"Spirit of Healing"
© Joseph Luis Salinas 2022
OUR MAY 26, 2022 CEREMONY
Celebrating The Completion of Our Mural
For almost a year, the Pomo Project was focused on rising money for the “Spirit of Healing” wall mural at Elsie Allen high School. We worked with a tireless team from Artstart and the Elsie Allen High School Foundation. Artstart not only helped with fundraising and coordination of the project, but also provided the Lead Painters, volunteers, and student apprentices—some in an afterschool program at Artstart, and some from the art department at EAHS—who actually painted many of the highly detailed mural elements.
On May 26th, 2022, from 6-8 p.m., EAHS hosted an outdoor celebration event! There was a good-size and diverse crowd of interested people who attended, and we opened with brief words from various speakers. These speakers included the principal of EAHS, the Director of Artstart and the Lead Artist on this mural project, as well as from the artist who created the original vision for the mural. The art teacher, who was new to EAHS, shared his experience about working with the art students on campus. And, we heard from the Pomo Project team who were committed from the very beginning (in June of 2021) to see this project through to its completion.
With the Pomo Singers leading us, we all took a few moments to remember and honor the 19 students and 2 teachers who were slain at the Uvalde elementary school in Texas.
The evening closed in a meaningful way and with high energy as the Sonoma County Pomo Dancers and a local Aztec dance group gifted the audience with their styles of singing and dancing and drumming.
The event was followed up by a photo and article in the Press Democrat.
To get acquainted with how the Spirit of Healing mural became a reality,
read the story below as it unfolded...
For the past 9 months, the Pomo Project has been focused on raising money for this beautiful wallmural that will be painted at Elsie Allen High School in Santa Rosa.
In early March, we reached our fundraising goal of $16,000!
The public mural unveiling and celebration is now scheduled at EAHS on May 26th, from 6 to 8 p.m.
To complete this mural project we’ll need the participation of EAHS students, and Native and non-Native community members.The Pomo Project is proud to bring this mural to a school that already appreciates and honors the long history of Pomo culture. We hope the mural will bring additional attention to some of the contributions Pomo people have made to our shared communities.
EAHS was founded in 1994, and named after Elsie Allen, the world-renowned Pomo Basket Weaver and educator.The school represents and serves a diverse population, including Pomo, Coast Miwok, and other Native American students. Many of the administrators and staff have made a commitment to keeping the history of the community’s Indigenous people a daily presence on the campus.
The past few months have been inspiring.
Here’s how we made it this far:
The mural project was featured in a Press Democrat online article, and as of October 31st, 2021,the GoFundMe page raised over $2,300! We also have partners in the Elsie Allen High School Foundation and Artstart, who are working hard on getting grants. On Indigenous People’s Day, we were informed that the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake County pledged a generous gift of $5,000!
On November 9th, we found out that 2 grants - one from the City of Santa Rosa, and one from Sonoma County - have been awarded totaling an additional $4,500! That brings the current amount for the Pomo mural project to almost $12,000 - we are so grateful, and getting closer each week to achieving our goal.
As of Mid-December, our grant writing partners are working diligently to secure the balance needed to complete the mural. Cristina Larsen, a grant writer with the Elsie Allen High School Foundation, is awesome!
On December 14, Christine Cobaugh, Joseph Salinas and Rose Hammock met with the Director of Artstart, and the Lead Painter for the mural to discuss details about the images that will be included in the mural. We were also presented with a tentative schedule!
If the pandemic allows, EAHS students will begin painting parts of the mural in January.
This mural project is an intricate weaving of many people and logistical challenges, and the goal is to have it completed by the end of MAY! For our celebration event on the EAHS campus, we hope to include Pomo leaders, Dancers, and Elders. Native and non-Native community members will also be invited to attend and experience this beautiful mural that will enrich all of us for decades to come.
Joseph Luis Salinas, Artist
A Kashia Pomo, Joseph was inspired to create this mural as a visual representation of the history and culture of Pomo people in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County before outside Settlers came.
Pomo tribal territory extended from the ocean to inland mountains for thousands of years. Joseph’s illustration includes a glimpse into some tribal traditions, as well as the harmonious and sustainable relationship Pomo people had with the land. This relationship offered an abundance of food sources and materials for wellness and healing, ceremony, and everyday community life.
Joseph is an artist, muralist, and founder of the Pomo Dancers of Sonoma County. He was a staff person at SCIHP, where Joe helped teach young people about Pomo culture. He takes the dance group to as many venues each year as possible and coaches basketball. Joe created this mural 10 years ago and we are very excited that it is now our next Fundraiser Project.
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