Santa Rosa, Calif. – The City of Santa Rosa Public Art Program is excited to announce the approved artist for the permanent Courthouse Square public art project Imagine Art in Old Courthouse Square. Blessing Hancock, one of five finalists invited to submit a design, was approved for her work “Unum” by the City of Santa Rosa Art in Public Places Committee on Monday, following a meticulous selection process.
“Unum will bring the community together,” said Committee Chair Lisa Puentes, “not only through the process to generate words incorporated into the design, but as a gathering place, a beacon for connecting with each other.”
Once installed, “Unum” will be located at the north end of Old Courthouse Square at the terminus of Mendocino Avenue.
Blessing Hancock’s “Unum” (Latin for ‘oneness or together’) places emphasis on innovation, diversity, and engagement as leading values of Santa Rosa. Inspired by the unified Old Courthouse Square, the sculpture embraces themes of welcoming and inspiration, while relaying the Santa Rosa values of innovation and cultural inclusivity through its integral text, which will be collected through a community engagement process. During the day, the sculpture casts shadows of the words onto the square using sunlight, and in the early morning and evening hours, it will be illuminated by LED light fixtures mounted within the sculpture creating a soft, diffused glow within the structure’s form. The sculpture will be approximately 12-feet high and 15-feet diameter and fabricated out of water jet cut stainless steel and LED lights.
About Blessing Hancock
Blessing Hancock is a Tucson, Ariz., artist who focuses on site specific sculpture, using light to invigorate and enliven spaces and providing opportunities for people to engage through sight, touch and movement. She has years of experience installing and creating innovate public spaces in Calgary, Denver, Portland, San Antonio, Orlando, and Palo Alto, among others, and has extensive experience working with city agencies. Community engagement is an essential component of Blessing’s work, and often works with community groups.
About Imagine Art in Old Courthouse Square
The Public Art Program issued a Request for Qualifications seeking an artist or team of artists to design, fabricate and install site-specific public art at the north end of Old Courthouse Square which is the terminus of Mendocino Avenue in Downtown Santa Rosa. The Public Art Program received over 140 submissions from artists across the country. A selection panel was formed representing arts professionals, downtown business and property owners, downtown residents, and the Art in Public Places Committee. After a brief pause due to COVID-19 and related health orders, the project has resumed with a slightly altered timeline with the final installation taking place in early 2022.
Description of Project Opportunity: Imagine Art in Old Courthouse Square
The goal of this completed project is to provide the entire Santa Rosa community with a prominent artistic symbol that reflects the uniquely Santa Rosa values of innovation and cultural inclusivity. This art installation should inspire people living in, and visiting, the city to reflect on what is special about the community and encourage them to gather downtown to experience it first-hand.
Old Courthouse Square is a central public plaza in the heart of downtown Santa Rosa. The approved Old Courthouse Square Master Plan identifies an area along 4th Street, at the terminus of Mendocino Avenue, to be dedicated to public art. The square is seen by many as the heart of the downtown and even of the city and is regularly used for a variety of special events and community gatherings. The public art installation should take into account the existing and proposed future amenities at the square, including landscaping, hardscape, lighting and other works of temporary and permanent public art.
The total available funding for the project is $280,000 (all inclusive – design and construction) and comes from the City of Santa Rosa Public Art Fund.