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"Spirit of Healing" 

Original Artist, Joseph Salinas

A Kashia Pomo artist and founder of the Sonoma County Pomo Dancers, Joseph Salinas was a staff person at the Sonoma County Indian Health Project (SCIHP) in 2010. He helped teach young people about Pomo culture and was inspired to design sketches for a mural. Joseph’s purpose when creating this mural was to illustrate some of the history and culture of Pomo People in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County before outside Settlers came. Pomo tribal communities still extend from the Pacific Ocean to inland mountains, from Sonoma County to Lake County, as they have for thousands of years.

Celebration of the Completion
Mural at Elsie Allen High School, Santa Rosa on May 26, 2022

Artstart Mural Artists

Hannah Day
Our Lead Artist was born and raised in Sonoma County and returned after earning her MFA in printmaking. Internationally shown and collected, Hannah's professional practice includes botanical paintings, murals and mosaics.

Annalisa Sher
Our Assistant Lead Artist is from Petaluma, CA. Annalisa graduated with honors from California College of the Arts in 2013 with a degree in Painting and Drawing. Annalisa has created private mosaic and mural commissions all over the world.

The Dream: from Original Art to Pomo Project Art Mural
      Elsie Allen High School    599 Bellevue Ave Santa Rosa


Pomo Project is proud to bring the "Spirit of Healing" mural to Elsie Allen High School, a school that honors and appreciates the long history of Pomo culture. Elsie Allen HS was founded in 1994, and named after the world-renowned Pomo Basket Weaver and educator.


EAHS 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.

... grants & gifts


The Pomo Project fundraising process took almost 18 months. Our mural project was featured in a Press Democrat article in October, 2021, and the GoFundMe page we set up raised $2500. 


On Indigenous People’s Day, we were informed that the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake County pledged a generous donation of $5,000. We also partnered with the Elsie Allen High School Foundation, as well as Artstart, who worked tirelessly on getting grants, assisted with fundraising, coordinated the project, and provided our lead painters and volunteers. 


In December 2021, the Pomo Project mural team—including Rose Hammock, Joe Salinas,

and Christine Cobaugh—started meeting with

the Artstart Director, Jennifer Tatum, and staff,

to discuss details about the specific images to

be included in the mural. We had many conversation about the history and meaning

of each image, and set a schedule for each step

of painting and installing the mural, with a completion goal of Summer, 2022. This project was an intricate weaving of many people and logistical challenges. Artstart staff, volunteers, and EAHS students began painting parts of the mural in January, 2022. In March, 2022, we successfully reached our fundraising goal of $16,500!



... the process

On April 5th, the next step in the mural project began: Priming and painting the outdoor wall at Elsie Allen High School. Students and community members, including the Sonoma County Pomo Dancers, worked to prepare the space for the next stage, the landscape background.

Student apprentices painted many of the highly detailed mural elements. We had the participation of EAHS students, and Native and non-Native community members to complete the "Spirit of Healing" mural project.

The mural is approximately 14' high by 50 wide.

The individual creatures and people were made in different sizes depending on where they would be placed in the mural.


There were two main paint surfaces: First, the outdoor wall that was painted with the overall landscape as a background. Then, each animal and human were painted on specially prepared fabric. Bright colors were applied as a base and the muralists began the paintings as an outline based on a photograph. Layers of paint were applied, until slowly, the image emerged in its more realistic state.

Once paintings were completed, the fabric pieces were cut out, adhered to the wall and sealed for protection against the weather.

On May 26th, 2022, Elsie Allen HS hosted the outdoor celebration event. A large and diverse crowd of interested people attended. Opening words from various speakers, included the Elsie Allen's Principal, Artstart's Director, the school's Art Teacher, the Lead Mural Artist, Pomo Project leaders, and Joseph Salinas. The Sonoma County Pomo Dancers and a local Aztec dance group concluded the evening ceremony with beauty and meaning

It is our blessing and prayer that the history, strength and beauty of "The Spirit of Healing" mural, will bring additional attention to the contributions Pomo people have made to our shared communities.



We thank our contributing Pomo Community, Elsie Allen HS, Artstart, Hannah & Annalisa for their dedication and Joseph Salinas for the murals original vision. We could not have completed the mural without the hearts and talent of the many volunteer artists. Each of you brought our Dream to Reality.

                                    With much gratitude,

                                       Rose and Christine

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