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Mill Valley is seeking local art to adorn the Depot Plaza.
In its second year, the city’s rotating art program features two-dimensional pieces displayed in the central Depot Plaza for about three months. The plaza, once the site of a train station, is situated near redwood groves and is a central gathering place in the city.
The program is run by the Mill Valley Arts Commission and the city’s Arts and Recreation department. Sean McGrew, arts and recreation director, said the effort facilitates a community bond.
“It allows everyone to enjoy art. There’s no fee associated with it, no expectations,” he said. “It’s something special.”
McGrew said the program was launched in March 2021 with a hyperrealistic painting by Oakland-based artist Valentin Popov called “From… To…”
“The first year had some very established artists give that first inauguration a real kick off,” McGrew said. “We’re always looking to create options for aspiring artists.”
The entries must be an original design, suitable for all ages, prepared to be displayed outdoors and meet dimensions of 4 feet by 8 feet. Student artists are strongly encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to artists who live or work in Mill Valley.
The art will be featured at The Depot Café and Bookstore in downtown Mill Valley, located on the plaza, and will be within one of the existing arches.
Entries are due by Jan. 9. Apply online at bit.ly/3I14umx. Each chosen artist will also receive a $500 stipend from the Mill Valley Arts Commission.
Nancy Elkus, who is on the city’s arts commission, said the program was one of many efforts by the city to initiate public art projects. She said she hoped the submissions were influential and would made an impact.
“We really wanted to bring some of our resources for the people in Mill Valley and bring it to the forefront,” she said. “As a pilot program it’s been great. The reception has been really incredible.”
The rotating art in the plaza is among the city’s public art efforts, which includes public benches, art boxes and sculpture.
David Dubin, an outreach and marketing management analyst with the city’s arts and recreation department, said the goal of the rotating art was to “enhance the beauty and vibrancy of Mill Valley, showcase artists and their work to a broader segment of the community, and bring art to unexpected places.”
“The plaza, over its long history, has become a natural gathering place in Mill Valley for artists, families, tourists and more. The addition of even the small piece of art in the plaza only enhances the overall experience,” Dubin said.
Mill Valley pursues public art in Depot Plaza
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