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News Review
Mission Hill Students Install Public Art on the Laurel Street Bridge
Posted Date: 5/14/2013 4:00 PM

On May 18, 2013 Mission Hill Middle School teacher and public artist Kathleen Crocetti will begin installing the third in a series of mosaic public art projects on bridges spanning the San Lorenzo River.

The multi-year project is a collaboration between Crocetti, the City of Santa Cruz Economic Development and Public Works Departments, Mission Hill Middle School and many community sponsors.

“The San Lorenzo River is the heart of our City,” says Kathleen Crocetti. “In 2010 I was interested in finding a way for students to engage in public art projects that would celebrate the river and activate pedestrian activity along the riverway. Working with the City Arts program we pinpointed the bridge light bases, which have insets that are a natural mosaic framing device.”

In addition to beautifying the bridges, the project offers students an avenue for meaningful civic engagement. The mosaics are designed, fabricated and installed by students around a site-based theme. The first project on the Water Street Bridge was titled “Animals and Plants of the San Lorenzo River Watershed” and completed in 2011. The Soquel Bridge mosaics were designed around a theme of local agriculture, a nod to the nearby Downtown Farmer’s Market and the area’s rich agricultural roots. The Laurel Street Bridge’s proximity to the bay lends itself to this year’s theme “Pacific Ocean Marine Life”.

“This project is an excellent model for civic enhancements which utilize community goodwill, activate local talent and local giving, engage youth in civic projects, and work successfully with City staff in fulfilling civic goals.” says Santa Cruz mayor Hilary Bryant.

“The City is committed to improvements along the riverway,” said Economic Development Director Bonnie Lipscomb, whose department managed the project for the City. “In context with the new Warrior’s Stadium, pedestrian bridge, Tannery Arts Center and increased security presence along the levee, this project has been a fun and cost-effective beautification effort. The mosaics integrate successfully with existing infrastructure, tell a site-specific story and create a unique experience for pedestrians.”

This year’s project was funded by a grant from the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County and the City of Santa Cruz, along with private in-kind donations. Installation will occur May 18 – 22, and a reception for the student artists at the site is scheduled for Friday, May 31 at 5pm.

For more information contact Crystal Birns.

High-resolution photos are available upon request.