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June 1, 2023

Community Insight: Art improves downtown image

Hollister officials are taking big steps to promote and allow public art in a community that sorely lacked it.
The latest two public art projects on display in downtown Hollister are the statue of the late Eric Tognazzini and the painting of those unpleasant, gray utility boxes.
The arts council and city council both financially supported the utility box project, undertaken by local artists who enthusiastically took on the job. Hollister council members voted in December to put $4,000 toward supplies and artist stipends for the five downtown municipal utility boxes. The arts council is acting as the project’s fiscal sponsor and added an additional $1,500 to cover stipends for assistant artists and planning for a second phase. Joel Esqueda and Rolan Resendiz are taking on the work.
The boxes celebrate various facets of local culture including the farmers market, rodeo, biker rally, ballet folklorico and scenes from San Juan Bautista writer Luis Valdez’s La Bamba film.
The statue project near the Briggs Building has received widespread support out of respect for Tognazzini, well known for his recycling business on three wheels and a positive attitude despite disabilities.
The statue’s supporters commissioned the niche work from a Santa Cruz sculptor, Sean M. Monaghan. The community and especially statue supporters should be proud. A plethora of people donated to the cause and raised $60,000, no small task, to make it happen.
It looks as though this is the beginning of a new outlook on public art in Hollister. Such displays are important because they provide examples of art to everyone and send a message that this area’s people embrace the arts.

Community Insight Board
A staff member edited this provided article.

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