Susan Shelton Logo
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Members of the community painted the border tiles

Before and after view of community-member-painted tiles

Artist's Statement

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“From the Ground Up”


The aerial view of our agricultural landscape is an iconic and captivating image that resonates deeply within me, as it does for many of us who are fortunate enough to live in a region that grows food. When I glimpse the landscape from a plane, returning from places beautiful and exotic, or from places unattractive and mundane, or when I gaze at interpretations of that image by other artists, I feel a deep connection to home. In my mural, I began with a matrix of fields--a geometric representation of our agricultural landscape from above. I then went on to explore, from the ground up, why that aerial image resonates with a profound sense of place and home for me.

It resonates because I see wheat seedlings as they first sprout up from the ground in spring. It resonates because I love the sight of almond trees in bloom and the sound of bees in their blossoms. It resonates because I see tomato trucks lumbering along the highway, and hay bales waiting expectantly in fields, and ripe melons suddenly emerging like moons in late summer. It resonates because I see herons flying over rice fields in early morning, and geese flying overhead at dusk, and I hear barn owls screech in the night sky. It resonates because I have bought a box of fresh peaches at the market and let my tiny daughter take single bites out of as many as she wanted, and because there is nothing like a fresh peach pie. It resonates because I have been out on field trips with noisy, exuberant children to the pumpkin patch and the corn maze more times than I can count. It resonates because I can conjure up the riotous yellow of a sunflower field, and the brilliant orange of a safflower field in my head, even in the middle of winter.

It resonates because I am blessed with an abundance of good food, and I know where it comes from, and because I honor the people who grow it.

It resonates because my county is a community of hard-working, creative, and caring people. The beautiful tiles on the mural border and in the seating areas of the adjoining grounds were painted by farmers, farmworkers, county employees, university agriculture experts, members of various non-profit organizations, and many more. They have contributed to the creation of this public work of art, just as my community contributes to the creation of the extraordinary place I call home.

Yolo County is where I live. I love where I live. And I am grateful to have had the chance to say it.

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