A colorful mosaic bench with a dragon motif is the centerpiece of Nimbus Arts’ new Dragon Imagination Station at the Creativity Corner at St. Helena Elementary School.
The Hundreds of Hands public art project, which honors the elementary school’s dragon mascot, was unveiled during the Nov. 4 Harvest Festival.
Tanya Pearson, principal of the elementary school, said the project accomplished two goals: bringing the community together and revitalizing and beautifying an underutilized space.
“We have had about 500 people working in some way on this project,” Pearson said.
The Creativity Corner, at the southwest corner of Oak Avenue and Adams Street, will serve as a fun and inviting workspace for the school community during school hours. Nimbus will also use the space periodically for outdoor public art activities when school is not in session.
“Everybody that touched it and worked on it was very passionate about it,” said Jamie Graff, executive director of Nimbus Arts.
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Public art projects like this one take on even greater importance in light of disasters like the October wildfires, Graff said.
“So many are doing such good to bring us all back to feeling safe and whole again,” she said. “(At Nimbus Arts) we wish to bring you together to celebrate our community’s ability to carry on and carry forward those who need to commune, to create, to share, to express, and to feel joy. And these types of projects do exactly that.”
The project was supported by a nonprofit grant from the city of St. Helena; a matching gift from the Rudd Family Foundation; grants from the Five Arts Fund, Freed Family Fund, Thacher Family Fund and the Napa Valley Community Foundation; Nimbus Arts’ patrons and donors; collaboration with the St. Helena Unified School District; and professional help from St. Helena Construction, which built the bench, R.E.B. Engineering Inc., which designed it, and Harold Smith & Son, which donated the concrete.
While only two feet tall, the intricate mosaic made for a challenging project, said Graff. She credited Anne Pentland, Sandra Cruz and Kerri Beeker for “working tirelessly on this backbreaking effort.”
Mayor Alan Galbraith said the project is a welcome addition to one of his favorite spots in town.
“You can normally find me at the coffee shop in the morning, staring at this corner,” said Galbraith. “Certainly with the new artwork here I plan to be a frequent visitor and I hope everyone else will too.”