Artist Miles Toland completes ‘New Dawn’ mural on Grass Valley’s Everhart Hotel
It has been nearly eight months since Everhart Hotel owner Beth Everhart Miller first brought her concept of a mural highlighting mental health awareness and suicide prevention to Grass Valley city officials.
Last week, as preparations got underway for muralist Miles Toland to start on the four-story tall “New Dawn,” Miller mused, “This feels surreal.”
The mural that now graces an entire wall of the downtown hotel has been a passion project for Miller, who worked hand-in-hand with Toland and Haven Caravelli of the Grass Valley Downtown Association to shepherd it through a process that included getting approvals from the historical commission, the development review committee, the planning commission and the city council.
The mural features a faceless figure in profile, wearing a denim jacket and a brimmed hat, holding a feather as a mourning dove flies high above. The messages “We all get lost inside our minds” and “You are not alone. Be a survivor” circle the figure’s head, which fades into a Pelton water wheel.
“Most people want to know why there is not a face,” Miller said. “This mural could be anyone, any gender. It is all of us. I am hoping it encourages those struggling emotionally, to realize we all struggle at times during our life.”
Miller’s parents bought the hotel in Grass Valley’s historic downtown 48 years ago. It became a haven for low-income tenants with mental health issues in the 1980s after then-President Ronald Reagan shut down many mental health facilities, she noted. A big impetus for the genesis of the mural, Miller said, was former tenant Bob Gardiner, an artist who committed suicide in 2005.
The water wheel ties into that as well, because Gardiner’s grandfather was A.D. Foote, the superintendent at the North Star Mine who installed the largest operating Pelton water wheel to that date at the mine.
“Here (the wheel) represents that the mind is a powerful tool,” Miller said. “It can make us or break us.”
Toland, who travels around the world, was recently featured in Smithsonian magazine and the New York Times for his work at the Beatles ashram in India.
“Grass Valley should feel honored to have a piece of his art,” Miller said.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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