s local artists bring the project together.

You can reach Staff Writer Emma Murphy at 707-521-5228 or emma.murphy@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @MurphReports.

Emma Murphy

County government, politics reporter

The decisions of Sonoma County’s elected leaders and those running county government departments impact people’s lives in real, direct ways. Your local leaders are responsible for managing the county’s finances, advocating for support at the state and federal levels, adopting policies on public health, housing and business — to name a few — and leading emergency response and recovery.
As The Press Democrat’s county government and politics reporter, my job is to spotlight their work and track the outcomes.

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