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Frida GroupPortrait.jpg

Placemaking project funded by the City of Santa Rosa’s Small Business Support Program


Client: Mario Uribe and Café Frida Gallery


Lead Artists: Asherah Weiss + Elena Malpica-Vargas


Apprentices: Gabriela Casteñeda, Zoe Chisler, Noralyn Burrell, Natalie Gabriel


Timeline: began June 2023, completed August 2023

As part of the Santa Rosa Facade Upgrade Program, Artstart contracted with the city to create artwork for local businesses.  Cafe Frida applied for the grant and was paired with us to produce something facing South A Street in the SoFA district of Santa Rosa.  There were two goals: create some beauty at the entrance of the building, and make wayfinding signage for the occupants of the building.  Mario Uribe, co-owner of Cafe Frida (and former Artstart director) became our client.  


Asherah Weiss, current director of Artstart, along with Elena Malpica-Vargas came up with a nopal cactus as the concept, a nod to Frida Kahlo, the namesake of the cafe and her Mexican heritage.

During our July 2023 Teen Apprenticeship Session, apprentices helped support the creation of these large wooden cacti, practicing many skills including working as team, using a jigsaw, sanding, priming, taking guidance from professional artists and a client, and problem-solving as they went.


The pieces were installed in August 2023, and have now become a permanent fixture in the arts district of Santa Rosa.  People are loving the colorful, organic shapes of Los Nopales on a previously blank wall. 


Stop by 300 South A St and see it for yourself!

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