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A feature article in the December 14, 2022 edition of The Press Democrat (right).

“It was never just a mural for me — it is so much more than that. It was an act of co-creation and place-making and standing beside these young people showing our support,” said Erika Lutz, one of three artists who helped spearhead the project. The trio also included local environmental muralist Alina Nuebel and youth arts educator Kaya Rose.

We wanted to bring students back to full-time learning in a way that not only addressed learning loss, but more importantly addressed their social emotional needs, and what better way to do that than through the arts,” said Georgia Ioakimedes, director of Alternative Education-Student Support Services at the Sonoma County Office of Education, which oversees Amarosa."

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Article in the September 25, 2022 edition of the Press Democrat: 

"Harper, who died last November, launched the festival 13 years ago after increased gang violence rattled the neighborhood, said Annette Arnold, project lead of the South Park Coalition. He wanted to bring a sense of community and safety to the community."

“'Everything (Harper) did, his entire existence, was for the community,' said Katie Watts-Whitaker, communications manager for CAPS Sonoma County, which had a booth at the festival. 'Everything that this event stands for is really him.'”

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A feature article in the November 15th, 2021 edition of The Press Democrat (right).

"One alumna, Rose Hammock, an enrolled Round Valley Indian tribal member who is of Pomo, Wailacki and Maidu descent, spoke to the audience at the unveiling. She is a member of Pomo Project, an organization that provides workshops and cultural teachings.

'Being a student here, a lot of people looked at me funny when I said I was Pomo, because they didn’t know what that was,' Hammock said to the crowd. 'Being able to have art like this is a beautiful opportunity to tell our story as Native and Indigenous people.'"

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A feature article in the September 16th, 2021 edition of The Press Democrat (left).

"Several animals featured in the mural, like the eagle, hawks and bears, also play a role in traditional Pomo culture, Hammock added.

'For me, when people see this mural, I want them to see this is a piece of who we are still,' Hammock said. 'When people talk about native people, they talk about them in the past. ... We’re proud of who we are. We’re proud of our culture.'"

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A feature article in the July 22nd, 2021 edition of The Press Democrat (right).

"'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."

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A feature article in the April 30th, 2021 edition of The Press Democrat (left).

"Youth report high levels of anxiety about their futures. How are we supporting students as they transition to the workforce or postsecondary education? What can we do to ensure graduates have housing they can afford? Can the business community create paid internships that enable school-aged youth to see potential career paths?


Many local school districts contract with youth-serving nonprofit agencies to bring services onto their campuses. Let’s continue making these investments and bring in new partnerships that get kids connected to expanded arts and environmental education programs — two fields deeply linked to healing from trauma."

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A feature article in the December 6, 2020 edition of The Press Democrat (below).

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A feature article in the August 11, 2020 edition of the Sonoma County Press Democrat (above).

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Read more about Artstart in this October 2, 2020 article featured in The Community Voice (below).

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On March 3, 2020 Artstart had the honor of being awarded a proclamation from the city of Santa Rosa declaring MARCH ARTSTART MONTH (above).


Linda Oritz, Liz Uribe, Jennifer Tatum,

Jayne Burns and Hannah Day.

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