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A collaborative mural at Elsie Allen High School in Santa Rosa, CA


the Elsie Allen Mural

"Weaving Cultures, the Elsie Allen Mural” was created by approximately 40 students  and two teachers from Elsie Allen High School, with the guidance of Hannah Day and other Artstart artists. The original design and concept (created by Angelica Salas de Torres and Kathryn Loomis and their students) was adapted by Artstart Lead Artist Hannah Day to fit the available wall space and to be executed as a distance learning mural, with major components painted off site by Elsie Allen students and Artstart artists.


The mural centers around a portrait of the school’s namesake, Elsie Allen, an activist and revered basket weaver of the Pomo tribe, who sits beneath a black oak flanked by the school’s mascot, the lobo. The tree is draped in a number of vibrant flags, symbolizing the about twenty different nationalities represented at the school. 


The backdrop of Taylor Mountain and Colgan creek were painted in May 2021, with the help of Elsie Allen students, over the course of a month. The landscape was painted in progressively lighter layers, the thickest layer being a bright underpainting of reds, pinks, and yellows, which show through the upper layers of naturalistic blues and greens. 


The large black oak tree, Elise Allen, and the Lobo, were all painted offsite, by Elise Allen students and Artstart artists, on mural fabric, and then adhered to the wall. These pieces have been painted with a similar method of slowly layering translucent, bright colors to create a kind of watercolor effect. The Tree was predominantly painted by Elise Allen Students Crystal Millan Mendoza and Jessenia Garcia, during Artstart’s summer session, the lobo and Elise Allen were painted by Angel Manansala, and Kimberly respectively. The flags that hang from the tree were also painted by Elsie Allen students, from home, during distance learning.

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