Splashes of color: Public art advocate hopes to curate two new murals in Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

Splashes of color: Public art advocate hopes to curate two new murals in Grass Valley

Grass Valley Citizen of the Year Haven Caravelli presents a mural concept by artist Justin Lovato from inside of her downtown Grass Valley pilates studio earlier this year. Caravelli's initial choice for mural artist, Mars 1, dropped out of the running when he was unable to produce a concept.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

After a months-long hustle to get a mural approved by Grass Valley officials, local business owner Haven Caravelli successfully facilitated the creation of a brighter brick wall on the corner of Mill and East Main Streets last year, where Justin Lovato’s flowery tribute to the city was completed in July.

Now, Caravelli is back at it again.

This time, she hopes to curate two new pieces of public art on the south- and east-facing walls of the Everhart Hotel in downtown Grass Valley. And she needs the community’s help.

Caravelli is asking local artists to submit design proposals for consideration by May 31. Caravelli and Beth Everhart, whose family has owned the Everhart Hotel since the 1970’s, will select the design that best suits the downtown and the building.

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“I’m really excited about public art,” Caravelli said. “I like supporting the artists we have in our community. And I want to see my downtown thrive. We have to be creative if we want to attract people here and if we want our businesses to survive.”

Caravelli, who owns Center of Movement Studio in downtown Grass Valley, was named Citizen of the Year by the Grass Valley Downtown Association in November for her work advocating for public art.

“I’m honored by the award,” she said. “But I’m not in it for the glory. I’m in it for the beautification of our downtown, the benefit it has for my community and what that leads to for the generations that follow.”

For the Everhart Hotel’s south-facing wall, which is visible from Church Street, Caravelli hopes a local artist will design a re-creation of the “Heart of the Gold Industry” mural that was painted on the Del Oro Theatre and remained on the building for 27 years. The old mural, which was painted over in 2004 when cinema owners Michael and Barbara Getz remodeled the historic theater, was a simple, brown-and-tan drawing of two gold miners working inside a huge heart.

“It’s kind of an iconic figure for Nevada County,” Caravelli said about the heart design. “I know a lot of people were sad to see it go. So, why not do something that people have a connection to?”

On the east-facing wall of the Everhart Hotel, visible from Mill Street, Caravelli is open to any design ideas, she said.

Caravelli and Everhart hope one artist or artist-team will paint both walls. Design proposals, Caravelli said, will need to include two separate mock-ups.

Everhart hopes the designs will appeal to the community at large and will include components related to Grass Valley’s history.

“The charm of murals can be awesome,” she said. “A big part of this project is finding something that the community will really like.”

According to Tom Last, Grass Valley’s development director, any murals proposed in the city need approval from the Grass Valley Planning Commission.

Caravelli said she’s ready to advocate for that approval.

For more information about submitting a proposal, contact Caravelli at haven@centerofmovementstudio.com. Designs can be submitted by mail to: Haven Caravelli, 107 West Main Street, Grass Valley, 95945.

Matthew Pera is a freelance writer and former reporter for The Union.

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