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Artsier community desired
Commission formed to oversee arts projects
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Tyler Abshier of Ceres works on a mural inside the Ceres Community Center in what is a city recreation department push to add art to the community as well as highlight local artistic talent. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Murals are being painted on select interior walls at the Ceres Community Center and arts and photos are being applied to the back of sponsorship signs at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park. Those are just two areas where the city of Ceres is making efforts to display local talent in the form of paintings and photography.

An arts commission has also been formed to make recommendations to the city.

"We're really just wanting to beautify our community through artwork and we're starting here at the center," said Traci Farris, Recreation Manager for the city of Ceres.

Ceres artist Tyler Abshier has spent two days per week for the past two weeks donating his time to the painting of an expansive landscape mural feature native trees in the children's area. Abshier has a degree in fine arts and has his work in galleries in the area.

"We're going to have an artist's spotlight once he's done where we're going to invite council and community members and have some of his artwork on display and celebrate how he's doing this wonderful thing for our community," said Farris.

There are plans to add a colorful mural to a wall in the fitness room at the center to capture the excitement of movement since the room plays host to Zumba and dance/exercise classes.

"We will be seeking out other artists who might be interested if we wanted to do another mural in the fitness room," said Farris.

The Recreation Department will also purchasing frames for revolving art to display student art at the Ceres Community Center. Another idea is to sell tiles which would be decorated by Ceres children for a wall display.

The city also selected a piece of artwork done by Whitmore Charter School student , Natalie Kraft, 14, for placement on the back of the Save Mart sponsorship billboard sign that measures 4-foot by 8-foot in the park on Hatch Road.

Photography of Ceres landmarks and landscaping taken by Don Cool of Ceres graces a billboard at River Bluff Park that incorporates contains verbiage on the park rules.

"We have really four stunning photos that showcase things in Ceres," said Farris. The photos are of a local orchard, the pond on the lower terrace of Ceres River Bluff Regional Park, a barrel racer at Diamond Bar Arena and the Daniel Whitmore Mansion.

Four sponsorship signs are still available for businesses, three of which include field naming rights at $5,000 per year for five years. Two smaller sign spaces (4-feet by 4-feet") are available for $2,500 per year for a five-year period.

Farris said that an arts committee has been established and met just once but needs more members. The team has already come up with some other project ideas, such as painting murals on the utility payment drop-off boxes like has been done in downtown Lodi. The group meets again today at 4 p.m. at the Ceres Community Center, 2701 Fourth Street.

"They have that where their utility boxes have murals on them and they're beautiful," said Farris.

Cambria Pollinger, another manager of recreation, is in charge of the committee. Others on the committee are Cool, Jennifer Rangel of the Ceres Partnership, Whitmore Charter Elementary School teacher Amelia Zschaber and freelance artist Michelle Park.

"We're interested in having additional people if anyone is interested, and kind of meeting once a month to discuss ways we can bring art to our community," said Farris.
The committee will also probably be tackling ideas for fundraisers on some of the projects.

"Eventually we are going to have to seek donations. Anything that happens at the center we have a little bit of money - that's not General Fund money - that we can use. But Tyler is donating 95 percent of his services. We've purchased his supplies."

The plan is to meet at 4 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month.

Those interested in serving on the committee may call Cambria at 538-5782.