Discovering Windsor Through Art
The Town of Windsor is pleased to present the 2023 Discovering Windsor Through Art utility box painting program. This program aims to help beautify the community, enhancing the lives of residents as well as those who visit and work in the Town. This program is designed to grow and develop the talent from within to allow the community to discover each other through art.
Discovering Windsor Through Art is dedicated to exhibiting visual art outside the constraints of museums and galleries. To that end, we have identified 24 utility boxes that will be painted with rotating original art inspired by an annual theme.
In 2023, seven gifted artists were selected through a competitive process to paint designated utility boxes. The theme of “gratitude” is meant to express our positive feelings of appreciation for the people and places around us. Over the next few years, this program will grow to eventually all 24 boxes in Windsor will offer original art throughout town.
Special thanks goes out to Kelly-Moore Paints of Windsor for their sponsorship of the program.
Artist List & Map
Meet the Artists!
Paula Acevedo, 2021
Rachel Brooks, 2021
Kate Chuidian, 2021, 2022, 2023
Isabella Damberger-Sheldon, 2021
Sarah Friedman, 2022
Alexia Friedman, 2022
Meghan Gillies-Edwards, 2021
Marcy Greeley, 2023
Aida Herrera-Keehn, 2021
Judith Hong, 2023
Sophia Jacobs, 2023
Sophia Katosh, 2021
Captain Fred Leuenberger (Sonoma County Fire District), 2022
Rowena Mielock, 2022
Austin Parnow, 2023
Ella Pecharich, 2023
Amber Rankin, 2021, 2022, 2023
Allison Stangland, 2023
Click the tabs below to learn more about the Discovering Windsor Through Art artists and artwork
2021 Theme: Community Healing
|Aida Herrera-Keehn and Paula Castro are teachers at Cali Calmecac Language Academy. In addition to welcoming our children back into the classroom this spring, they somehow found time to bring this wonderful mural to life!|
Titled “Healing Thru Transformation”, their representation of the 2021 theme Community Healing, allows the community an interactive experience with art. Much like their day jobs, they are inspired to bring art into the lives of children: “Both Paula and I teach art to children, we love how children can often ‘find their voice without words’ through the visual arts."
Kate Chuidian is a sophomore at Windsor High School. Her mural “Blooming Amid Adversity” represents the 2021 theme Community Healing. The watering can is representative of how the community is growing and being cared for. The pair of hands represent the Windsor community as it holds up the Town. The poppies signify our Town and the petals are the hardships the Town has endured and left behind.
“I love going to museums to view different people’s artwork, so when I walk around places and am able to view art on a daily basis that I know means a lot to the artist who worked hard on them, it makes me happy."
Rachel Brooks is a Sonoma County painter and muralist. Her public art works can be seen both here and in San Francisco. Her mural titled Promise, Progress, Peace and Perseverance brings a feeling of hope through color, a sense of calm through clean shapes and lines and a sense of community and belonging through diversity.
Rachel describes her design representing the 2021 theme Community healing: “There are so many ways we need to grow, learn and heal. Whether from fires, from pandemic, from the state of our country, from how we treat each other. Everyone is suffering, yet together we can rise again."
This mural will be a welcome surprise as you travel along the southern edge of Town. At the intersection of Shiloh and Skylane, it is a bold reminder to us all to strive for Promise, Progress, Peace and Perseverance.
Meghan Gillies-Edwards is a local Windsor resident who is passionate about art, holding a belief that art itself is therapeutic. She feels that art IS the healing in the 2021 theme Community Healing, both in creating it as well as observing it. Meghan’s mural titled Creating, Growing, Healing – Together is her representation of that. The hands painting symbolize togetherness and diversity; the hands planting a garden symbolize new growth together; the poppies are a symbol of perseverance and the native oak tree represents courage, honor and safety.
“My intent is to show others, through my art, that accomplishing things together is the best way. As a community, we heal together through one another. We can grow together, create together, heal together; we are a community. We can get a lot more done if we do it together.”
Visit Meghan’s mural at the intersection of Windsor River Road and Market St.
Isabella Damberger-Sheldon is a student at Santa Rosa High School's Art Quest program. She is also an apprentice with ArtStart; a local non-profit which provides mentoring and work experience for youth ages 14-20, inspiring talented youth to become artists and communicate through the visual arts. Isabella’s mural The Power of Kindness can be seen at the entrance to the Windsor High School parking lot, at the corner of Jaguar Way. It depicts how community healing occurs through unity and kindness; through solidarity there will be strength.
“I wanted to create something that would show the power and warmth of kindness and that would offer an interesting and eye-catching view.”
Sophia Katosh is a student at Santa Rosa Junior College and an apprentice at ArtStart. Her mural Growth is a Process can be found at the intersection of Starr Rd and Old Redwood Hwy. This wrap around botanical and fauna illustration is inspired by the stages of the metamorphosis. This piece depicts the life cycles of a butterfly and is symbolic of our community taking the time to heal from natural disasters and the pandemic. It can be seen as an image providing hope that eventually we will be able to all take flight and move forward with life once again.
“Public art brings cities and towns to life and gives them a vibrant history for those to see for years to come.”
You can enjoy artist Amber Rankin’s mural “Coming Together”, at the busy intersection of Old Redwood Highway and Windsor River Road.
When asked how this design represents the theme Community Healing, the artist shared: “After a trying year of being separated both physically and divided emotionally and politically from many of our neighbors this design depicts our community coming together to enjoy each other’s company as well as project hope for the future of Windsor’s community as we grow together."
2022 Theme: Together Towards Tomorrow
“Together for a Brighter Future” is Windsor High School student Kate Chuidian's second utility box design. The design represents the theme with the hands linked together around the box, symbolizing community and togetherness, and the daffodils on the bottom symbolizing rebirth and new beginnings. This design shows how we, as a community, are going forward with the hope of a fresh start.
When asked about her approach to the project this year, she shared with us: “As a community, we have suffered many hardships, mainly the devastating wildfires, which have been hard to move on from; however, they have also brought us together. Windsor is closer than ever despite the challenges we faced, and I wanted to show how connected we are as a community through the linking of the hands around the electrical box in my design. The daffodils on the bottom show how, in the face of these hardships, we have continued to hope for the best, and work towards a brighter future; a better tomorrow. I wanted this design to have a simpler background (a blue gradient) so as to draw attention to the hands (or our community) and show how we remain strong in the face of adversity.”
"Together" is Amber Rankin's third art piece for the Town of Windsor! Her design depicts the different people of Windsor running together towards the future. The characters are eager to bring each other along into the future which is depicted by lanterns and hot air balloons. And they also bring the plants along as we continue to care for the environment and our planet. The lighted lanterns and the end of the journey is a symbol of peace and hope. The entire image is surrounded by a rainbow, the symbol of inclusion.
Amber feels that public art not only helps to express the values and personality of the Town and space it occupies, but also brings pride to the Town and joy to those who live and visit here. Public art transforms a space normally unused or unnoticed into something that brings joy, interest and excitement to anyone who passes by. It is a way for residents to share what is important to them, their hopes for the future and how they see their community or what their community could be.
Sarah and Alexia Friedman are a dynamic mother-daughter artist team. Their design “Connect 4” represents our community coming together to better the planet. It is inspired by the playful but powerful art of Keith Haring and depicts a world of connection and love in everyday life. The angels represent those we have lost who are still with us in spirit.
When asked about their approach to the project, they shared: “Our vision is to lift people up and make them smile when they see our artwork. We hope to inspire people to remember that small moments of human connection are important, that taking care of each other and ourselves is important. Lastly, taking care of our planet is important.” They feel public art is an opportunity to share a message with the community by putting meaning into the artwork and they are excited to share this message of connection and love with Windsor.
Rowena Mielock is a Windsor High School graduate, heading to UC Santa Cruz. Her design “The Future Could Go Both Ways” represents two possible futures: one where we silence our perspectives and the other where we can appreciate them and move forward; valuing everyone on earth.
This “eye” catching design includes deep symbolism to portray the artist's message. Blue and black spirals represent a continuous process, never ending, the future for years to come; thought and speech bubbles represent the move forward to either utopia or dystopia, sharing the need to talk and reflect; blue, striped hands, holding, appreciating, cherishing, listening to all types of people; red hands representing silencing, hiding and controlling oppression; and the eyes to represent perspective, experience and individual voices.
Fred Leuenberger is a Captain with the Sonoma County Fire District (SCFD). It is fitting that he designed and painted the final box in front of the SCFD Station #1. His design “When I Grow Up….” Provides a whimsical visual attraction to the station and the new drought and firewise demonstration garden which is coming soon in this same location!
When asked about his design, Captain Leuenberger shared, “Children are the future, let’s make sure they have a beautiful one to enjoy! Providing our community a garden that showcases responsible landscaping in our ever changing environment and climate is critical education for their future and ours!” SCFD is a strong partner with the Town of Windsor, providing fire and public safety services not only to Windsor residents, but Countywide. We look forward to enjoying the public art along with the new demonstration garden!
2023 Theme: Gratitude
Marcy Greeley is a local artist who was excited to take part in the program for the first time. Her design “Every Day is a Gift” pays tribute to the beautiful redwing blackbird that populated the east Windsor area when the Southern Pomo inhabited the land. It also highlights the importance of the tan, black and coast live oak acorns which were of vital importance to their community.When asked about her vision and intent for the project Marcy offered: “I am grateful for the variety of wildlife that over the years continue to remind us of, and provide us with vital connections to Mother Earth in our daily lives. We’ve all experienced challenges and disappointments in life, and in my low times, I’m reminded of what my mother used to say, “No matter how hard things seem to be, try your best to find something to be grateful for - every day!”
Allison Stangland is a local Windsor artist who will be continuing her education at BYU – Idaho this Fall. Her design “Grateful Connections” features many of the natural beauties around us that she is grateful for. There are depictions of the Sonoma County mountain ranges, oak trees, wildflowers a beautiful sunrise and of course, a quail.
This was Allison’s first time working on the project and she was happy to share her art with the community. She provided that “Public art is important to me for many reasons. It makes people happy when they see artwork in the streets – it’s accessible to all. It brightens up boring areas, it draws attention to places and ideas. It fulfills me personally to see people impacted by my art.”
Austin Parnow is a local Windsor artist and photographer who was looking forward to displaying art to the public and working with his sister Megan on the utility box. His design “The Forest Queen” highlights a Bigleaf Maple tree, such as the one found on the Big Leaf Trail in Shiloh Regional Park. The design highlights the beautiful colors and changes the tree goes through for each of the seasons. His design connected with the theme by focusing on “Biophilia- the love of living things and gratitude we locally have for such opportunities to surround ourselves with nature.”
When approaching the design, Austin expressed his appreciation about the project and the Town’s use of art in the landscapes. His process began with identifying the aesthetic problems of the utility boxes and finding solutions. He also offered “the piece tells the story of the transitions the tree undergoes throughout the year. Each of the four sides depicts a season, with autumn selected for the front due to the colorful leaves as well as the return of green moss on the bark. Just as one season slowly transitions to the next in nature, the piece slowly transitions from one season to the next as well, rather than distinct changes at the edges.”
Sophia Jacobs and Ella Pecharich are art enthusiast students at Windsor High School. Their design “Painting a Mural” depicts people coming together to paint a redwood forest. Touching on the theme, the artists mentioned “we are grateful for lots of things but perhaps most importantly we are grateful for our community and the incredible natural spaces around us. In order to encompass this, our painting shows people getting together and creating a piece of public art that expresses their gratitude for those natural spaces.”When approaching the project, they also included that “our goal with this project was to show people from a diverse variety of backgrounds gathered to enjoy art together. We believe that art is one of the most important ways humans express themselves and through this mural, we ourselves are expressing our love and passion for art, nature, and community.”
Judith Hong found refuge in Windsor after losing her home in the 2017 Tubbs fire. During her time in Windsor she fell in love with, amongst other things, our local mascot the quail! Her design “In-Quail and Ex-Quail Gratitude” put the focal point on our beloved bird while incorporating growing vines, sunflowers, positive statements, and a cheery blue sky. Her art touched on elements that” are a reminder of gratitude for things that are beautiful and growing even when there is destruction.”
When Judith was bringing her inspiration to life her “vision is to capture the delightful quail in a whimsical way, while capturing the importance of gratitude. Gratitude is a way of thinking and being. It is also something that can be developed and grown just like a flower. The more you nurture it the larger it gets.”
|Kate Chuidian is a Windsor local who completed her third box in this program! Kate also aided the program by recommending the locations to be painted for 2023. Her design “Rooted in Gratitude” represents the theme with yellow lilies symbolizing thankfulness, tree roots to show people’s appreciation for the Town they live in, and hands holding a sapling to represent a new generation who will care for the Earth. |
When asked about her approach to the project this year, she shared with us: “For this project, I wanted to convey the beauty of nature and how I am grateful to live in a world that has found ways to coexist with the natural world around us. Lately, I've been appreciating the beauty of our Town and how thankful I am to live here, and I wanted to show my gratitude in this piece. As a member of Generation Z, I know that we will be part of the group of people who fight to save our earth from the damages climate change has caused."
Amber Rankin has contributed to numerous art projects around the Town of Windsor. You may have spotted her distinctive comic style on other utility boxes or on the Charlie Brown statue on the Town Green. Amber integrated local destinations such as the Town Green and Foothill Regional Park, people and animals to express her gratitude for our beautiful Town.When thinking on the theme and her philosophy on public art she offered “When I think of Windsor, I think of family. I feel grateful to have grown up in a town with so many beautiful spaces to enjoy and a vibrant community. Public art is incredibly important to communities - it not only beautifies the space but also gives residents a sense of pride in their cities.”